The Common Kitchen : a culinary incubator

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Southern New Hampshire University
The Common Kitchen opened in August 2006 as Southern New Hampshire University's first culinary incubator. The mission of The Common Kitchen was to help early stage entrepreneurs get started in the retail food business by providing support systems, resources, and facilities at little or no cost. The Common Kitchen targeted two groups of people: (1) entrepreneurs of southern New Hampshire looking to grow their food-based business beyond the walls of their home and (2) low-income and ethnic minority residents of Manchester interested in developing their own micro business. The Common Kitchen was located in a dormant kitchen lab at SNHU's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Management. Tenants could rent the commercially licensed space for an hourly fee, rent storage space for a monthly fee and order raw ingredients from the school's purchasing department. Under the direction of the assistant dean of the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Management two Community Economic Development masters students developed a system of operations for the kitchen and identified and enrolled kitchen tenants. Seven months after opening, a total of three tenants rented space from and produced food in The Common Kitchen. All of the tenants were Caucasian, with high levels of education from Master's Degrees to a PhD. The demographics of The Common Kitchen's final tenants highlighted the need for greater outreach to the low-income and ethnic minority community, as well as a deeper support system for individuals with little to no funding or entrepreneurial experience. (Author abstract)