Open to Business

Initiative supports entrepreneurs along Bottineau corridor

Supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs

“The key to success is the ability to recognize opportunity and take action,” says Florence Karp, founder and CEO of Chef Flo-K Foods, a new company that seeks to bring the Nigerian food staple, Afric Stew, to Minnesota kitchens.

That’s just what she did when she heard about Open to Business, a program supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, offered through a partnership between the Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers (MCCD), Brooklyn Park and other suburban communities, and Hennepin County.

Assistance from the Open to Business program administered through the City of Brooklyn Park allowed Florence to secure commercial kitchen space in Minneapolis where her Afric Stew will be produced, packaged and distributed. She expects to go into production later this year and someday hopes her products will be found in kitchens across the country.

Open to Business is part of a broad strategy to promote economic development, create and retain jobs, and cultivate entrepreneurs throughout Hennepin County.

For Florence, helping others is real business

Florence is a lifelong entrepreneur who has always dreamed of turning her love of cooking and traditional Nigerian foods into a business. She immigrated to the United States in 1997. Before that, she was a Home Economics teacher in her home country of Nigeria, where she developed a passion for cooking, sewing and fashion, and helping others develop life skills.

Since coming to Minnesota, she has worked as a staffing coordinator, a life coach, and a motivational speaker and published author of the book “My Choices.” Helping others succeed is a driving force in both her personal and entrepreneurial life.

She started the African Dynamic Women’s Network, which brings together African women from around the region on a monthly basis to teach, learn, empower, fellowship and share knowledge."

Networking with other African business owners and entrepreneurs is partly what motivated Florence to start Flo-K Foods.

“Many Africans in this country work very hard and have such busy lifestyles that they do not have time to cook and eat healthy homemade African foods,” she said.

Her signature Afric Stew makes it easy for people to enjoy a healthy and flavorful Nigerian food staple on the go. The stew can be eaten hot or cold, and works well as a base to pair with any array of vegetables, proteins and grains.

Learn more about the county's economic development initiatives at

www.hennepin.us/business/work-with-henn-co/economic-development