How Mike’s Hot Honey built a $40 million a year business

Mike Kurtz doesn’t like to travel without his briefcase. 

The crimson Franzen case is the same model as the iconic briefcase from Quentin Tarantino’s film “Pulp Fiction”. But unlike in the 1994 film, everyone knows exactly what’s inside. 

That’s because Kurtz is eager to show off how he had the suitcase wired to light up just like in the movie, with the built-in bulbs illuminating the amber hue of bottles of hot honey that bear his name. 

Indeed, the reason Kurtz brings the suitcase with him while he travels is so that he can spread the gospel of Mike’s Hot Honey, the spicy honey that has taken pizzerias by storm.

He loads the briefcase up with five 12-ounce bottles before every trip. Kurtz likes to give a bottle to the taxi driver who takes him to the airport, and then hands out a few to the check-in agents who handle his bags. By the time he gets to the security line, his briefcase is empty. 

Kurtz likes to give out bottles of honey from his “Pulp Fiction” inspired briefcase.

Raffi Paul, Mickey Todiwala | CNBC Make It

“I think there’s something about briefcases. You don’t see them around too often,” Kurtz says of his favorite marketing prop. “So whenever you do, there’s this subliminal message sent out to the people around you that whatever’s in the briefcase is of value. It’s gotta be important if you’re carrying it in a briefcase, right?”

Even now, nearly 20 years after he first started experimenting with making hot honey in his college apartment, Kurtz has an obvious passion for the product. And it’s his enthusiasm that inadvertently spawned a business that has captured a 2.5% share of the $1 billion U.S. honey market.

Here’s how Kurtz built up Mike’s Hot Honey from just a hobby into a company poised to bring in more than $40 million over the next year.

‘You know what? This might be the life for me’

A college-aged Kurtz in Brazil, where he found the inspiration for Mike’s Hot Honey.

Mike’s Hot Honey

From an early age, Kurtz had a desire to be a “condiment man.” He had a chance run-in with Larry Raymond, co-creator of the popular Sweet Baby Ray’s barbeque sauce, during his freshman year of college. The interaction, he says, left him feeling inspired. 

“I realized that condiments truly elevate food,” Kurtz tells CNBC

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Small Business BC receives over $3.6 million to help grow small businesses beyond B.C.

The Government of Canada is making investments to champion small businesses and support their export journey

VANCOUVER, BC, June 2, 2023 /CNW/ – British Columbia’s small businesses are the heart of our communities and the economic engine of our province. To continue fueling the entrepreneurial spirit of British Columbians, the Government of Canada is making investments to support more small businesses in B.C. and introduce them to the world.

Today at the 20th annual Small Business BC Awards, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced PacifiCan funding of $3.65M to help Small Business BC celebrate entrepreneurs and increase the export capacity of small businesses across the province.

An investment of $3.6M over three years will help Small Business BC renew and expand the Export Navigator program to reach more people across B.C. Export Navigator is a free service that helps small businesses become export ready. A network of community-based export advisors provide one-on-one advice that can help small business owners tap into new international markets. With this funding, Small Business BC will expand the program to the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, and the Sea-to-Sky Region, so that entrepreneurs in all parts of the province can now access Export Navigator. Small Business BC will also enhance the program’s support for Indigenous entrepreneurs.  

Since 2016, nearly 900 B.C. businesses, including those owned by Indigenous, women and youth entrepreneurs, have benefited from the program. The expanded geographic coverage will also help more under-represented business owners, many of whom live in urban areas, access the Export Navigator program and reach new markets. PacifiCan has been a proud supporter of Export Navigator since 2019.

The remaining $50,000 will support the 20th annual Small Business BC Awards, Western Canada’s largest awards competition dedicated to small businesses. Small Business BC’s marquee celebration recognizes hard-working and resilient entrepreneurs in B.C. that contribute to the rich economic diversity across the province.


“Entrepreneurs in B.C. are creating Canadian-made innovations that have a global impact, but it can be challenging to access bigger international markets. Export Navigator helps overcome barriers by providing customized support for small businesses looking to expand to new markets. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and

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A Business Coach Who Makes $1 Million Shares Her Growth Strategy

  • Jereshia Hawk is the founder of Leverage, an online coaching business for women of color.
  • She quit her engineering job to pursue coaching full time and started by identifying her clientele.
  • To grow from there, she hired a support team and started shaping the business to run without her.

In July 2017, Jereshia Hawk quit her engineering job at Consumers Energy to grow her online coaching business, Leverage. Since then, Hawk has given hundreds of women of color working as entrepreneurs and coaches the tools to design, market, sell, and scale their own group-coaching programs.

Hawk knows firsthand the challenges her clients have to navigate because when she started coaching, she didn’t know how to turn her knowledge of marketing, sales, and promotion into a profitable product.

After seeking out online communities for coaches and learning the basics, Hawk started by selling PDFs and digital courses. She went on to launch a $60-a-month group-coaching program in 2016, but the model was unsustainable and required her to trade too much time for money. About nine months into business, Hawk hired a coach to teach her how to develop a more viable strategy to package and deliver her expertise while maximizing her income.

Now Leverage is a seven-figure brand. She shared with Insider the growth strategies she used to transform from a new entrepreneur into a million-dollar coach.

Shifting from expert to teacher to coach

For coaches, expertise is the product. Hawk struggled at first to package her knowledge in a way her clients could connect with and replicate. As her client list grew, Hawk learned how to deliver knowledge based on what people already understood and which gaps she needed to fill for them.

“In the very beginning, you have to go from being an expert to learning how to be a good coach,” Hawk told Insider. “You have to become consciously aware of where your competencies are, know how to articulate them, and learn the practice of meeting your clients or prospects where they are instead of where we assume they are or where we wish they were.”

Hawk refined her ability to teach by spending a lot of one-on-one time with clients through “done with you” training, where she worked alongside clients to reach

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Gives protection for cheap medical and hospital costs should you or your passengers are injured as the results of an auto accident, regardless of who’s at fault. … Read more