Budgetary constraints and risk-aversion in a majority of corporate board rooms have propelled a shift of innovative activity from R&D departments to an ever-bubbling spring of food and beverage start-up companies. Borrowing from the tech-industry start-up model, these small and energetic companies rely on a perpetual willingness to develop products from uncommon, unaccepted and unproven vantage points. The practice assumes a fair amount of risk, and ultimately results in a high rate of company failure. It also yields some of the most successful product launches in the modern marketplace. This promise of introducing a resonating product keeps entrepreneurs devising business plans, raising funds, assembling small teams and fueling their start-ups with endless energy.
Start-ups foster a culture of innovation. Recognizing the contributions that start-ups make to the marketplace, some regions and cities have calculated the benefits of providing a context for start-ups to cluster and ascend. With a combination of policy, incentive and organizational support networks, Chicago has set out to become the epicenter of food and beverage start-ups and innovation in the United States.