Communications for a Cause
ACD Telecom's Non-Profit Partners & Events
The mission of La Cocina is to cultivate low income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities. We focus primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities. Our vision is that entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love to do, creating an innovative, vibrant and inclusive economic landscape.
Breaking Down Barriers
By providing community resources and an array of industry-specific services, business incubators ensure small businesses can succeed. La Cocina follows this model by providing commercial kitchen space and technical assistance focusing on low-income women and immigrant entrepreneurs who are launching, growing and formalizing food businesses.
The food industry has a notoriously high cost of entry: the fees for licensed and insured commercial kitchen space, the start-up costs to open a restaurant, the standards set to compete for shelf space at specialty stores and large retailers. Burgeoning food entrepreneurs face an uphill battle for success in an overwhelming and incredibly crowded marketplace. La Cocina provides a platform for these motivated people to hone their skills and successfully transition into the highly regulated and competitive food industry.
The Story of La Cocina
La Cocina (pronounced la co-see-nah, meaning “The Kitchen” in Spanish) was inspired by its current home, San Francisco’s Mission District. This ethnically diverse and economically vulnerable neighborhood that thrives in part due to the many small informal businesses that serve the community. Food lies at the heart of this community, and you don’t have to look far to find hidden entrepreneurs in the kitchens of many homes.
Recognizing a need to formalize these food businesses and the opportunity created when you turn inconsistent and illegal home restaurants into sustainable legal businesses, organizations like Arriba Juntos, The Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment and The Women’s Foundation of California and one very special and visionary anonymous donor created La Cocina. La Cocina is both the space-a modern building and commercial kitchen that has been featured in Metropolis Magazine—and the program—an innovative business incubator that supports a growing roster of small businesses.
La Cocina was born out of a belief that a community of natural entrepreneurs, given the right resources, can create self-sufficient businesses that benefit themselves, their families, their community, and the whole city. The food that has come out of this kitchen since 2005 reflects that aspiration and, quite simply, tastes amazing.
Informational Video about La Cocina and its "vibrant and inclusive" innovative Incubator model in the San Francisco Bay Area. ACD Telecom proudly supports La Cocina and will provide free telephony consultations to all La Cocina program participants.
ACD Telecommunications will be sponsoring the 2014 San Francisco Street Food Festival and the Food & Entrepreneurship Conference. Look for our table and our logo, "Tortuga the Turtle" where we will be offering free product demonstrations, consultations and telephony advice for start-up restaurants, Bay Area entrepreneurs and businesses who also support La Cocina's fantastic non-profit community!
Conference date: Sunday, August 17, 10am-6pm
Tickets: Priced at $100. This year, thanks to Wells Fargo, the La Cocina Food & Entrepreneurship Conference has several scholarships available. In the spirit of creating an inclusive conference, we are going to be offering scholarships to low-income entrepreneurs and individuals who are not able to afford a full-price ticket, and yet would add a lot to the conversations and debates if they had the opportunity to do so. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, then please fill out thisshort form and we’ll be in touch with your shortly. Apply before August 8th.
Your ticket will include a full day’s menu of conversations, activities and opportunities to meet people who are all working on food and entrepreneurship, as well as breakfast, lunch and happy hour. Our ticket cost is meant to keep this conference accessible but does not fully cover the cost of the event. Donations are appreciated.Buy your tickets today!
What is the conference about?
"Here in San Francisco, you are just as likely to find bacon on the table, as you are to find chicharrones or choila. At the heart of this city’s diverse food culture are the enterprising culinary entrepreneurs from all walks of life. As local, small-batch, and artisanal foods trends are capturing everyone’s attention, the question remains, can you make it making great food? Since its inception in 2009, La Cocina’s Food & Entrepreneurship conference has looked at how we can best cultivate food entrepreneurs and how that in turn results in thriving and inclusive communities. We hope that you will join us on August 17th for a Sunday Thoughtluck discussing the future of food systems, alongside food entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, city officials, culinary experts, and community organizations from all over the world. Alongside thoughtful dialog and hands on workshops, there will be an Art+Food Expo, and of course, oodles of eats!
Conference sneak peek
- The Value of Ethnic Food: Join San Francisco Chronicle’s Jonathan Kauffman and Hapa Ramen’s Richie Nakano, along with other panelists, in this engaging discussion on paying a fair price for ethnic food.
- Making Made in SF Real: SF Planning and SPUR will present their finding on what it would take to make San Francisco a hub for food manufacturing, and invite the audience to brainstorm solutions.
- Cities + Festival + Foods: A mélange of ethnicities and cultures discussing how they’re using food + food festivals as a tool to bring communities together in their home cities. We’ll have food festival hosts from Brazil, New Zealand, and Sweden!
- Packaging + Branding: interactive session with IDEO working on prototyping for food packaging, as well as insight into what makes a strong and successful food brand.
- Investment Readiness for Food Businesses: An interactive workshop hosted by Friday Consulting will talk about investment readiness and help producers work on their personal pitches.
Our newest addition this year is the Art + Food Expo, which will be running alongside the lunch break; it will be a chance for the conference attendees to interact with ideas around food and city spaces through art and activities. We will have Madelene Farin with her Foodscapes exhibition, Nomad Gardens holding a fun, hands-on activity, Eat Bugs! by Don Bugito, amongst others!
And, it wouldn’t be a La Cocina event without fantastic food now would it? We will have “Around the World in a Lunchbox” presented by Anda Piroshki, Eji’s Ethiopian, Sal De Vida, and Aedan Fermented Foods. We will also be serving breakfast, have enough caffeine to power you through a Sunday Conference, an ice cream social (why not?), and a happy hour to wrap things up."