Introducing the New Maker Prep Course

Calling all early-stage food entrepreneurs! Your ideas and passion are key to the specialty food industry’s continued growth, and we want to help you turn your product and your story into a successful business. 

Maker Prep Course is a new SFA program that provides foundational knowledge and guidance to a diverse Class of up and coming food manufacturers. Kicking off at the 2024 Summer Fancy Food Show and culminating in a Class graduation at the 2025 Winter Fancy Food Show, Maker Prep Course is a six-month crash course in doing business in the food industry. Each participant will, by graduation, have a comprehensive understanding of how to launch, market, and distribute their products. 

Together, we shape the future of food. 



What’s Included

  • One-year Tier 1 membership for nonmembers 

  • Badges for the 2024 Summer Fancy Food Show and 2025 Winter Fancy Food Show  

  • Dedicated educational sessions at the 2024 Summer Fancy Food Show 

  • Course touchpoints:  

    • Knowledge building  access to online educational materials for duration of course 

    • Class discussion – a dedicated closed group chat for brainstorming, questions, and ideas 

    • Personal exploration  strategic prompts to apply concepts to participants’ businesses 

    • Coaching sessions  monthly gatherings to talk with industry experts 

The Class of Winter 2025 Is Now Open! 

The Class of Winter 2025 will be capped at 100 participants. Claim your spot today and save $100, only through May 1, 2024. 

Early Bird Pricing: $99 for SFA members, $399 for non-members 


How the Course Works

Kickoff celebration at the 2024 Summer Fancy Food Show

SFA will gather the Class of Winter 2025 in person at the 2024 Summer Fancy Food Show for a kickoff meet & greet event, where participants can get to know one another. 

Throughout the Summer Show, SFA will host immersive workshops that will introduce participants to forthcoming course topics and other foundational knowledge they’ll need as food entrepreneursThere will also be an SFA Passport activity, where participants will tour Fancy Food Show hotspots and get an idea of what to expect when its their turn to exhibit in a Fancy Food Show booth.  

Following the Summer Fancy Food Show, all Course topics will be available online 

Participants may work at their own pace. SFA will provide class discussion and personal exploration prompts for each topic every two weeks, as well as monthly coaching sessions. The schedule of class discussions, personal explorations, and coaching sessions can be viewed below.  

Throughout the Course, participants can connect with one another during and outside of class discussions through the dedicated group chat channel.  

Class graduation at the 2025 Winter Fancy Food Show 

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be celebrated in a ceremony at the 2025 Winter Fancy Food Show, along with a special display opportunity for their products. 

Participants qualify for graduation by completing 75% of the CourseAdditional perks for graduates will include priority access for SFA’s mentorship program and pitch competitions. 


Online Course Touchpoints 

Knowledge Building via Content in Maker Prep 

Participants will access all educational course materials online through the SFA Learning Center. A link to log in and set up an account will be provided, after which participants will have unlimited access to the web-based online learning platform.  

Course materials will include text, videos, and graphics to help explain foundational concepts when around developing a successful specialty food business.  



Class Discussions via Closed Group Chat 

For each Course topic, SFA will provide participants with a prompt to consider and discuss as a group. These discussions will take place in a closed group messaging channel on Slack or a similar platform, where the Class can suggest ideas, ask questions, and get helpful feedback from one another.  

Personal Exploration Exercises 

Participants will get the chance to apply the ideas, insights, and guidance provided around each Maker Prep topic to their own businesses 

From choosing strategic flavor combinations based on consumer trends to considering emerging e-commerce platforms and all the topics in betweenthese personal exploration exercises will allow participants to put their ideas on paper, reflect on the knowledge they’ve gained, and pressure-test their assumptions and plans in new ways. 

Coaching Sessions with Industry Experts 

Each month, a food-industry veteran will join the Maker Prep Course Class for a coaching session via Zoom. These sessions will be loosely focused on the two most-recent Course topicswith many of the speakers who created the educational content serving as coaches. 

Participants are welcome to bring up topics from class discussions, seek feedback on their personal explorations work, or ask other questions of industry experts who know what it’s like to start, grow, and expand a food business. 


Learn More and Enroll Today

The Class of Winter 2025 will be capped at 100 participants. Claim your spot today and save $100 during the Early Bird period. 

Course Schedule

June 23 – 25 
Immersive Sessions at the Summer Fancy Food Show 
July 1 – August 9 
Product Development 
Food Safety 
Co-Packing 
August 12 – 23
Break / Catch-Up 
August 26 – September 27
Branding
Funding Your Business
Pricing & Trade Spending 
September 30 – October 11
Break / Catch-Up
October 14 – November 15
Supply Chain & Logistics 
Trade Channels
E-Commerce
November 18 – 29
Break / Catch-Up 
December 9 – 13
Selling
December 16 – 27
Break / Catch-Up
December 30 – January 10
Working with Distributors
Marketing
January 13 – 17
Prep for the Winter Fancy Food Show 
January 19
Graduation at the Winter Fancy Food Show!