Food Business Incubators
The rapid rise in demand for specialty products and services such as jams, salsas, high end coffees, healthy meals, and food trucks, is encouraging many new, hopeful food entrepreneurs to enter the market every year. With this emergence of small food entrepreneurs, many are wondering whether their community needs a food business incubator, and how this incubator might benefit the overall food culture of their region.
There are almost two hundred food business incubators nationwide and they take many forms. Some have a shared-use kitchen that food entrepreneurs and/or farmers can rent to produce and store their products. Others offer contract manufacturing services. Some are focused on produce only, while others allow tenants to process meat, cheese and other goods. Some provide mentorship and training while others provide business services such as sales and distribution support. Some are designed to support economic revitalization while others are designed solely to support agricultural producers. Some are tiny, serving a handful of entrepreneurs while others are large scale and bring together a large network of entrepreneurs.
New Venture Advisors helps clients determine how to best structure a food business incubator to meet their specific goals as well as the needs of their region’s food entrepreneurs and farmers.
Food Business Incubator Projects
In partnership with IFF, Accion Chicago and the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, New Venture Advisors assessed the market demand for a large, innovative food business incubator to be developed in East Garfield Park and serve as a job creator in this lower income neighborhood. The incubator would combine private production kitchens, a shared-use kitchen and comprehensive business support services, filling a much needed gap for food entrepreneurs in Chicago. (2016)
Tazewell County Resource Center
With FamilyFarmed.org, New Venture Advisors completed a feasibility assessment for Tazewell County Resource Center (TCRC), a day center for adults with disabilities, for the creation of a commercial kitchen to employ TCRC workers in light food processing and provide a needed service to agricultural producers and artisan food makers in the region. The business launched as Taste of TCRC with a line of dog treats, a catering business and full service restaurant. (2012)
New Roots Food Hub
San Diego, CA
The International Rescue Committee in San Diego develops innovative strategies to address food insecurity and economic hardship among their refugee clients. One such project is their New Roots Food Hub. New Venture Advisors assessed the financial viability of a workforce development processing center, in which refugee clients would process local produce for sale into area institutions. This venture, Project CHOP, launched in 2015. (2015)