- Taste of Kendall
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Kendall College’s on-campus Business Incubator is a collaborative workspace that fosters creativity and innovation. The Incubator, in conjunction with Kendall’s key industry partners, can help you bring your business concept to fruition. Any member of the Kendall community—students, faculty, staff, alumni—can take advantage of the Incubator’s resources, which include:
When Kendall launched the Business Incubator in the fall of 2016, we had a unique vision for how it could help our students develop their entrepreneurial ideas and manifest them in the world. While most incubators focus on science and technology, Kendall’s centers around what we do best: culinary innovations, hospitality, sustainability, and small retail operations.
The Incubator’s targeted mission “makes Kendall a school of choice for food-focused entrepreneurs,” says director Rob Watson. “If you’re considering a food business, no matter what your niche is, we have an expert who can help you get started. The Incubator teaches students a new and scientific way to solve problems, and it provides structure and methodology around entrepreneurship.”
Before the Incubator launched, Watson didn’t anticipate just how popular it would be. “I asked students and faculty to come to me if they had a business idea,” he said. “And they have been knocking my door down. I had no idea what I was getting myself into!”
When student entrepreneurs are ready to prototype their products, they are paired with leaders from Kendall’s industry partners, The Hatchery and FamilyFarmed. Students pitch their ideas to the leader, and if their ideas are accepted, the partner helps commercialize the business concept by offering guidance on intellectual property laws, prototyping, product testing and validation, financing, licensing, supply chain issues, marketing, social media, and more.
“The goal is to create a community of entrepreneurs who support one another, share their contacts and resources, and help fuel one another’s ventures,” Watson explains. “It’s about creating a Kendall ecosystem within the Chicago small business community.” Read more about the Business Incubator and its place on Kendall’s campus in this recent Q&A with Rob Watson.
According to the National Business Incubation Association, about one-third of the 1,250 business incubators in the United States are at colleges and universities, up from one-fifth in 2006.
Business incubators exist to provide structural support and professional guidance to companies in their infancy. Signing up for an incubator can better the company’s chance of long-term success. The resources provided at a business incubator include entrepreneurial coaching, valuable networking, and physical space for your business. In an incubator, fresh entrepreneurs cross the bridge between a great idea and the details of its execution. If you’re starting a new business, an incubator will help you connect with seasoned mentors and venture capitalists who can help your business flourish.