West Virginians interested in cooking up a successful business in the food industry can hear from experts around the state in a two-day workshop taking place April 13 and 14, at the Waterfront Hotel in Morgantown.

The Food Business Workshop, hosted by West Virginia University Extension Service and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, offers classes in everything from developing a business plan to learning byproduct utilization.

“We want to teach people how to maximize their profits and successfully operate a business,” said Litha Sivanandan, WVU Extension food safety and preservation specialist. “This workshop can help prepare you for the hurdles, legal and otherwise, that new and potential business owners might face.”

Other topics include registering trademarks, buying insurance, preparing for food inspections and following food label requirements. Tax advantages, internet marketing, loans, grants and emergency response plans will also be covered in the courses.

In a small state like West Virginia, people in the business of producing food products can face additional difficulties. One outcome that the coordinators hope to see is an increase in the use and purchase of local foods around the state.

“When you have a perishable product, like meat, it can be difficult to distribute your product to retailers in time to face the product’s short shelf life,” Sivanandan said. “We want to help outline pathways for delivery and distribution that will make sense for entrepreneurs. “

A unique aspect of the workshop will be the participants’ ability to have a monthly online follow up meetings through the University’s web-based classroom software.

“We’re not just sending you home with information and wishing you luck,” she said. “We know that you’re going to have questions and need guidance along the way. The follow-up meetings will help us continue to serve those who participate.”

Cost for those who register prior to April 6 is $25. The cost after April 6 is $35.

For more information, or to register for the event, visit www.fh.ext.wvu.edu or call 304-293-8588.


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Ann Bailey Berry,
WVU Extension Communications
Office: 304-293-5691
Cell: 304-376-7740
E-mail: Ann.Berry@mail.wvu.edu