Not-for-profit culinary business incubator, FoodLab Sydney, says its new commercial kitchen in North Strathfield is a game-changer in empowering marginalised communities, adding a $25,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation made it possible.
In June, the lab announced it was looking for $60,000 to purchase equipment and complete the fitout at its new shared kitchen facility in Strathfield, Sydney.
Coca-Cola Europacific Partners employee, Kimberley Hodge, nominated FoodLab for the grant.
Hodge said, “This grant is a catalyst, transforming the new North Strathfield kitchen into a vibrant hub for culinary innovation and community engagement. I'm thrilled to be part of this transformative journey.”
The kitchen is poised to empower food entrepreneurs from high-barrier backgrounds such as migrants, refugees, and First Nations people.
FoodLab Sydney MD Jamie Loveday said that while the food and hospitality industry is brimming with opportunities, there are often presents financial and technical barriers for individuals from diverse backgrounds.
The facility is designed to lower the barriers and offer an inclusive environment for young businesses to thrive.
Loveday said, “Our vision is to create a welcoming, safe, and affordable shared co-working kitchen for refugee, migrant, women, and First Nations food entrepreneurs. The facility in North Strathfield is a significant step toward realising this vision.”
Since it began in 2019, FoodLab Sydney has incubated and supported the launch and growth of 20 food businesses, spanning caterers, market stalls, and artisanal products, and provided pro bono support worth $137,000.
Coca-Cola Australia Foundation chair, Malcolm Hudson, said: “Every day, dedicated individuals show up with passion and ambition to make a difference, so it’s a privilege for the Coca-Cola Australia Foundation to support charities that resonate deeply with the Coca-Cola workforce through our Employee Connected Grants program.
“The initiatives funded by these grants reflect the diverse needs of our communities. Through collective effort, we aim to make a lasting impact, building a more resilient and sustainable future for all Australians.”