037: Aged 27 in 2014 skipped an MBA to get experience from her own business – empowering local food & beverage companies. Went from 1 to a team of 4, 50% growth p.a. over the 6 years and funded mostly from profits (Kim Bryden)

food and beverage fte 1-5 podcast sales $0.5m-$1m aud usa Sep 06, 2020

In this episode, I interview Kim Bryden, CEO, and Founder of Cureate, a social enterprise based in Washington DC that aims to empower the food and beverage supply to meet the changing consumer demand. Kim has over 10 years of experience working in the food and beverage industry, and she helps small businesses build diversified revenue streams and identify new market opportunities.  

In 2014, aged 27, Kim decided to skip an MBA and get the experience from starting her own business. She brings the business side to companies in the local food and beverage supply, empowering them through courses, consulting, and procurement matchmaking. Starting as the one full-time employee, Kim has grown the team to four and in the six years achieved an impressive 50% year on year increase in sales. They have a big focus on their existing customers as they achieve to land the new customers and constantly look for ways to build trust. 

Apart from a small business competition cash prize and a minor bank loan, growth has been funded from profits. She feels they have succeeded when she hears a story come back to her about the impact of the seeds they have planted in business owners’ minds over time. Kim says the hardest thing about growing a small business is, “You may have dreams, hopes, and visions for where you want to be, but you need to act in the present.” The advice she would give herself on day one of starting in business is, “The vision you have is real and trust your gut.” Tune in and enjoy.

This Cast Covers:

  • Cureate: Shifting the dollar back into local communities by building an empowered food and beverage supply to meet a changing consumer demand
  • Launching online courses that are helping business owners learn how to pivot and grow their businesses.
  • Being mindful and focusing on both financial and social capital as an entrepreneur in order to create a valuable network of people around you.
  • The sales, courses, and consulting sides of their business model.
  • The importance of diversifying and having duality in your revenue streams.
  • Analyzing and assessing your sales strategy with the customer in mind.
  • Creating a flexible business model, being aware, and appreciating the preciousness of time.
  • Sustaining an annual growth of 50% year over year since they started. 
  • Being adaptable to changes and shifts in the market.
  • Testing if the business idea you have is viable and that the market is actually demanding that product or service before finally venturing into it.
  • Starting out on her own on full time to growing the team to the current four full-time employees and a number of contract employees.
  • Avoid neglecting your existing customers in the pursuit of new customers as you market your small business.
  • Having business metrics that help you measure, track, and assess the status of the business. 
  • Winning $10K at a pitch competition to start the business, one $30K loan, and depending solely on cash flow from revenues.
  • The importance of clear communication and having a perspective of turning frustrating moments into growth and learning opportunities.
  • Setting boundaries and having clear and definitive expectations in decision making.
  • Learning to create a work-life balance.
  • Improving your ability to relate to potential clients by making sure that you are keeping on top of other sectors in order to build trust and relationships.
  • Focusing and thinking about the values, qualities, and culture you want to instill in your business to help guide you as you add new people to the team.
  • Continuously consuming content and investing in your own personal development.
  • Advantages of having a peer to peer learning that cuts across sectors and a lawyer that understands your business. 
  • Avoid getting stuck in the future projection and focus on what’s happening in the present to move your goals and aspirations forward.

Additional Resources:



“If you’re going to go on this crazy journey of business ownership, you might as well define what success means to you” – Kim Bryden

“It’s much harder to acquire new customers than it is to retain and build upon the ones you already have” – Kim Bryden


Music from https://filmmusic.io “Cold Funk” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/