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Launching a Food Start-Up Panel Discussion

April 19, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


Got an idea about starting a food business, but don’t know where to begin?

Hear from three local Food Start-Up Success Stories on the challenges of creating their food businesses and a local company who’s mission is to help aspiring entrepreneurs build great food companies.

The Consumer Goods Meetup is dedicated to people passionate about start-ups and businesses in the consumer goods space – Join today.

Samples of local food start-ups – and food & drink will be provided!


6:00PM – 6:30PM – Arrival & Networking

6:30PM – 7:30PM – Opening Remarks & Panel Discussion: Launching a Food Start-Up

7:30PM – 8:30PM – Networking


Johnny Fayad – Co-Founder & CEO, Eat Your Coffee

Eat Your Coffee began when founders Johnny Fayad and Ali Kothari, then freshmen at Northeastern University, were tired of waking up late for their 8AM classes without the time for breakfast or, more importantly, coffee. They quickly asked themselves, “Why can’t we just eat our coffee?” The answer? Eat Your Coffee – the first organic, vegan, and gluten-free energy bar infused with a full cup of real coffee (no synthetic caffeine). There are currently three delicious Eat Your Coffee Bar flavors including Mocha Latte, Coconut Mocha, and Caramel Macchiato. They are available on Amazon, and at over 1000 retail locations throughout the U.S.


Julia Paino – Co-Founder & CEO, Swoffle

Started by a father-daughter team with a passion for healthy and delicious food. Our gourmet Swoffle waffle cookies are inspired by the traditional Dutch treat, the “stroopwafel”. With a layer of creamy caramel in the center, Swoffles are an ideal compliment to a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Swoffle Stroopwafels are the first organic, gluten free stroopwafels on the market. Each individually wrapped Swoffle is organic, non-gmo, and kosher. Every Swoffle purchased helps to provide a meal to those in need.


Sherie Grillon – Owner, Nola’s Fresh Foods

Sherie Grillon grew up in New Orleans where food is a way of life. While going to school in Austin, Texas, she fell in love with the bold flavors of Tex-Mex cuisine and began experimenting with making her own salsa.

In 2011 she started Nola’s Fresh Foods as a wholesale company to bring her salsa to local stores. The name is a way for Sherie to pay homage to her hometown of New Orleans, the city that developed her love and respect of food. She wants to provide people with a product that they can trust, using only natural and fresh ingredients with no added preservatives or sugars.


Roz Freeman – Entrepreneurship Program Manager, CommonWealth Kitchen

Roz Freeman is the Entrepreneurship Program Manager at CommonWealth Kitchen. Since joining CWK in 2013, Roz has been involved in the growth of the organization, from marketing and communications, to business intake, farmer value-added production coordination, workforce development and educational programming.

CommonWealth Kitchen is a collaborative community, providing shared kitchens combined with business assistance to help aspiring entrepreneurs build great food companies, create jobs, improve healthy food access, and strengthen our regional food economy.

CWK believes that an equitable and resilient local economy requires closing Boston’s growing wealth divide by promoting inclusive entrepreneurship and creating sustainable employment, with a focus on people who have been impacted by racial, social, and economic inequality.



Bill Ward – Professor, Boston University & Investor, Edible Ventures

Bill Ward is a part-time lecturer for the Gastronomy Program at Boston University and an angel investor with Edible Ventures. Bill is an accomplished business leader and entrepreneur. His experience ranges from corporate engineering, marketing, and sales to his own consulting and real estate ventures. He has been active in the family business, Ward’s Berry Farm of Sharon, as a hands-on consultant, and has been a mentor at SCORE (a group of executives providing pro-bono business consulting) for over 10 years. From 2009 until 2015 he ran an Entrepreneurship Training Program at JVS, a workforce training and development non-profit.The program has successfully launched several local food businesses. Bill was selected as a judge for the National Leadership awards given by the Specialty Food Association in New York in October 2016, and also served as a judge for the 2017 “sofi” awards in March of 2017.


Thank you to our sponsor, BranchFood, for supporting food and innovation in Boston!


April 19, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


CIC Boston
50 Milk St.
Boston, MA United States



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