how it works

The Kitchen Project is designed for emerging food entrepreneurs in their first or second of business who need support to take their offering to the next level.

Entrepreneurs must be willing to commit nine hours per week for the duration of the programme (26 weeks). Based at 4 Henderson Valley Road, we also have a commercial kitchen available to book at a discounted rate on site. Learning will take place both inside and outside of the classroom and the kitchen, as well as from your fellow participants, mentors and partners of the programme.

We seek to support food entrepreneurs in west Auckland. Our aim is to celebrate the diversity of Henderson and the surrounding west Auckland community, which is a vibrant place with people from different cultures, backgrounds and countries of origin. In keeping with this, we are committed to reflecting the vibrancy of our community as we choose our applicants.

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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 in your first or second of 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.

An ideal business will be able to show a business plan and have been selling food products/service to a small and loyal customer base.

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 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 duration of the programme.

We are based at 4 Henderson Valley Road, Henderson, so applicants to the programme will need to ensure they can reach us.

Selection criteria

Food entrepreneurs will need to meet the following criteria:

Be business ready

  • Have a food business and a product or service that is legal and safe.
  • Be based in west 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 attend nine hours of programme time each week.
  • 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 $325 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, and our next intake will be in early 2019. Apply now if you are interested!