Cullen Gilchrist Judges DC Startup Week Showcase & Competition

The inaugural DC Startup Week CPG Startup Showcase & Competition held this October was a resounding success, showcasing the vibrant and innovative community of local CPG entrepreneurs in the DMV area. Our very own founder and CEO, Cullen Gilchrist, had an influential presence at the event, acting as both a judge for the competition and a panelist discussing "Scaling Your CPG Business to $5 Million". The event, hosted by CPG in the DMV Connect, provided a platform for 21 local brands to sample their products, share their stories, and connect with business leaders invested in supporting local enterprises, including several Union Kitchen Accelerator brands such as Myles Comfort Foods, Aji Tea, Pop's Praiseworthy, Maspanadas, and Bulldog Brinery.

This event highlighted Union Kitchen as an authority in the CPG world, as Cullen served as a judge for the Showcase & Competition and joined a panel alongside Samy Kobrosly, the founder of Snacklins, where they discussed how to scale your CPG business to $5 million dollars. Samy K and Snacklins started where everyone does—the beginning! He worked with our Accelerator team to develop a mission, vision, and actionable strategy for his brand while becoming a manufacturing expert in our shared kitchen. He then went on to take a phased approach to growth, now scaled nationally and manufacturing in his facility. This panel highlighted how to find success by taking a phased approach to growth, owning your manufacturing, and listening to the market.

Several Union Kitchen Accelerator brands were recognized as winners in the showcase & competition, including Myles Comfort Foods, Pop's Praiseworthy Snacks, and Aji Tea. Out of 21 participating brands, Myles Comfort Foods, founded by Myles Powell, emerged as the Judges Overall Winner and secured the title of Judges Best Product Taste & Quality. This accomplishment is a testament to Myles Comfort Foods' commitment to delivering exceptional taste and quality in their products. Just like Samy K, Myles worked with our Accelerator team to develop a mission, vision, and actionable strategy for his brand. By leveraging the Union Kitchen Ecosystem, he launched a market-ready product, became a manufacturing expert in our shared kitchen, and grew sustainably. Myles Comfort Food can now be found in many major retailers, including Target, Sprouts Market, and Whole Foods Market.

Pop's Praiseworthy Snacks, founded by Nicole Jones, was recognized with the prestigious Judges Best Innovation award. Aji Tea, founded by Aji Sunjaya, secured second place in the Audience Awards, showcasing the brand's popularity and resonance with consumers. Both of these Union Kitchen brands have launched a market-ready product by leveraging our Ecosystem and are focused on finding product-market fit and growing locally. They are following in the footsteps of other rockstar Union Kitchen brands like Snacklins and Myles Comfort Foods!

These brands' success is due to their commitment to a phased approach to growth—a sustainable strategy for long-term success. Our mission is to build successful food businesses. The presence of Cullen and Samy K, and the success achieved at this event by Union Kitchen brands, is a testament to the path taken by Union Kitchen brands. Interested in learning more about how to follow this path? Read more about our Accelerator HERE!