food business; food processing; new river valley; virginia

Food Competition Aims to Support Food Processing & Agribusiness in the NRV

Blacksburg, VAMillstone Kitchen, the NRV’s only shared use kitchen, is hosting a Business Competition with $20,000 to give away in prizes and is seeking small food business participants. These could be aspiring or current business owners of small bakeries, catering businesses, value-added processing, food trucks, and more.

The business competition is scheduled to take place this January through April and seeks to prepare small food businesses to operate at shared kitchen facilities and to encourage socially- and environmentally-conscious entrepreneurship among them. The competition will prepare aspiring entrepreneurs to not only succeed financially, but to also recognize their roles in building sustainable communities.

Participants will be required to attend 6 workshops, deliver a pitch and product/menu samples, and submit a business plan. In addition to workshops, participants will have access to mentors: successful local business owners who want to help new entrepreneurs in the start-up process.

Awards will be based on the pitches, business plans, marketing strategies, and potential impact from social and environmental perspectives. There is $20,000 to award to winning businesses.

Applications are due December 16, 2019 by 5pm and can be downloaded on Millstone Kitchen’s website. It is FREE to apply and participate. Questions can be directed toward Jessica Schultz, Millstone Kitchen Manager at

Other partners include the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, Virginia Community Capital, Virginia Cooperative Extension, VT Food Innovations Center, Floyd County Planning and Economic Development, and the NRV Regional Commission. The competition is made possible through a Department of Housing and Community Development Vibrant Communities Initiative Grant.

Millstone Kitchen is a shared use commercial kitchen located in Blacksburg, VA, and operated by the nonprofit Live Work Eat Gather, Inc. The mission of Live, Work, Eat, Gather, Inc. is to cultivate and nourish community through the support of local food and farms, the creation and growth of jobs, the security of a home, and the gathering of friends and neighbors.

More information on both projects can be found at our websites: and


Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

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