FoodLab Sydney is a not-for-profit culinary business incubator that helps entrepreneurs with high barriers to entry formalise and grow food businesses.
We focus on supporting refugees, migrants, Aboriginal Australians and low-income entrepreneurs by offering affordable kitchen space, industry-specific resources, mentoring and sales opportunities.
Our vision is to create a vibrant, local and inclusive food system driven by entrepreneurs from high-barrier backgrounds doing what they love to do and achieving financial security.
How we began
In 2018, two academics from the University of Sydney, Professor Alana Mann and Professor David Schlosberg, found through a research study that there was a lack of support for food entrepreneurs in Sydney and an abundance of informal, ‘under-the-counter’ food businesses in operation.
Looking to models overseas, they found FoodLab Detroit, a globally recognised US program that addressed local, racial and socioeconomic equity in food entrepreneurship.
Bringing the model to Australia, FoodLab Sydney began in 2019 as a partnership program between the Sydney Environment Institute (at The University of Sydney) and City of Sydney.
What started out as a series of workshops and classes soon evolved into a mentoring program, a community, and finally, a culinary business incubator.
Now, FoodLab serves high-barrier entrepreneurs who approach their business as a pathway to economic freedom, seeking a way to take control of their economic lives.
Our Shared Kitchen
As FoodLab grew in its reach and understanding of the community it serves, it became clear that the entrepreneurs in the program and on the waiting list were desperate for an affordable, registered, shared commercial kitchen space for hire in Sydney. A place that was able to put them on a similar playing field as their larger industry counterparts that saturated the market share.
So in 2023, that's exactly what we created, thanks to the incredible generosity of hundreds of supporters through our June crowdfunding campaign.
Our new kitchen space supports entrepreneurs in our program (and commercial users) with scaling up their operations without facing the unattainably high barriers that are typically experienced in the food industry. Learn more about hiring the kitchen below.
Supporting FoodLab means supporting gender, ethnic, and racial diversity within our local food system.
Your donation can help support the next generation of food entrepreneurs, right here in Sydney.