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.

About Us

New Venture Advisors is a team of business consultants specializing in local food system planning and new enterprise development.

Meet the team

Contact Us

Interested in tapping into our expertise for your project?

Let us know

Food Business Incubator Projects

Small Business Incubator Feasibility Study

East Providence, RI

The City of East Providence is conducting a feasibility study on converting a former municipal elementary school building into a small business incubator. The vision for the former Oldham Elementary School building is a multi use small business, blue economy, and arts incubator. The project is centered on creating jobs, supporting business startups, and providing a network of business resources that will ensure a greater level of long-term success for small businesses across the three areas of focus. The study will examine the overall feasibility of the incubator model and based on the results, a development plan for the facility that supports the business needs identified within the feasibility analysis. New Venture Advisors will be conducting the feasibility study in partnership with the City. (2024)

Mountain Roots Community Kitchen Evaluation & Design

Gunnison, CO

Mountain Roots Food Project is a nonprofit food systems initiative in the central Colorado mountains. Focused on its core objectives and mission, Mountain Roots is exploring a community kitchen to serve its programs and community members. The concept would include a teaching kitchen for culinary classes for adults and children, space for aggregation and distribution of local food for CSA and food relief efforts,and a production space for small-batch artisan food products. Mountain Roots is working with New Venture Advisors to refine the facility’s design, programs, and equipment selection to create this purpose-built space to support the organization’s programming. (2024)

Community Kitchen Feasibility Study

Junction City, KS

The number one objective identified by the community in a recently completed food system plan is to invest in food system infrastructure that increases the availability of healthy, locally produced food, specifically, a commercial kitchen for farmers, food entrepreneurs and community organizations to rent. Junction City Main Street and the Live Well Geary County Food Policy Council are leading a feasibility study with an advisory board of local stakeholders and New Venture Advisors to determine the best way to design the facility and its programs to serve 80+ small food businesses, the 15+ local farmers they source from, and a community meals program, all in a way that is financially viable. (2024)

The Food Mill Food Infrastructure and Ag Corridor

Columbus, GA

The Food Mill and its partners are developing a small corridor of food-focused facilities and properties along the 2nd Avenue corridor in downtown Columbus. The focus of these projects is to enable the expansion of food-access and agricultural programming (which they currently operate) into a diversified network of food enterprises including medically tailored meals, a shared kitchen, an incubator program, increased agricultural growing and community growing sites, food truck and food retail vending spaces, and outdoor recreation spaces. New Venture Advisors has supported the Food Mill in developing market space and operations  since the expansion of their original facility in 2021, and is currently assisting The Food Mill in defining the concept for this collaboration, its partnerships, operating model, and facilities design through a phased development process funded by a 2021 Healthy Food Financing Initiative grant. The Food Mill is working collaboratively in Columbus with key partners like Open Door Community House, Mercy Medical, and others to support this ambitious development project. (2024)

Food System Planning for the Waukegan Food Ecosphere

Waukegan, IL

The Adelante Center for Entrepreneurship exists to create wealth in distressed communities through entrepreneurship, community development, and living wage job creation, all through a focus on addressing food insecurity. A collective of food initiatives has been identified to be among the first projects undertaken at Adelante: an indoor farm and growing facility, an innovative approach to a food pantry, farm to school programming, a food hub, a shared kitchen, and a retail and food hall concept offering local access to diverse food and grocery options. Pre-development work for this ambitious set of projects is underway with New Venture Advisors. (2024)

Philabundance Community Food Strategies for Hartranft and PCK Entrepreneurial Program

Philadelphia, PA

In addition to providing food distribution, Philabundance’s mission is to drive hunger from Philadelphia communities by addressing the root causes of hunger through integrated service and place-based program models. These interventions, known as Neighborhood Thrive Initiatives, are designed based on feedback from residents. New Venture Advisors worked with Philabundance to engage directly with residents in the North Philadelphia community of Hartranft to identify strategies to increase food access locally and build a more equitable food system. Feedback from residents also informed the development of an entrepreneurial curriculum for the Philabundance Community Kitchen, located in the Hartranft neighborhood. The entrepreneurial program aims to support the development of the types of food businesses that are most desired by community members. (2024)

