Incubating new businesses

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaUsing a proposed incubator-type facility, University ofGeorgia food scientists in Griffin, Ga., plan to help more foodindustry representatives launch new food products from Georgiacommodities. “Some 15,000 new food products are introduced annually in theUnited States,” said Rakesh Singh, head of the UGA Food Scienceand Technology Department. “Of those, 80 percent are withdrawn intwo years, which translates into a loss of $4 billion.” New businesses need nurturingThe way Singh and his food scientists see it, that failurerate means new food businesses need more nurturing. To do that,the department hopes to open an incubator facility on the UGACollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ campus inGriffin, Ga.The facility would be part of the existing Food ProductInnovation and Commercialization program there. It would serve asa partnership between small food business entrepreneurs, UGA foodscientists and the Griffin-Spalding County community. Fundingfor the 19,000 square-foot facility is currently being soughtfrom federal, state, local and private sources.”This is an outstanding opportunity for our community to beinvolved in research and commercialization of new products,” saidDavid Luckie, director of the Griffin-Spalding County DevelopmentAuthority. “Of course, we selfishly would like to see the newbusinesses develop here in our county.” Strengthen, advise and releaseSingh said the new facility would give companies a strongerstart. “Small companies could come to Griffin and establish theirbusinesses in-house with support from UGA faculty,” he said.”(Then they would) reach a stage when they would be ready to opentheir own businesses or expand existing product lines.”At the Food PIC facility, new business owners would be guidedin product development, packaging, food safety, consumeracceptance, marketing and a host of other areas, Singh said.Singh saw a similar project through to fruition while workingat Purdue University. He says programs like the Food PIC programhelp smaller companies, farmers and entrepreneurs produce nicheproducts, offer customized services and target specialitymarkets.For years, he said, Georgia farmers have grown and sold bulkcommodities. Then a processor converts their crops intohigh-value products and reaps the profits.”The Food PIC program and the incubator facility would helpthem take advantage of niche markets the megacompanies can’tserve efficiently,” Singh said. “Our growers ought to produceniche products and not bulk commodities. They can’t compete withmegacompanies in selling what those large companies sellglobally.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *