With the support of the Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital Program, LEAF has increased their capacity to provide one on one technical assistance to diverse small businesses in the greater Boston area, including many food businesses operating out of the CommonWealth Kitch. One such business is 50Kitchen led by Chef Anthony Caldwell.
50Kitchen is a catering service that provides clients with a colorful dining experience. They specialize in healthy food that "is simple, flavorful, with a twist." LEAF worked with Anthony to prepare his business to expand and become a serious contender for the Fields Corner Pilot Project. This competition was sponsored by the Fields Corner Collaborative (FCC), a small business collaborative in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. The goal of the pilot project is to give a promising small business the opportunity to move into a new retail space on Dorchester Ave.
LEAF worked intensively with Anthony to adapt his business plan to the Fields Corner retail space. This included new sales budgets, operating benchmarks, and financial projections. LEAF also worked with Anthony to build a project proposal—and eventually a pitch presentation—that reflected his passion and verve for cooking, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his desire to give back to the community that shaped him. After multiple rounds of interviews, Anthony was delighted to report back to LEAF that he was selected as a finalist.
LEAF also stepped in to help Anthony fine-tune his final pitch for the competition. On the day of the event, and after three compelling presentations by the other finalists, Anthony gave an impassioned presentation on his dream of opening a sit-down eatery with a kitchen equipped to serve healthy and high-quality “beautiful food for beautiful people” in Dorchester. His pitch won!
Reflecting back on that moment, Anthony cannot help but think about how far he’s come in his life. “Growing up in Dorchester was a challenge. Being able to open up a restaurant and coming from a ‘You won’t make it’ type of environment, I’m truly blessed to be able to be a blessing to others. I understand that young man who can’t get a job, I understand that young lady who doesn’t have a father in her life... so with my business and my skillset, I’m going to teach, mentor, and pour back into the community so that people will know that there is somebody who’s willing to give back.”
When asked if he had any parting words about his experience working with LEAF, Anthony said: “I would definitely encourage business owners to join forces with LEAF, because I believe that it’s going to be an experience that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. It’s definitely an experience that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Without LEAF, I know hands down I wouldn’t be the winner [of the Fields Corner Competition] and opening up a restaurant in the months to come.”