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Culinary competition designed to inspire entrepreneurs

March 23, 2017

Dianne F. Sclafani, culinary and food service business development consultant, discusses how the Culinary Business Plan and Pitch Competition is beneficial for students interested in the food industry.

The Culinary Business Plan competition provides the opportunity for entrepreneurs to develop and present their business pitches. The competition is targeted at culinary majors but also open to other majors.

The Louisiana Small Business Development Center is a non-profit business that helps small businesses with pitches, troubleshooting, loans and financing.

Sclafani said that Nicholls and Xavier act as host universities for the Louisiana Small Business Development Center. Nicholls also provides funds to help support small businesses in the community.

The program is sponsored by the Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts; their mission is to promote a family atmosphere among our employees, guests, suppliers and our community, while focusing on our commitment to being “Best in Class”.

“I contacted the Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts about sponsoring the event,” Sclafani said. “They were gracious enough to not only fund the prizes and other aspects we needed, but to put the entire event together as well.”

To qualify for the competition, the competitors must currently be enrolled as a Nicholls student. The 2016 Nicholls graduates are eligible to participate. Students also have to attend the Louisiana Small Business Development Center Entrepreneur Business Plan and Pitch Boot Camp.

“We held the first class Friday, March 17,” Sclafani said. “It was on tips for writing a winning culinary business plan.”

The second class will be held in Friday, March 24. The class will focus on how to create a clear, concise and compelling culinary business pitch.

“I was thrilled by the amount of students who showed up to the first class,” Sclafani said. “The students seemed to be on the path to becoming entrepreneurs, and I can tell they are receiving quality guidance at Nicholls.”

The Business Plan Electronic Submission starts April 12 and ends on April 19 at 11:30 pm.  The written business plans will be judged and only ten will qualify for the final pitch.

“I will be working with the students throughout the entire process,” Sclafani said. “I will coach them on writing a business plan and various other parts as well.”

The top ten business plan finalists will give a five-minute pitch at the competition. The competition will take place Friday, April 28, 2017 in the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Ledet Hall Demo Kitchen at 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm.

The pitch prizes include: 1st place $1,500, 2nd place $500 and 3rd place $250.

Sclafani said that they are hoping the winners of the competition will use the prize money to as investments to starting their business ideas.

“We are doing this as a platform for getting students excited about their futures,” Sclafani said. We are showing them that we support their ideas.”

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