FREDERICK, Md. (DC News Now) — If you’re trying to open a food business in Frederick, MD, the city, county and Frederick Community College just made it a whole lot easier.

“I go grocery shopping and then go to people’s houses and they cook for them,” said Ririka Evans.

Ririka Evans is a personal chef. She is one of about 40 students who attended Frederick Community College’s first class on the do’s and don’ts of food entrepreneurship.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic was her chance to pivot in her career, and that’s when she began making healthy home-cooked meals for people. She now wants to build her business with more customers.

“When COVID hit, I lost my job as a cook, and then I had to do it by myself, so I started my chef business,” said Evans.

Elizabeth DeRose, the program manager says there is a great demand for formal education on how to successfully open and run a food business in Frederick.

“Frederick is such a growing economy for restaurants for food service wineries, distilleries, and new ones opening up all the time,” said DeRose.

The program will end in a pitch competition, where students will showcase their newly-learned business concepts for a chance to win money or customized mentorships.

The city and county of Frederick are funding the first class in the program.

“To have that type of community collaboration and partnership is exciting. It’s one of the unique aspects of Frederick County when you have the chamber and the tourism council and your county economic development and your city economic development, all playing in the sandbox well together and they want to support each other for the end goal of growing Frederick County,” said DeRose.

The first class of the program will run until March of next year. Plans for the next class of the program are in the works.