L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success


Kenshi Kobayashi, co-founder of Kenchan Ramen, a local business that creates authentic and chef crafted DIY Ramen kits for home cooks
Incubator and Accelerator Programs Supporting LA Innovators

Kenshi Kobayashi was three years old when his parents found him slurping leftover bowls of broth at ramen restaurants in Japan. It was this lifelong love of ramen that inspired Kenshi (also known by his childhood name Kenchan) to launch Kenchan Ramen, a business that offers authentic, restaurant-quality DIY ramen kits.

After moving to the United States, Kenchan worked at a Japanese food distribution company where he met Master Chef Motoki Teranishi, who would later become his business partner.

"The Seasoned Accelerator Program has been an amazing experience. My two business mentors have been instrumental in helping me make critical decisions- big or small– and offered me guidance and valuable coaching advice every week. The program also covered diverse topics to help our cohort of small businesses navigate the terrain of being an owner of a startup."

During the pandemic, Kenchan noticed that deliveries were not hitting the spot when it came to his favorite comfort food. He created Kenchan Ramen to fulfill his mission of making delicious ramen more accessible to American households.

Kenchan encountered many challenges while trying to grow his business, including how to hire and scale a reliable team, create systems and processes, and create a marketing and branding plan.

Kenchan applied for the SEE-LA Seasoned Accelerator program to seek guidance and support. Once accepted, the program paired him with his marketing coach Jocelyn Ramirez, the chef and founder of Todo Verde and author of "La Vida Verde" cookbook, and business operations coach Charlie Berkinshaw, founder, and operator of Element Shrub, an award-winning line of non-alcoholic cocktail mixers.

Since starting the program, Kenchan Ramen has implemented a strategic, customer-centric marketing plan. He also created a system to recruit a reliable team, allowing him to add two additional farmers' markets to his existing portfolio (bringing it to a total of six to date). He also recently launched their e-commerce platform to ship to West Coast states.

"The Seasoned Accelerator Program has been an amazing experience," Kenshi said. "My two business mentors have been instrumental in helping me make critical decisions- big or small– and offered me guidance and valuable coaching advice every week. The program also covered diverse topics to help our cohort of small businesses navigate the terrain of being an owner of a startup."

Kenchan Ramen is located in LA Council District 14.

Incubator and Accelerator Programs Supporting LA Innovators
EWDD administers and provides financial support to several Incubator and Accelerator programs in the City of Los Angeles through Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). These programs contribute to the City's innovation landscape by supporting the creation and growth of startups.

Kenchan Ramen got help getting off the ground with assistance from the Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) Seasoned Accelerator Program, which helps food entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses and become profitable. SEE-LA's mission is also to promote social and cultural activities that benefit both low-to-moderate income residents of Los Angeles.


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This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of October 24, 2022. Read this issue and more.


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