Impact Hub’s TESTBAR program helps food entrepreneurs to jumpstart their business. As a center for social innovation in the heart of UNESCO Gastronomy City Bergen, Impact Hub Bergen offers access to a certified kitchen, Café and event space, as well as a strong support network with entrepreneurial guidance and opportunities.
TESTBAR offers a safe space where both aspiring and established food entrepreneurs can test their ideas, concepts or recipes for real feedback from other entrepreneurs. From a registered kitchen for small-scale food production, food entrepreneurs can experiment with catering for lunches, meetings and events. The cosy Café area provides an intimate space for pop-ups, workshops and social dining events.
Bergen Kommune and Kavlifondet have previously supported this program, and recently Grieg Foundation joined as a collaborative partner to support business training of the food entrepreneurs, especially women with an immigrant background.
Meet some of the entrepreneurs from the program this year below!
Amrita Verma from Northern India was the first food entrepreneur on the program. She started testing her dishes on the community of social entrepreneurs based in the Impact Hub at lunchtime to find the right portion sizes, level of spiciness, and the most popular dishes. Now she has her own catering business delivering homemade, authentic Indian lunches to offices in the area: Rasoi Indian Kitchen.
“The Testbar program plays a very important role in developing my ideas for my project. It is an initial platform for me to introduce my food which is a great help for a new startups like me.”
– Amrita Verma, Rasoi Indian Kitchen
Michelle Zhao, owner and creator of NoSweetSour, moved to Bergen in 2012 and started a food blog to share recipes from her hometown in south-western China with her Norwegian friends. Today, she has thousands of Instagram followers and hosts pop-up cafés and cooking workshops around Bergen.
“The Testbar program has not just provided me with space and equipment, but by being a member at Impact Hub, I’ve connected with other businesses and collaborated with them on new projects. I am building up my competence while earning income to fund the further development of my business. The team at Impact Hub have also been guiding me through the areas that are completely new and unfamiliar to me.”
– Michelle Zhao, NoSweetSour
Together, Victor Santos and his partner Bogumila have over 30 years of experience in the food industry. Victor has worked as a Chef in New York, London and Iceland. A few months ago, they decided to start their own food concept, called Vegan Vacation. They joined the Testbar Program to learn how to launch and market his own concept for healthy, vegan food in Bergen. The duo “pitched” their idea to the community alongside a delicious 3-course vegan meal with everything from home-cured vegan cheeses, veggie burgers and sugar-free desserts. Victor is now using the space and knowledge at the Hub to develop a sustainable concept for their business.
The Testbar program has also lead to collaborations by the food entrepreneurs with other members Impact Hub members, for example to design a visual identity, a persuasive website, or to organise joint events.
When you book a meeting or event space at Impact Hub, you not only get a unique location in a UNESCO World Heritage building filled with social innovation; you are also helping food entrepreneurs like Amrita, Michelle and Victor to grow their business when you order from our diverse, high-quality catering menu.