WRC’s November Creative Chat: Kitchen Incubators

WRC held its third Creative Chat on Thursday, November 13, at the Chris White Gallery that featured special guest Della Clark, President, The Enterprise Center. Clark walked attendees through the steps to initiate a successful culinary business. She shared the three driving principles that have led her to where she is today: faith, hope and charity.

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

Clark emphasized that in addition to these three, another key ingredient to entrepreneurial success is research. She stressed that when people form a group to lead a project, they must start by conducting extensive research and connecting with the community. She showed the audience several connected paper clips. Each clip was a different color and size and symbolized the different roles community members can play when connecting with the lead group. Clark said another requirement for success is a “narrow mindset.” The lead group must be focused and determined to complete its goal.

Clark described The Enterprise Center, which is located in Philadelphia, as a place for people to launch, accelerate and grow a business. She explained that when the founders created The Enterprise Center, they transformed vacant buildings that had been boarded up for about 15 years. They also created a commercial farm from vacant land, which helped generate profit for entrepreneurs working in the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises (CCE), the culinary division of The Enterprise Center.

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

The CCE includes two separate kitchens for catering and baking and separate walk-in fridges and freezers for meat and dairy. The Enterprise Center also includes retail spaces open to the public to give entrepreneurs a space to sell their products. Recently, people have opened a few startup restaurants in the retail spaces. Clark mentioned that culinary entrepreneurs also sell food at local produce stands and that food trucks have been another profitable distribution channel for The Enterprise Center.

“These culinary entrepreneurs are taking a risk,” said Clark. “The cycle for entrepreneurship is not the same as the workforce development cycle – it’s longer. But the payback can be tremendous.” Clark highlighted the benefits of culinary development areas in any city: “Kitchen incubators can be a very exciting hub and innovation place – a space where entrepreneurship and creativity are connected.”

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

“Della Clark explained the concept of kitchen incubators in a very unique and inspiring way,” said Carrie Gray, WRC’s Managing Director. “The CCE division of The Enterprise Center is a great example of a culinary center that could be implemented in Wilmington’s Creative District. Dan Sheridan, a local culinary entrepreneur, also engaged the audience with his story.”

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

Dan Sheridan, founder of Wilmington Pickling Company, shared his culinary journey, telling the audience how he started his own business with one of his friends. Sheridan supports the discussions to implement a local kitchen incubator in the city and plans to open a local barbecue restaurant where he will sell his pickles in Wilmington next spring.

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

Photo Credit: Art by Sachi

Brian Wild and Dan Sanchez, hosts of a new local foodie podcast called Dorks and Forks, were special guests at the Creative Chat and shared their video coverage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4msqLsqcQuE&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_YocxVsReA&feature=youtu.be

Visit WRC’s Flickr page to see additional November Creative Chat photos.

Watch Della Clark’s presentation and discussion.

Learn more about WRC’s Creative Chat:
Join us four times a year for an informal, interactive series that updates our community about the vision plan for Wilmington’s Creative District. Each event starts with a networking opportunity followed by a presentation by an expert in the creative or maker field. Creative Chats are free and open to the public.

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