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Local Program Launches Coffee Cake Business

Fort Wayne, IN – His customers named his business for him. As Eric Kreienbrink was selling coffee cakes at farmers markets, people started to call him “Mr. Koffee Cakes.” Why? Because Eric makes delicious coffee cakes in a variety of recipes. Beyond their gourmet quality, his pastries are different than most because they retain freshness while refrigerated or frozen – so they have a long customer shelf life. He regularly sells out at markets.

When business started to get so busy that it was hard to make enough in his own personal kitchen, Eric began to think about using a commercial kitchen. Eric knew that he could join the CookSpring shared commercial kitchen at The Summit to handle his production growth. But, he also knew that to make that happen he would need funding. Luckily for Eric, a new loan product called BrightLaunch had just become available from the Brightpoint Development Fund.

The BrightLaunch loan program was created to improve access to capital and business mentorship for entrepreneurs. It is intended to fill a need for those who have a good idea, but require strong business and financial mentoring to achieve the requirements that would make them eligible for a loan. It also takes advantage of local entrepreneurial resources like CookSpring and Start Fort Wayne.

Once Eric met with the Brightpoint Development Fund, he was referred to the Compass entrepreneur coaching program at Start Fort Wayne. There he worked with Steve Franks to create a solid business model, project future financial performance, and combine all of that in an executive summary.

Steve was impressed: “Eric is a go-getter entrepreneur. He not only had already proven customer demand by the sales he was achieving, but he has very specific expansion plans in mind – along with ways to achieve them.”

All of the hard work and planning was about to payoff. With the required documents that Steve helped him create, Eric had a solid business plan that qualified him for a loan from the Brightpoint Development Fund. With the funding in hand, he was off to CookSpring to start the next phase of Mr. Koffee Cakes.

At CookSpring, Eric worked with Troy Tiernon, CookSpring’s Kitchen Coordinator, to learn the permitting, understand the commercial equipment and tweak the recipes as necessary. As Troy said, “Eric has the drive we look for in our emerging culinary entrepreneurs. He makes a great product and just needed access to kitchen equipment that could help him take his food to the masses. We couldn’t be more excited about his business!”

Mr. Koffee Cakes is a fine example of how the BrightLaunch loan program is designed to work. The Brightpoint Development Fund is pleased to have great partners in the community, like CookSpring and Start Fort Wayne, which make a program like this possible so that more small businesses can succeed.

The public is invited to see for themselves just how delicious Mr. Koffee Cakes’ pastries are at a tasting event:

December 27th noon – 2:00 pm

CookSpring at The Summit Campus – 1025 W Rudisill Blvd; Fort Wayne, IN 46807

(Please enter in Door “N” – the front of the back building on the campus)

RSVP to withlovecollectionbyeric@gmail.com or 260-267-0423

The Brightpoint Development Fund creates economic opportunities for communities, families, and individuals who lack access to affordable capital and financial services. The Brightpoint Development Fund is a supporting agency of Brightpoint, a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving more than 43,000 people across northeast Indiana every year. Through a wide range of programs, Brightpoint helps communities, families, and individuals remove the causes and conditions of poverty. More information is available at mybrightpoint.org.

CookSpring Shared Kitchen at The Summit is a 4800 square foot commercial kitchen for rent to culinary entrepreneurs. Its mission is to operate the shared kitchen as a springboard for culinary entrepreneurs to launch their businesses and grow into 46807 and the city of Fort Wayne.

Start Fort Wayne is a nonprofit that was founded by entrepreneurs to help entrepreneurs. Its three focuses are Education, Community, and Space. Start Fort Wayne’s Compass program is one of its educational programs. Compass is a peer and mentor based 12-week program that runs quarterly. More information is available at startfortwayne.com.