July 5, 2016 at 12:45pm
Dane Lisser

Millikin University, National Foodworks Services partner on economic development projects

National Foodworks Services

Millikin University and National Foodworks Services (NFS), LLC, an Illinois limited liability company located in Decatur, Ill., entered into an agreement on June 30 to pursue common economic development goals for greater Decatur and central Illinois.

As part of the agreement, both organizations will facilitate Performance Learning projects to establish a platform for entrepreneurial food development, food-based innovation, training and development of entrepreneurs and connecting entrepreneurs with supportive parties.

The three-year agreement will give Millikin University opportunities to engage with National Foodworks Services on projects such as, but not limited to, the Food Innovation Challenge. NFS will also engage Millikin business, science and nutrition faculty on such projects as class consulting, internships and special project teams. The agreement will provide opportunities of collaboration with Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship, SCORE Chapter #296 and the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship for NFS and its clients.

National Foodworks Services

"We are extremely pleased to be able to collaborate with Decatur's own Millikin University to help showcase some of the food innovation entrepreneurs we are meeting as clients," said Tony Caccomo, managing member of National Foodworks Services, LLC. "Millikin University has a wonderful history in promoting entrepreneurship, and with a great deal of their help, we feel that Decatur is now in the forefront of food innovation around the Midwest."

Millikin University will have access to the NFS food incubation facility, as appropriately required, for purposes of conducting Performance Learning activities. Millikin will have the use of equipment, offices, classrooms and processes to further their educational mission.

"The Center for Entrepreneurship will serve Millikin students, faculty, NFS, its clients and the community as they leverage the resources in our area to create and capture value within the current transformational food industry," said Julie Shields, director of Millikin's Center for Entrepreneurship. "As part of this effort, the Tabor School of Business and the Center for Entrepreneurship will be creating a new course for food innovation and entrepreneurship that will launch in Spring 2017. The development of this course is funded partially through a grant from the Lumpkin Family Foundation."

National Foodworks Services

NFS is an Illinois registered company that builds on an incubator commercial kitchen project begun in upstate New York in the late 1990s. NFS offers a full range of FDA approved commercial food processing including baking, bottling, freezing and affiliated food processing. NFS will further expand opportunities for small or new food concepts with full scale baking, packaging, storage and distribution.

NFS also brings together locally collegiate expertise in the culinary arts from Richland Community College in Decatur, as well as entrepreneurship programs currently offered.

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive university with a diverse student population of approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students. A Millikin education features Performance Learning, a unique learning approach offered only at Millikin that gives students the chance to build the confidence and skills to succeed before and after graduation. Millikin offers more than 50 majors in the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and Tabor School of Business, and is located on a 75-acre residential campus in Decatur, Ill. Last year, 99 percent of Millikin graduates gained employment or admission into professional/graduate school within six months of graduation. More information is available at millikin.edu.

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