Heritage Food Startup Series

Heritage Food Startup Series

Free education and resources for new heritage food businesses

With grant funding from the City of Tucson, the non-profit Tucson City of Gastronomy is partnering again with the UA McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship to co-produce the second annual workshop series for entrepreneurs, farmers, and artisans incorporating heritage foods into their businesses. This program supports small business development through an annual program of four workshops, useful singly or in sequence. In addition to providing entrepreneurial technical training and assistance, the series serves as a pipeline into the TENWEST Ideafunding Pitch Competition and a platform to create prototypes to test with the public.

The workshops provide innovative technical assistance, training, and creative space for business planning, and the tools, resources, and networks needed to accelerate the development of new and early-stage small businesses—the sector that led job creation during the last recession, when older firms were cutting jobs. Participants leave each workshop with resource guides outlining next steps and the contacts and expanded network to be successful. Three workshops will be held in February, on the 11th, 18th, and 25th, between 2:00-5:00 PM.


Heritage Food Startup Lab

The Heritage Food Start-up Lab on February 11th is for food entrepreneurs, farmers, and food artisans interested in incorporating heritage foods into their new business concept and developing their idea into a business. The terms ‘heritage’ and ‘artisan’ are explored to better understand these trending concepts as authentic vehicles for creating more sustainable food products that generate profit while valuing people, culture, and the environment. Successful local heritage food business owners share lessons learned along their paths. Participants learn practical steps to create and launch a food business, and how to avoid pitfalls and follow successful practices. They are provided resources for startups and small businesses, and a primer on food safety regulations. The workshop concludes with networking and an expo of startup resource providers.

Heritage Food Design Workshop

The Heritage Food Startup Design Studio on February 18th teaches participants how to conduct market research in order to project consumer demand and price their product for profitability as they develop their concept to prototype stage. It provides proven templates and innovative business design principles for crafting a solid business plan to sustain growth, and the knowledge necessary to prepare for marketing and selling their product in a retail environment. The workshop concludes with a tour of a commercial kitchen and networking.

Heritage Food Start-up Challenge

The Heritage Food Startup Challenge on February 25th assists early-stage heritage food entrepreneurs prepare to pitch their concept to customers and investors. It helps them develop and practice their pitch decks, and provides a platform to test prototypes with the public. A panel of food business professionals judge a pitch contest at the end of the workshop, and the winner gets free tuition for additional startup training by Startup Tucson and automatic entry into the food business category of the TENWEST Ideafunding Pitch Competition.

Three workshops will be held in February, on the 11th, 18th, and 25th, between 2:00-5:00 PM. Register for one or all three workshops here

To learn more about heritage food and the cultural aspect of cuisine in southern Arizona, visit the Tucson City of Gastronomy website

If you are interested in food entrepreneurship and learning about innovation, visit the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship for education options.