Evanston food incubator Now We’re Cookin’ will launch a new session of its “Food Business 101: From Dream to Reality” program next month.

The six-week course for aspiring food entrepreneurs provides the framework and mentoring entrepreneurs need to jump-start their food business ideas, says Now We’re Cookin’ founder Nell Funk.

“It brings together all the practical expertise and experience Now We’re Cookin’ staff and clientele have developed over the past five years of shared kitchen operation,” Funk says.

“Successful new businesses are part great product ideas, part perspiration, and part solid planning, she adds. “While there are many resources for entrepreneurs across the Chicago area, this is the only one specifically addressing the special challenges presented by entering the food business.”

Introduced in January of 2012 and now supported through a grant from the City of Evanston, the program combines on-line coursework with classroom activities.

Participants are challenged to refine and understand their target market, complete a comprehensive business plan, hone their presentation skills for clients and financers, develop volume food production skills, and build financial projections for their business.

Along the way, they gain insights into licensing and business structure, marketing strategies, financing options and have a chance to interact and learn from entrepreneurs about their real life experiences starting up a business.

The program costs $400 and classroom sessions start Monday, Sept. 10 at Now We’re Cookin’, 1601 Payne St. in Evanston. Aspiring entrepreneurs can apply for the program by emailing

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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