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The Incubator Kitchen Collective is a community-driven support system that combines resources, knowledge, and experience to help local food entrepreneurs succeed. The kitchen provides education, promote food access, and offer support to our kitchen members and to the community around us. / Image courtesy of Incubator Kitchen Collective // Published: 6.25.18
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Newport’s Incubator Kitchen Collective Is Cooking Up A Bunch Of New Entrepreneurs

If the kitchen is the heart of a home, the Incubator Kitchen Collective is the heart of an entire community.

There’s something beautiful about food and its ability to bring people together. Since 2013, the IKC has been called home by nearly 100 food businesses—some of which have grown out of the incubator and into their own space (like Brown Bear Bakery, Quaintrelle Confections, or the soon-to-be-open Pickled Pig).

So what is the Incubator Kitchen Collective? It’s a 10,000-square-foot shared kitchen space for food-focused entrepreneurs looking to either get started or expand their current production.

WHICH CAME FIRST: THE KITCHEN OR THE COOKIE?

Rachel DesRochers always knew she wanted to create a business focused on gratitude. After trying a homemade graham cracker for the first time, she called her husband and said, "Jim, I'm going to start this gratitude company, and it's going to be in the form of a cookie!" The idea of the incubator came a few years after she launched Grateful Grahams.

Grateful Grahams expanded its production space and moved to a 1,000-square-foot kitchen in Covington. DesRochers then asked herself, “What if we opened our doors for other people doing the same thing?” She understood the impact of the support she received as an entrepreneur and wanted to offer the same to others.

Before she knew it, she had a dozen people sharing the space. After three years of what she describes as “showing up, doing good, and helping people,” the incubator moved to Newport in November of 2016. The following year, the number of tenants went from 10 to 50.

“We’re all here working really hard for something,” DesRochers explained. “We’re here for our dreams, for our mortgage, or for feeding our families.” Everyone’s there to learn from each other and the kitchen offers both food-focused entrepreneurial education as well as a network of markets, investors, and mentors.


HOW IT WORKS

Tenants choose from three rates: Egg (8 hours/month), Chick (40 hours/month), and Hen (full-time). DesRochers knows starting a business isn’t easy, so she tried to eliminate as many barriers as possible for those wanting to start or grow their food business. There are no membership fees and with 24/7 access to the building, there’s room for everyone. And there’s always room for more.

“Numerous times I’ve built something and quietly stepped away and watched it continue to thrive,” DesRochers explained. “My job is to build a community and create space.”

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The Incubator Kitchen Collective is located in Newport, Kentucky at 517 W 7th Street (41071).

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