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What is FoodLab Sydney?

FoodLab Sydney is a for-purpose food business incubator that launched in 2019 as a partnership between The University of Sydney (Sydney Environment Institute), City of Sydney, TAFE NSW, and FoodLab Detroit.

FoodLab empowers people with the skills, tools, networks and resources needed to become a food enterprise in Sydney through a growing network of exceptional food artisans and experienced business professionals.

But we are not just another incubator. Our vision is to grow a new generation of food entrepreneurs who want to create a fairer, more sustainable food system in Sydney. We challenge and educate our community on issues of ‘good’ food: food security, food justice, diversity in food, sustainable farming practices, fair wages and treatment of staff, food waste, local food and traceability.

If you would like to learn more about who we are, how the program works, and who can apply, click here.

Our growing support network

Since our launch in 2019, we have seen over 60 guest speakers, mentors, and collaborators support our program. This is a growing family of successful food entrepreneurs, social enterprises, artisans and food consultants who share our values and who want to support a more diverse, local, supported, and connected food support system. Most mentors who join our program will often say something like ‘I wish I had this kind of support when I started my food business!’ We think so too.

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How can I get involved?

There a lot of different ways to support our budding new food entrepreneurs, it depends how creative you want to get. Whether that’s opening the doors of your business to let us see how it’s done, or simply making introductions with those in your network. Here are the main ways you can get involved:

Guest Speaking: We organise a diversity of business owners and consultants to share their stories and knowledge on particular business topics.

Guest Mentoring: Join us for a 1 hour, once-off zoom workshop where participants pitch their idea or their progress so far to you in small, informal groups. You provide constructive feedback, encouragement, and useful connections to support their ideas and goals.

Mentoring Pairing: At the beginning of the program we endeavor to match you with a suitable participant where you commit to three, 1-hour (online or in-person) sessions with them, guiding, cajoling, connecting, and brainstorming with the start-ups over the 10-week program.

Once-off Meeting: Give a pep-talk, provide some connections, and offer some fresh perspectives at a time that suits you (online or in-person).

Email Introductions: We connect you with a participant via email where you can offer some written opinions and advice, connections, referrals for working or interning at an ideal organisation or other perspectives.

Participants Volunteer or Intern with you: Our participants come from a diverse range of backgrounds with existing skillsets (corporate finance, marketing, law, social media, admin, retail, chef) which can be applied to your food business or organisation, be it for the day or longer. They could even observe or play follow the leader for the day. This engagement would be defined by you on a case by case basis.

If you are interested one, two, or all of these options, or even have some other ideas, please apply at the bottom of the page.

How can I support FoodLab financially?

Your donation will help us to keep the program going and develop the best models of training and carry out a rigorous evaluation of the program.  It will also fund qualified instructors to deliver our unique curriculum to FoodLab Sydney participants.

Research

Find out how we are measuring the impact of FoodLab Sydney in our communities and on our greater food system.