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Events offer help in starting a food-based business
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MONROE - Several events over the next several months are designed to help people interested in starting a food-based business. People interested in

Green County "Business FONDUE," which stands for Food Organizations Network supporting the Development of Unique Enterprises, was created through a partnership between Green County Development Corporation, University of Wisconsin Extension, and Thrive, with a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, to help budding entrepreneurs in creating food-based business.

The initiative includes an interactive website, networking workshops, round-table discussions, and links. A mentor board is also being developed.

The cornerstone of the Business FONDUE initiative is a "virtual incubator" website. The website is designed to provide inspiration and guidance regarding the importance of business planning, networking and the other ingredients necessary to become a successful business. It is expected to be completed in August and will have information specific to food businesses including: business and market plan development, banking and finance, legal, production and distribution, upcoming training sessions, available properties and links to the Business FONDUE "Linked in" discussion board and Facebook pages.

Business FONDUE is also planning several networking events over the next months and a workshop for September. "Showcase of Opportunity - Kitchen Incubator Options" will be held at Barb's Kitchen, a shared-use food processing facility located in Monroe, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 18. The roundtable discussion will focus on the production and facility issues facing entrepreneurs considering starting a food based business.

The second Showcase of Opportunity will focus on permits, licenses, and packaging issues. Greenco Industries, Inc. in Monroe will host state public health inspectors from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 24. Topics will include permits are needed and the ongoing requirements to ensure public health and safety. Greenco, a non-profit organization providing day & work services for adults & teenagers with disabilities, is a FDA and USDA inspected and licensed food packaging facility.

There is no cost to attend either event, but pre-registration is requested.

Business FONDUE will also host for its first day-long workshop on branding and marketing. Participants will spend the day learning about how to bring a food product to market, how branding fits in with business and marketing planning, and brand development, will work on the development of personalized brand. Local experts Janet Ady, Jim Gage, and Andrea Neu will lead this workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 10 in the Community Room of the First National Bank in Monroe. The workshop is $20 and includes breakfast, lunch and materials. Pre-registration is required for this day-long workshop.

Administered by the Green County Development Corporation, Business FONDUE is open to everyone. For more information or to register for a Showcase or the Workshop, please e-mail, call (608) 328-9452, or (coming soon) online at and on Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter.