(As of December)
Provided tailored technical assistance, access to market support, and emergency cash relief to 155+ entrepreneurs in our small business incubator, facilitating business survival amid unforeseen market volatility and economic shocks.
Produced our first-ever national, virtual event, the Food Entrepreneurship Forum in October 2020, which engaged 205 entrepreneurs from across the country and connected 25 directly with buyers from national grocery chains and corporate dining institutions, generating meaningful sales opportunities.
Directly supported struggling MWBEs with the creation of our Chef Collective, an initiative to generate sales for ailing catering businesses while addressing local food insecurity, and by doubling down on supplier diversity partnerships with corporate partners.
(As of June 2020)
Created a quarterly admissions process for new businesses, which will streamline the application process and onboarding, and will include a panel interview for each applicant. They also created a revised pricing model in which businesses purchase a package of kitchen hours at the start of each month, encouraging members to commit to time in the kitchen to grow their business.
Implemented a staging process for businesses, specifically creating a clearer structure, with a path to graduation or moving from stage to stage (the stages being Emerging, Incubator, Accelerator, and Graduate). Businesses are required to check in with the Incubator team quarterly so that the team can assess the needs of the business several times throughout the year. The goal will be to accept new businesses who are in the Incubator stage and ready to make the most of the suite of services that they provide, rather than those still in the Emerging phase who have historically experienced less success in the program.
More tailored support at each level - this includes tailored financial supports, culinary and logistics advising through a new mentoring program, and appropriate Access to Market opportunities for each stage. They continue to provide tailored advising to member businesses, and the focus of this advising was adapted to their needs during the pandemic.
They have also been monitoring the landscape of public and private relief for small businesses and as they move into the more prolonged recovery period and focusing their advisory services on helping entrepreneurs navigate the public and private resources available to them.