5th Annual Food + Enterprise Summit Brings Entrepreneurs & Investors Together Financing the Future of Food on April 8-9

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Food + Enterprise fills food system focus gap as Investors and Entrepreneurs have turned their attention en masse to food and beverage businesses.

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'Food is the one sector where the interdependence of purpose and profit is immediately obvious -- the natural systems that provide our food are already being impacted,' said Derek Denckla, Executive Director of F+E.

Food + Enterprise Summit (“F+E”), Slow Money NYC’s annual B2B event, returns to Brooklyn for its fifth year on April 8th and 9th, convening investors and entrepreneurs at this “one-stop shop” to learn everything they need to know about how to do business together with greater success in today’s rapidly evolving food system. Investment interest has flooded toward food and beverage companies in the US -- with venture capital alone exploding from approximately $65 mm in 2009 to $542.4 mm in 2015. Globally, AgTech also had a record breaking year in 2015, with $4.6 bb invested, almost doubling 2014 activity of $2.36 bb.

Food + Enterprise Program provides a highly interactive format and timely content, enabling entrepreneurs and investors to learn side-by-side about the sector’s unique risks and anticipated longer-term shifts — and ultimately forging connections around a business approach that seeks financial ROI to thrive in the long term while creating a fair and sustainable local food system.

“Food is the one sector where the interdependence of purpose and profit is immediately obvious — the natural systems that provide our food are already being impacted,” said Derek Denckla, Executive Director of F+E. “The most promising new companies are responding to this impending shift in resource availability — but ultimately, the long-term success of all food businesses relies on a more sustainable food system.”

F+E’s unique format caters to both investors and entrepreneurs -- while also having relevance for all food system stakeholders. In 2015, 17% of attendees were investors and 45% were entrepreneurs, the balance being other professionals within the food system including farmers, government, distributors, students, and consultants for every aspect of business.

"Food + Enterprise Summit provides investors, like me, with a forum to connect with food entrepreneurs where we learn together on equal footing," stated Investor Brian Kaminer of Foodshed Investors NY. “The structure of the Summit promotes real understanding and lasting relationships between investors and entrepreneurs which translate into investments I’ve made."

Entrepreneur Nancy Kalish of Pure Genius Provisions told us, “I learned more on that day -- and during the rest of the weekend -- than I could have learned in months on my own.”

The Summit provides investors and entrepreneurs access to a full range of potential funding options, what F+E organizers refer to as “The Capital Stack,” useful to businesses as they progress through different stages of growth and development. Many entrepreneurs encounter The Capital Stack for the first time at F+E, exploring the range of funding options available -- in addition to angel and venture funding -- prompting the realization that their company could be more successful by accessing different types of capital from diverse sources.

This year’s Summit theme, Finding Food Value: Balancing Purpose And Profit, will help attendees discover connections between their food choices, business decisions, and investment philosophy. Theme-associated sessions will engage attendees to learn about potential surprises that can hamper growth or even cause a food business to fail, identify new food business innovations that are likely to stick, and realize the value of building their businesses with regional stakeholders.

Over the past five years, F+E has served as a meeting place of the region’s robust sustainable food startup community featuring some who are now the most successful companies to come out of the ecosystem including Blue Marble Ice Cream, Brooklyn Grange, Fleisher’s Pasture-Raised Meats, and many others. While F+E presents the staple, Pitchfest, that gives stage time to entrepreneurs to make their case to investors, the Meet + Eat Marketplace allows entrepreneurs the additional opportunity of bringing their product to life beyond a pitch deck for the same prospective funders.

Speaker highlights for 2016 include: Carolyn Steel, author of the award winning book “Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives” and her associated TED Talk; Joanne Wilson AKA “Gotham Gal,” a prominent NYC-based angel investor in start-up food companies and restaurants; and Majora Carter, whose latest initiatives include Startup Box and a new South Bronx cafe with Birch Coffee.

Food + Enterprise takes place
When: Friday, April 8 - Saturday, April 9
Where: Pfizer Building, 630 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206, a new hub for food innovation
Tickets: Tickets are on sale for $300 for the two-day event. Sliding scale scholarships are available by application for Farmers and Government via connect(at)foodandenterprise(dot)com. Workshare applications are available for startup professionals and students on the website. The event has an expected attendance of up to 500 participants. http://foodandenterprise.com/tickets

About Food + Enterprise
Food + Enterprise was founded in 2011 by Slow Money NYC to support its mission “To catalyze the flow of capital to our local food system by developing a network of entrepreneurs, farmers and investors guided by new impact investment principles connected to place, rooted in relationships and respecting human dignity and environmental limits.”

Slow Money NYC is part of a national Slow Money movement promoting a new way to invest through diverse gatherings, 24 local networks and 13 investment clubs, which are responsible for moving over $45 million in capital into 450 small food enterprises around the United States. Over 31,000 people have signed the Slow Money Principles.

About Our Supporters

Food + Enterprise draws a diverse group of partners that support the event -- from financial institutions to government to non-profit organizations to food companies.

Here is a list of all the generous supporters as of the date of this release (ordered by their respective levels of support (highest to lowest)):

  • Co-Presenter: Acumen Capital Partners (630Flushing.com)
  • Premier: Edible Brooklyn/Manhattan/Long Island/East End, Brooklyn Food Works, Natural Resources Defense Council.
  • Benefactor: Baldor, Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams Brewery), Etsy.com, GrowNYC, Heritage Radio Network, Impact Hub, New Food Economy, NY Business Development Corp.
  • Supporter: B. Martin Studios, Community Food Funders, Cultivate Brand Consulting, Food Business School, Foodstand, Locavesting, KivaNY, Natural Gourmet Institute, Rabo Bank, Watervine Impact Consulting, Zero to Sixty Communications.
  • Connector: CFOonSpeedDial, Farm Credit East AgEnhancements Grant, Gourmesso, Invest With Values, Kickstarter, Misha Dairy, Plant Based Solutions, Pratt BFDA, Sweetnote Bakery, VegFund, Whole Foods Market, Woodcock Foundation.
  • Friend: Blue Marble Ice Cream, Closed Loop Capital, PIPs Rewards, John K Friedman (Law Offices of), Mac Support Store, and Maven Cocktails.
  • Community: Accel Foods, CADE, Change Food, Chefs' Collaborative, ChouxBox, NYC Councilmemer Robert Cornegy, Down to Earth Markets, Drive Change, Empire State Development Corp, Evergreen Exchange, Fare Trade NYC, Food Book Fair, Food+Tech Connect, FoodNext, Get Funded Now, Glynwood, Green Rabbits, Hot Bread Kitchen, Investors Circle, Just Food, Mixing Bowl, MOFAD, Multiple Organics, National Young Farmers Coalition, Net Impact, Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets, NY Ag Tech Meet Up, NY Angels, Relish Food Projects, Rooted NY, Slow Living Summit: 4/28-30, Small Food Producers Network, Social Venture Institute Hudson Valley, Sustainable Practice Network, Sustainable Agriculture & Food System Funders.

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