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Rising to the Challenge: Incubator Looks to Help Women Immigrants Start Their Own Food Business

Hot Bread Kitchen's baking has fueled a game-changing food incubator.

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This story appears in the October 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez spent much of her career in NGOs, and learned that the food industry held many opportunities for low-income immigrant women -- if only they knew how to break in. So in 2007, she found a way to open those doors: She’d bake bread.

Jennifer May | Hot Bread Kitchen

She created Hot Bread Kitchen, a nonprofit that sells its bread across New York City, and the nation via its website. Proceeds would fund a Bakers-in-Training program, to teach these women how to make artisan bread, as well as job skills like English and math. The product took off at retailers like Whole Foods and Dean & DeLuca, and many of the program’s 191 women have been hired by New York institutions like Eataly and Zaro’s Bakery. “Somebody told me that not a piece of artisan bread is consumed in New York City that hasn’t been touched by Hot Bread Kitchen,” the CEO says. 

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