Financing Food Value: Balancing Purpose and Profit


Last weekend SlowMoney NYC hosted the 2016 Food + Enterprise Summit at the Pfizer Building in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Summit’s theme was “Financing Food Value: Balancing Purpose and Profit”, and its aim was to connect entrepreneurs and investors to finance a better local food system. Many types of local food stakeholders attended the summit for a weekend of new ideas, networking, discussion, inspiration from keynote speakers, and of course, fantastic food!

Fordham’s own Food Impact Investing Practicum was not only represented at the summit, but on Friday presented their work from this semester. They did so at a breakout session workgroup, encouraging discussion between conference attendees about the practicum’s work on finding shared values for co-investment, and how these values could best be leveraged. The breakout sessions were incredibly informative, with people from all corners of the food world sharing ideas and interacting with each other. With the serious discussions in workgroups over on Friday, some of the real fun came on Saturday, at the Meet & Eat Marketplace and the Pitchfest.

The marketplace featured local food and beverage businesses, and a whole lot of samples. From sweets made with beans, to sustainably-sourced fish, to baby kale grown on the roof of the building, to a startup delivering food straight from neighborhood chefs’ kitchens to your door, this gathering not only showcased a multitude of flavors and cuisines, but some innovative ideas in the sourcing, funding, production, or delivery of food and beverages that are taking place in the New York City area.

A few of the businesses at the marketplace were also featured in the Pitchfest. This part of the summit was modeled after ABC’s Shark Tank, where established entrepreneurs have the chance to pitch their business to a panel of judges and the audience, in order to find funding necessary to move their business forward. Nine entrepreneurs presented, each with a completely different business, but each with some sort of good coming out of their food-related company.

All in all, the 2016 Food + Enterprise Summit was a successful weekend for Fordham’s team, enabling them to share their work, gain feedback from a multitude of food professionals, be introduced to many new ideas, and learn about some amazing local food enterprises.