Food Entrepreneur Conference to feature Auburn University experts on operating food businesses

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – An upcoming conference in Prattville will provide expert tips and guidance for current and prospective entrepreneurs in all aspects of the food business.

The second annual Food Entrepreneur Conference, Feb. 27-28 at the Prattville Marriott, is coordinated by the Auburn University Food Systems Institute and will include experts from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, the Auburn Fisheries Business Institute and the Small Business Development Center speaking on topics ranging from writing a business plan and finding financing to product marketing and navigating a maze of regulations.

The event also will feature successful Alabama entrepreneurs in a panel discussion sharing stories about their experiences. Another highlight will be a talk on marketing by John Marsh of jMarsh Enterprises, who helped transform downtown Opelika into a thriving dining locale.

On the second day, Alabama Cooperative Extension personnel will provide an overview of regulations, labeling and testing, giving insight into subjects such as necessary permits and required labeling. They also will explain what services are available at Auburn University and where to find additional help.

A highlight of the conference will be the breakout sessions on the second day, when participants will divide into interest groups to consult with experts in four areas: how to create a business plan; growing or processing meats; food processing/catering/foodservice/bakery; and aquaculture, including off-bottom oyster culture, intensive fish production systems, the economics of aquaculture, and the legal aspects of direct marketing of fish and seafood products.

The event will be a prime opportunity for aspiring business owners to network with others in different stages of growth as food entrepreneurs. To see the rest of the conference agenda and scheduled speakers, go to www.aufsi.auburn.edu, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aufsifoodentrepreneurconference.

Cost of the conference is $150 before Feb. 15 and $200 after Feb. 15. For more information or to register, contact Regina Crapps at (334) 844-7456 or crappre@auburn.edu.

(Contributed by Jacque Kochak.)

Contact: Jean Weese, Department of Poultry Science and Alabama Cooperative Extension System (334) 844-3269 (weesesj@auburn.edu), Jacqueline Kochak, Auburn University Food Systems Institute, (334) 844-7465 (kochaja@auburn.edu), or Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)