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Feb. 25, 2022

Venture Kitchen provides space for food-based student innovators

Michigan State University officially opened the Venture Kitchen, a fully licensed commercial kitchen, as a space for students to develop food-based startups and products. The space, located at the MSU Union, is a joint effort between MSU’s Burgess Institute, the Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment and Land Grant Goods. It is open to all students in the entrepreneurship and innovation minor.

“We designed and continue to support the Venture Kitchen because students need spaces like this to develop their sense of purpose, agency and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Laurie Thorp, RISE’s program director. “We now have multiple programs and spaces where students can explore the value proposition of a small, sustainable business.”

In 2016, RISE and Land Grant Goods, an agriculture business founded and managed by MSU students, launched a commercial kitchen food truck as a space to produce their tea, honey, jam and packaging. The Venture Kitchen is an expansion of the truck to further support and encourage student food-based innovation and businesses.

“The Venture Kitchen is another component to our robust entrepreneurship ecosystem at MSU,” said Ken Szymusiak, the Burgess Institute’s managing director of academic programming. “The Burgess Institute works with students at all stages in the venture creation process helping them navigate the complexities of moving an idea to market. Our goal is really to focus on developing the ‘entrepreneurial mindset.’”

MSU’s minor in entrepreneurship and innovation has become one of the fastest-growing minors since first being offered in 2016. Additionally, since then, more than 1,000 students have engaged in the Burgess Institute’s venture creation programming, creating more than 800 companies. Student teams have gone on to raise $25.8 million in follow-on funding to build their ventures.

The Burgess Institute also offers the 2Day Venture learning experience a 36-hour activity in which students come in with an idea and leave with a business plan.

“Some of our students will work with us in our venture creation program where we work with them on starting new businesses, while others will dive in on experiential programs like 2Day Venture where they learn the skills associated with rapid innovation and prototype development. We try to support students at all stages of their entrepreneurial growth,” Szymusiak said.

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