What is the benefit or value you're creating for your business?
Cooking With Mama has adopted a sustainable business model where class participants pay a fee for each cooking class attended. This money is then reinvested back into the venture - with the majority covering the rental costs of the kitchen space, providing compensation to the mama for leading the cooking class, and covering the raw ingredients. A small portion of this money is then reinvested into the growth of the entire organisation. In the future, we plan to expand our profits through cooking products (i.e. spice kits), recipe books, and catering.
How are you leveraging internal resources (funds, time, knowledge, etc.) to support this initiative?
Cooking With Mama is an entirely volunteer-run organisation. It's lead by two directors, Jennifer and Amanda, who are also supported by a volunteer team assisting in areas such as mama recruitment, administration, and event planning.
In addition to its volunteers, the organisation reaches out to its four advisers (through the Emerge Venture Lab) who have experience in social entrepreneurship. It also reaches out to mentors and friends who work/volunteer in food-related industries, social entreprises, and community groups. This has been useful such as receiving tax or legal advice upon company setup, or attending a marketing and branding brainstorm held by marketing professionals in London.
To start, we invested our own funds and also received a £2000 grant to help in the pilot phase,
Expand on your answer, explaining the long-term funding and support plan.
Our long term funding strategy is three-fold:
1. We plan to increase our profits through our cooking classes. Having piloted different classes and developed a strong model for our mama training program and cooking class delivery, we are now looking to better cater our classes towards different customer groups - for individual, group and corporate classes. We are currently undergoing strategic planning for our marketing and branding to better communicate our venture and its mission.
2. We plan to develop partnerships with groups such as supermarkets and kitchen spaces to reduce our costs of hosting classes.
3. We are applying for grants to drive our growth. This funding will be used to help test different cooking class ideas, expand class offerings,and develop our mama training programs.
Tell us about your partnerships across your company and externally that are key to your project's success.
In addition to its volunteers, advisors and mentors in our internal resources, Cooking With Mama relies on its partnerships with culinary schools and community centres where its rents its kitchen space, relies on other community groups which support womens unemployment to reach out to potential mamas, and relies on its social entreprise community to help spread the word about our venture in their personal networks. This is important to us and word of mouth is our best advert.
What internal support have you gotten for your project? What kind of push-back have you received?
Cooking With Mama has received support from two organisations:
1. The Emerge Venture Lab is a 12-month accelerator program which supports new or early stage social entreprises. Through this program we have received training on how to develop our venture from an idea into its current pilot phase. We have also received mentorship through various volunteer advisors from the startup community.
2. The Royal Society of Arts has granted us £2000 to assist with our pilot phase.