June 17, 2013

A New Generation of Kosher Entrepreneurs

It is a fact that at many of the large kosher manufacturers, a new generation of young entrepreneurs is slowly transitioning from their baby-boomer owners. It is also taking hold at every level of the kosher food industry. Then there are many young Orthodox Jews who are planning their futures around the kosher food industry. I met some of them at LTB (Let’s Talk Business) 2013 Summit on June 12th. They were amongst 500 people who spent the entire day listening to an all star lineup of presenters, a CEO Roundtable (which I was part of) and even Launch Pad, a take-off from the popular Shark Tank TV Show, including an appearance by Kevin Harrington.

I met Yonie, who is planning on launching a specialty distributorship of specific health food items, Jerry, who has been working at a large kosher food store for the past three years, and Leibel, who at 24 is already importing foods from overseas.

A good portion of the day was spent learning about the importance of using technology to grow a business. The role of social media as a major driver of business growth was sprinkled throughout. To prove the point, a young woman was busy all day Tweeting the proceedings in real time. Some of the young food entrepreneurs reported that they were using Facebook to grow their network of friends for their businesses. It was very obvious that the new generation of leadership in kosher foods would be using a whole set of new tools to develop their businesses further, perhaps to the amazement of the previous generation. 

“We are rapidly approaching the day when the fate of a new product will be decided on social media even before it has a chance to prove itself on the shelf,” said Jerry. He said that instant discounted sales could be broadcast in real time and coupons easily available on smart phones. “Imagine announcing a special at 11 AM and having 50 customers rush into the store by noon,” he excitedly added. After speaking to many of these young entrepreneurs, it was clear that it was time to roll out the welcome mat to a new generation of kosher food leadership.