Jill Willett worked in corporate sales and marketing for a decade before taking her entrepreneurial plunge. When she did, she launched a natural hand-crafted baby food business in the heart of Silicon Valley. 

Now, she’s brought that expertise to the Triangle, and throughout the past year, has worked to organize and connect the Triangle’s food entrepreneurs. Her initiative, the Triangle Food Makers, runs in close conjunction with a robust ecosystem of support organizations for the Triangle’s food entrepreneurs, including the RDU Mobile Food Association, the Small Business Center at Durham Tech (host of this weekend’s Triangle Small Food Business Conference) and North Carolina State University’s Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS). 
Triangle Food Makers, which launched in August 2015, is a labor of love for Willett. She openly shares that the process of launching her food business led to a realization that her passion was not in it, but in advising new food-based entrepreneurs on marketing, positioning and growth strategies. After two-and-a-half years in the business, called Little City Kitchen Co., she turned to blogging, teaching, consulting and working in community development in California.

But since her move in 2014 to the Triangle, she’s done it through Coaching For Cooks, her consultancy that provides marketing coaching for food entrepreneurs. Triangle Food Makers is a logical extension of this passion: bringing together the people that create, cook, produce and sell some of the Triangle’s most popular food items to connect, learn and share experiences with one another.