Advice From MN Cup Judge: Carissa Nath

Friday, March 27, 2015

Carissa Nath

Throughout the 2015 MN Cup, we will be featuring our wonderful judges and mentors. Meet Carissa Nath, Meat Scientist at the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.

Carissa Nath is a judge for the Food, Agriculture & Beverage Division of MN Cup. Hear what she has to say about MN Cup and her advice for potential entrants.

Tell us about yourself – who are you, what do you do?
I am the meat scientist for the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI).  AURI is a research and development organization that works to add value to Minnesota’s agricultural commodities by improving or creating new products or processes using those commodities. As the meat scientist, I work with livestock producers, small meat processors, and entrepreneurs on meat product development.  I also provide technical and regulatory assistance to Minnesota’s small meat processors.  I have been with AURI for almost six years now, and I absolutely love my job.  It is so fun to work with clients and be able to apply the science that I have learned to help them develop marketable products. Learn more about AURI and their work here. They have worked with past MN Cup participant, Cool Jerk and have been featured in articles about innovation in the beef processing industry and keeping meat safe.  

What is your favorite part about being involved with MN Cup?
My favorite part of the MN Cup is being able to see all the vast innovation that is occurring in our industry.

What can startup companies gain from entering the competition?
I believe the MN Cup competition offers great opportunities to connect with and learn from industry professionals through mentoring opportunities as well as learning from fellow MN Cup competitors.

What are the three most important components of a great business plan?

  • Positioning Strategy – attributes specific to your product that your competitor’s don’t offer and/or customer needs that your product meets
  • How you price your product
  • Sales potential

What advice do you have for companies entering the 2015 MN Cup?
Be open to learning new things from mentors as well as your fellow competitors.  Even if you don’t make it to the final rounds of the competition there are so many opportunities to learn along the way and strengthen and market your business.