King Arthur Baking Company launches new accelerator programme to champion bakers and entrepreneurs of colour

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Baking Pitchfest 2024 is a platform for empowering People of Colour to break barriers and redefine the narrative in baking. Pic: GettyImages/dragana991
Baking Pitchfest 2024 is a platform for empowering People of Colour to break barriers and redefine the narrative in baking. Pic: GettyImages/dragana991

Related tags King Arthur Flour King Arthur Baking Company Project Potluck inclusion & diversity people of colour Baking Pitchfest 2024 Entrepreneurship Baking

King Arthur Baking Company has partnered with Project Potluck to launch Baking Pitchfest 2024 to foster greater inclusivity, equitable opportunity and creativity in the baking world.

Half mentorship, half competition, Baking Pitchfest 2024 is designed to champion standout baking brands. It also provides equitable opportunities for POC entrepreneurs in the baking industry and winners will receive financial support, brand exposure and mentorship to help accelerate their businesses.

The competition has two editions.

Baking Pitchfest Product Edition focuses on baking brands founded and owned by POC across the US. Product must be baking related – including ingredients, mixes, ready to eat foods and tools – and must already be in full production. Owners must be able to provide proof of sale.

Finalists will travel to Vermont for a two day event in May to pitch their product idea. Entries will be judged on uniqueness, quality, creativity and potential for success.

Winners will receive mentorship from Project Potluck, brand-building exposure on King Arthur’s marketing platforms along with a purchase order within a year.

Founded in 1790, King Arthur today is considered the go-to baking resource for speciality baking items (flours, mixes and gluten-free products available in US retail). It is also known for inspiring connections and community through baking. The Vermont-headquartered company is a certified B Corp, 1% for the Planet member and 100% employee-owned.

Disruptive innovators of colour

Additional workforce in a bakery Rawpixel
Pic: GettyImages/Rawpixel

The Bakery Edition focuses on POC-owned bakeries in the Northeast and Washington state looking to reach the next level. Finalists will compete in a virtual event for a chance to win financial support to build their business.  

Applicants will be judged on vision, baking and business expertise, creativity and potential for success.

Winners will receive a grand prize of up to $10,000 in funding , a one-on-one business consultation with PrepShift, free membership for a year to the Bread Bakers Guild of America and exposure through King Arthur’s marketing platforms.

The Product Edition is open to applicants nationwide, while the Bakery Edition is open to bakeries located in Washington state and the Northeast (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont).

“We look forward to witnessing the innovative products and business concepts that will shape the future of baking,” said Molly Lawrence, corporate social responsibility manager at King Arthur.

“Pitchfest 2024 is a testament to King Arthur Baking's dedication to fostering a more inclusive baking community and empowering creative POC leaders in the industry.”

Applications are open until 10 February.

'A space where innovation knows no bounds'

Pitchfest logos

To participate, individuals and businesses must be POC-led and sign to the Project Potluck community.

Project Potluck was founded in 2020 by Ibraheem Basir, founder and CEO of A Dozen Cousins, Ayeshah Abuelhiga, founder and CEO of Mason Dixie Foods, and Arnulfo Ventura, CEO of Alter Eco.

A first-of-its-kind organisation, the non-profit focuses on helping POC thrive by tackling the inherent bias in hiring, networking gaps, lack of access to capital for diverse founders and more. With a goal of implementing lasting change in the CPG and food and beverage industries, Project Potluck provides new opportunities for POC to network, learn, and grow from leaders and veterans in the space.

The commitment to become a POC member ensures the event remains true to its core purpose of providing equitable opportunities.

“We believe in the transformative power of diverse voices in shaping the future of the baking industry,” said Kathleen Casanova, executive director of Project Potluck.

“Baking Pitchfest 2024 is more than a competition; it's a platform for empowering People of Colour to break barriers and redefine the narrative in baking. Through mentorship, competition and community, we're fostering a space where innovation knows no bounds.”

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