how it works

The Kitchen Project is designed for emerging food entrepreneurs who need help to take their business to the next level.

Entrepreneurs must be willing to commit nine hours per week for the first six weeks of the programme, and three hours per fortnight for the remaining 20 weeks (26 weeks in total), which is a mix of learning both inside and outside of the kitchen as well as from your fellow participants, mentors and partners of the programme. We understand how important access to affordable commercial kitchen space is in helping new food businesses to grow, which is why we have a commercial kitchen available to book at a discounted rate on site.

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induction (six weeks)

Our induction gives food entrepreneurs an overview of running a successful business. Topics will cover regulations, food safety, finance and fund sourcing, supply chain, quality, sustainability and health and marketing, including social media.

Past industry experts include Sophie Gilmour, co-founder of Bird On A Wire, Max Washer, co-owner and manager of The White Lady and Toss Grumley, director of new business and growth advisors Wolf & Fox.  

By the end of the induction you will:

  • Complete a food plan and business plan.

  • Understand food regulations.

  • Be familiar with commercial kitchens and equipment.

  • Integrate sustainability, health, marketing, branding and sales into your business plan.

Development programme
(20 weeks)

Food entrepreneurs will receive one-on-one mentoring with industry experts while developing their food product in the kitchen. Past mentors include: Chris Cullen, Founder and Director of Culley's, and Martin Smith, General Manager at Collective Hospitality.

By the end of the development programme you will:

  • Start building your network with industry professionals.

  • Gain confidence in dealing with procurement, suppliers and distribution lines.

  • Be reaching your target market with your product, and increasing sales.

  • Be tracking well against standard industry practice for food business.

  • Have a solid foundation for your food business to succeed.

after the programme

Because we are committed to ensuring the ongoing sustainability and success of our entrepreneurs’ businesses, we provide them with ongoing support after they have completed the programme.

who should apply

Are you an emerging food entrepreneur starting up your business? Do you need support to take your offering to the next level? Then read on.

The Kitchen Project is looking for entrepreneurs who are focused on building their business locally and are committed to healthy food processes and ingredients to improve access to healthy foods in the community. We also want candidates who are committed to sustainable business practices.

The programme is designed to help turn talented home cooks into successful food-business ventures.

The programme offers a mix of classroom and hands-on experience through our commercial kitchen space available to rent on site as well as access to a strong network of business experts and mentors with established careers in the food and beverage industries.

Participants must be willing to commit nine hours per week for the first six-weeks of the programme, and three hours per fortnight for the remaining 20 weeks of the programme.

Our Henderson site is based at 4 Henderson Valley Road, Henderson, and our Manukau site is based at the Vodafone Events Centre. Applicants to the programme will need to ensure they can attend sessions at one of our locations.

Selection criteria

Food entrepreneurs will need to meet the following criteria:

Be business ready

  • Have a food product or service that you want to commercialise.

  • Be based in west or south Auckland and plan to operate in the area, with a commitment to growing the food culture of the community.

  • Be in a position to financially support your involvement in our programme.

  • You will enter a contract with the Kitchen Project that outlines programme expectations, such as the hours you will be expected to commit and a publicity agreement.

  • Be committed to:
    – The community (your employees and staff).
    – Environmental sustainability (production, packaging, processing, types of ingredients and food waste).
    – Healthy food (your ingredients and food processes).

Be personally ready       

  • Be willing to learn and evolve the business to become commercially viable.

  • Be hardworking, dedicated and able to work with others in a shared learning and work space.

  • Be willing to share and be transparent about your business, including financial information.

  • Be able to commit to the required hours for the programme.

  • Have what it takes to grow and thrive in the food industry.

how much does it cost?

It is free to apply to the programme. If your application is successful, the programme will cost $50 a month.

Over a 26-week period the total cost for food entrepreneurs is $300 plus kitchen time. This does not include insurance or business registration and verification.

Use of our commercial kitchen during the development programme will be charged at an hourly rate, reduced by half from commercial kitchen rates.

You will be responsible for all the costs your business occurs over and above this.

How to apply

Applications for The Kitchen Project are always open, we have four intakes per year in each location (Manukau and Henderson). Apply now if you are interested!   



To help our entrepreneurs to succeed, The Kitchen Project provides a mentoring programme. We bring in a range of experts from different fields to help our entrepreneurs on their journey to establishing a successful business.

If you're an established business person in the food industry or can help our candidates develop their business skills, we’d love you to share your knowledge and experience and enjoy the satisfaction of helping to shape the next generation of business leaders in our communities. If you are available from mid-September to December 2018, please consider getting involved.

During the course of The Kitchen Project In the last year, we've welcomed Sophie Gilmour, co-founder of Bird On A Wire, Max Washer, co-owner and manager of The White Lady and Toss Grumley, director of new business and growth advisors Wolf & Fox to talk to our entrepreneurs. 

If you're interested in becoming a mentor, please complete the form below and our team will be in touch.


Become a mentor

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Become a sponsor


Access to healthy and affordable food is fundamental to any community.

The Kitchen Project is seeking financial and in-kind support from organisations and individuals who care about changing the foodscape and creating pathways to employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to improve the prosperity, health and well being of themselves and their local communities – all through a simple passion for food.

Your support will enable The Kitchen Project to expand both geographically and in scope, ensuring it’s sustainability for local food entrepreneurs and their community for years to come.

We hope you will join us as a founding partner. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, please complete the form below and our team will be in touch.


Get in touch

Name *