The entrepreneurial spirit in its modern trends tends to be reserved for technology innovators and alike, but Goa has seen a flush of investment in upcoming food businesses. Amidst the buzz, the Atal Incubation Centre and Goan Institute of Management partnered with Kamaxi College of Culinary Arts to set up India’s first culinary and kitchen incubation programs. Parixit Pai, the founder of FIERCE kitchens asserts that this program shall not only aid the food entrepreneurs but also accelerate the newly established food start-ups to the next level. In the start-up lingo, “incubators” refers to companies that help growing businesses prosper into their goals by providing workspace and training.
FIERCE (Fostering Innovation, Excellence & Resilience in Culinary Entrepreneurship) Kitchens will function from KCCA campus at Verna in South Goa and will be providing a wealth of ancillary services to navigate the business aspect of food systems and network amongst entrepreneurs along with classes, events, and mentorship.
Goan Insider presents the Goan Collective
Are your a Creator or a Business Owner?
Get yourself or your business listed on the Goan Collective and increase your brand awareness. Also get to know your fellow creators and entrepreneurs from Goa in our members only networking eventsLearn More
Mr. Parixit Pai in this interview shared his experience in setting up the culinary incubator program. He further elucidates on the growing potential of India’s foodservice industry and how FIERCE Kitchens is changing the food systems game. Here’s more to it.
Where did the idea for FIERCE kitchen come from?
Entrepreneurship is something I have been passionate about since my younger days. I had been harbouring the thought of a culinary incubator for several years now. I set up the culinary incubator FIERCE Kitchens in order to provide cutting-edge infrastructure and dedicated support to culinary start-ups and upcoming ‘foodpreneurs’ (entrepreneurs in the food industry)’ from across regions. I found the ideal partner for this project in my alma mater Goa Institute of Management (GIM). The Lockdown saw the rise of many home cooks, home bakers, home chefs, etc. I realized that without a structured support system many of the individuals will not be able to survive in the business. Hence we came up with the idea of FIERCE Kitchens.
What experience do you have in your sector?
My experience in the recruitment and skill development sector for the global cruise and hospitality industry spans across a decade and half. As the MD of Kamaxi Overseas Consultants, a recruitment company we hire for the world’s top cruise ships and starred hotels.
I also founded Kamaxi College of Culinary Arts, India’s first Culinary Business School. The B-school seamlessly combines restaurant operations with innovative business and culinary management. In collaboration with AICGIM, the institute has set up a culinary incubator, the only one of its kind. We have been in the hospitality business for the last 18 years out of which the last 8 years have been in culinary training. We have our own food brands which we operate out of our shared Cloud Kitchen in Margao. Our Partner AIC-GIM Foundation is India’s leading Business School and they run the Atal Incubation Centre at GIM, Sanquelim.
Tell us about culinary incubators and how you function
Every 3 months we call for applications from foodpreneurs and do an in-depth analysis of their business and business model. We also try to see the motivation and the commitment levels of the entrepreneur. Successful applicants are then invited to join our cohort of 15 members who will be mentored by our industry experts. Each one’s needs are different, so the approach is structured yet very bespoke.
How do you see the culinary start-ups and upcoming foodpreneurs in India?
The future is very bright as the young population is very aspirational and open to innovation and experimenting with their food. Instagram has taken social marketing to the next level and now startup brands can instantly connect with their consumers in a faster and economical way. If any foodpreneur is motivated and committed to growth then I see the entire Indian market hungry for good food.
What were the main challenges you faced at the early stages of setting up FIERCE kitchens? Do you still encounter them to this day?
Being 1st in India we had to create our own path. The biggest challenge we faced was to find the right partner till the time we found AIC-GIM. And that turned out to be a perfect amalgamation, combining the acclaimed expertise offered by the Goa Institute of Management and the cutting-edge infrastructure of KCCA. Through AIC-GIM, we collaborate with experts in all hospitality and culinary-related fields, offering potential startups and entrepreneurs four rigorous months of mentorship, guidance, planning, and inputs.
Together, we understand, evaluate, critique, and fine-tune your idea to ensure it has the best chance of success.
The problem we are facing now is that we are completing the building of two humongous high-tech kitchens for the startups, and the second wave has slowed down the process.
This is the hardest but very rewarding and satisfying for me as an entrepreneur. The challenges are ongoing and they will be present even when the business is 10 years older.
Can you elaborate on the program offered at the center?
Foodpreneurs can benefit from the program as it covers core topics of entrepreneurship like Pain Point Analysis, Social Media Outreach, FSSAI Registration, and related licensing, Go-to-Market Strategy, Accounting, Finances, and more. The masterclasses and mentorships are taken by industry experts and professionals. FIERCE Kitchens and AIC-GIM provide a dedicated pool of mentors from diverse focus areas of entrepreneurship to the foodpreneurs.
Do you consider your program to be a quantum leap?
Absolutely, I feel FIERCE Kitchens is a program that can touch lives and create value for any foodpreneur, whether it is someone trying to start a pickle business or growing a kombucha business.
When are we expecting the first cohort program at FIERCE kitchens?
FIERCE Kitchens, the country’s first culinary incubator is a collaboration between the Atal Incubation Centre at Goa Institute of Management (AIC-GIM) and Kamaxi College of Culinary Arts (KCCA), Verna. Aimed at providing an impetus to innovative concepts by startups in the food industry, the incubator has launched its first cohort of 12 Foodpreneurs. On completion of the programme, foodpreneurs will have access to the FIERCE KITCHENS ACCELERATOR in Margao for any production needs.
How did you fund your institution?
The concept has been self-funded. Recently we have partnered with Atal Incubation Centre at Goa Institute of Management (GIM) which is supported by Atal Innovation Mission by Niti Aayog and we have invested 7.5 crores so far. The infrastructure and the technical know-how is funded by KAMAXI and the Management know-how is funded by AIC GIM.
What are the various opportunities open for graduates of FIERCE kitchens?
FIERCE Kitchens graduates can upgrade to the FIERCE Kitchens accelerator and Cloud Kitchen where they can create products that are ready to be delivered.
Foodpreneurs can also opt to continue their incubation period with FIERCE Kitchens if they require further assistance and mentorship for their venture.
How are you planning to expand this venture?
We plan to open FIERCE Kitchen incubators in hospitality colleges and culinary skill centres across the country. We are participating in EXPO 2020 to look for potential collaborators worldwide.
Do you have a story to share with the world? Send us an email at email@example.com