Will mentor students competing in entrepreneurship challenge
Twenty-four-year Food Network veteran Tyler Florence, a 1994 graduate of Johnson and Wales University’s former Charleston, SC, campus, has captivated millions of viewers on numerous hit shows including The Great Food Truck Race, has been named JWU’s inaugural Food Entrepreneur in Residence. In this role, Florence will mentor students selected to compete this year in the JWU Future Food All-Stars Challenge, a JWU-sponsored competition to develop and seek funding for business ventures to support the food economy.
“We are pleased to welcome Tyler Florence back to Johnson and Wales University so our students may leverage his expertise and experience,” said Jason Evans, Ph.D., dean of the College of Food Innovation & Technology (CFIT). “This is an exciting opportunity and partnership that illustrates the entrepreneurial spirit, innovation and industry connections for which JWU is known. We are grateful for Tyler’s generosity and commitment to give back to the university that prepared him to follow his passion and achieve success in the culinary world.”
“It is a true honor to serve as JWU’s first Food Entrepreneur in Residence, a role that will allow me to mentor students and share the experiences I’ve had along my professional journey,” said Chef Florence. “My Johnson & Wales education gave me purpose and cemented the foundation of who I am as a person and a professional. As our industry begins to recover from the pandemic, there is tremendous opportunity for young innovators and entrepreneurs to play an important role. I look forward to working with JWU’s talented students, nurturing their ideas and passions, and preparing them to enter their field ready to lead.”
Chef Florence will lead the JWU Future Food All-Stars Challenge, a competition hosted by the university’s The Larry Friedman Center for Entrepreneurship (eCenter) and CFIT, where teams of students will identify a core business opportunity, develop a business model and product plan, and prepare for the opportunity to pitch their ideas to established investors. Student teams were selected on June 1 with the students participating in a three-credit entrepreneurship course that will meet once weekly throughout the fall semester. Three teams will be selected as finalists in late November to pitch their ideas to real prospective investors with a JWU panel selecting the winning team, which will receive a cash prize of $2,500.
JWU’s eCenter and CFIT focus on the complete spectrum of the food economy and will support the challenge. The eCenter brings together entrepreneurial studies, experiential opportunities, mentors, and the small business support services to transform students into entrepreneurs and their ideas into commercial or social enterprises. CFIT explores the role of food in everyday life, with a focus on science, nutrition, sustainability, safety, policy, business, and product development and design.
For more information, visit the Johnson and Wales University website.