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      New incubator kitchen helps grow aspiring entrepreneurs

      It's no secret that Northern Michigan has a booming food industry, and it's having a major economic impact.

      There's a new program in place in Benzie County that could help create more food entrepreneurs. It's called an Incubator Kitchen and it will allow users to legally produce and sell products to the public.

      "Business incubation is what we do here and the idea is we're going to help people to take their ideas for food production and turn them into real products within the community or wherever," said Peter French, Special Projects Coordinator for Grow Benzie.

      Grow Benzie's Incubator Kitchen is a licensed kitchen through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and is focused on turning aspiring entrepreneur's dreams into reality.

      "They come in and say geeze I've got this old family recipe, how do I get it to market," said French.

      With the help of educated volunteers, clients are able to sit down and come up with recipes and market ideas, and rent kitchen space in order to bring their food ideas to life and eventually be sold in grocery stores.

      "We want to help the people in this area, I don't want to just say Benzie County but in this area to go on and start businesses and eventually employ other people and just grow the community that way," said French.

      It is free to go and talk about your ideas at Grow Benzie, but classes that come after, along with the kitchen rental can vary in price. Grow Benzie will be offering scholarships for those with financial hardships.