This week’s Venture Café blog as the ‘Innovator Highlight’ business:

by Travis Sheridan

The baking business certainly has an intriguing dynamic – traditional, and often family-owned businesses producing an incredible variety of baked goods in an increasingly technology-savvy and consumer-centric world. The newest neighbor in the @4240 building is AB Mauri and innovation is baked into their culture. To them, innovation means providing the latest resources, best knowledge and technology to their customers – which range from large, mechanized bakeries to the small artisan bakeries on the corner. Innovation was the driving force for the company’s recent North America corporate headquarters move to the Cortex Innovation Community, which included a significant investment in both baking facilities to match and supersede their competitors – like their new bakingHUB™ – as well as a state-of-the-art pilot fermentation lab to help prepare AB Mauri for the marketplace of the future.

I am always intrigued by the foresight of large and successful companies when they decide to work in close proximity to innovative venture of various sizes and from various industries. Interestingly, this venture of moving the AB Mauri North America headquarters from Chesterfield to the Cortex Innovation Community began two years ago, with their president Mark Prendergast, a native of Australia, riding his bike through the Cortex Community and discovering the possibilities for the company. It was important not only for the company to be around like-minded established and startup businesses but also for its employees to be exposed to an atmosphere that breeds excitement and innovation as well as other innovation-focused individuals. It has been just over a month since AB Mauri moved in, and they seem to have a nice spring in their step with the new surroundings including their new 5,000-square-foot bakingHUB™ and pilot fermentation lab, which will certainly attract more visits and collaboration by their key baking customers.

So, what is the perfect recipe for innovation? As with any recipe, having the right mix of ingredients, technology, process and knowledge makes all the difference in the world. According to people with whom I spoke at AB Mauri, the x-factor ingredient for them – and really in any business – is passion. They are so passionate about what they do that they’ve even integrated that message – Passionate About Baking – into the corporate logo. Their employees live this passion every day, and the move to @4240 to live within this Cortex Innovation Community only adds to it. Oh, and they’ve been known to bring fresh-baked samples up to the Venture Café space from time to time. Now, that’s a great neighbor.