Business Impact NW

Seattle, WA

Business Impact NW (BIN) was presented the opportunity to take over and operate a shared kitchen space in Woodinville, WA as a food and farm incubation program. The program would focus on helping businesses develop, test, and launch value-added consumer packaged products sourced locally. To ensure this program has community and financial support, BIN entered a 90-day due diligence period before entering into an agreement with the owner. The organization engaged New Venture Advisors to conduct rapid operating, facility and financial feasibility analysis, and provide guidance on lease negotiations. (2022)

CLiCK Expansion Feasibility Study

Windham, CT

CLiCK, Inc. (Commercially Licensed Cooperative Kitchen) is a non-profit commercial kitchen that provides affordable space for lower income and minority residents to incubate food-related businesses and offers gardening, culinary, and nutrition classes. Its kitchen members range from well-established year-round businesses to farmers market and food truck vendors to those who are just beginning on the certifications required to establish their businesses. The number of food businesses utilizing CLiCK’s facility has grown steadily. Renovations and expansion are needed in order to continue to meet the needs of its existing members and allow for further growth in membership. New Venture Advisors conducted a feasibility study and designed a multi-phase concept plan for the proposed expansion of this shared-use commercial kitchen and its likely economic impacts on Windham and the surrounding region. (2022)

Oneida Community Cannery

Oneida, WI

The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin is a federally recognized tribe of Oneida people, with a reservation located on 65,000 acres on the west side of the Green Bay metropolitan area. The tribe works to offer programs, services, and resources that enable the community to carry on with the strength and determination of its ancestors. The Oneida Community Cannery is a new initiative that will teach people how to process and prepare nutritious meals and traditional Oneida foods, serving not only Oneida Nation members, but also entrepreneurs in the food industry. In 2018 New Venture Advisors investigated the feasibility of this commercial and community-use, regional, and intertribal food production center, and in 2022 completed a business plan as the tribe prepares for launch. (2022)

Can-Do Kitchen Strategic Plan

Kalamazoo, MI

Can-Do Kalamazoo (formerly Can-Do Kitchen) was embarking on a needed and ambitious expansion, potentially tripling its footprint to serve a growing number of current and aspiring food business owners in the Kalamazoo area. New Venture Advisors developed a relocation strategy and facility design to help Can-Do Kitchen plan for programmatic growth, scale at a sustainable pace and meet the needs of entrepreneurs who rely on the kitchen for their livelihood. This included launching a microloan program in partnership with Michigan Women Forward and LISC for kitchen users and other local food business owners whose race, orientation, immigration status or credit background may place them outside of normal lending opportunities. In 2022, Can-Do Kalamazoo became a highly collaborative, strategic business incubator and enterprise hub. They continue to offer the same kitchen facilities and support to food businesses and have scaled to include even more resources for entrepreneurs from all industries. (2021)

Open Door Community House Incubator Operating Plan

Columbus, GA

Open Door Community House offers skills training programs for low income individuals in Columbus, including Culinary Arts classes and ServSafe certification. The organization has launched a Culinary Incubator to support graduates from the program who are interested in starting a food business. It offers a full curriculum in a classroom setting. New Venture Advisors developed an operating plan for the incubator and provided coaching support during its pilot phase in late 2020. (2020)

Faith in Place Community Kitchen Incubator Initiative

Chicago, IL

Faith In Place is exploring the feasibility of creating Community Incubator Kitchens in houses of worship – churches, synagogues, mosques and temples – likely the most widely distributed asset base of kitchens, especially in rural areas. In these shared spaces, area farmers can add value to their produce by creating finished products to sell year-round, community members can make food products with ingredients sourced from local farms, and food entrepreneurs can start up a new food business. New Venture Advisors created a starter guide and provided coaching for faith leaders to evaluate the opportunity. (2020)  Download guide here

Worcester Regional Food Hub

Worcester, MA

The Worcester Regional Food Hub has been a collaborative effort between the Regional Environmental Council of Central Massachusetts (REC) and the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, made possible by the generous support of the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts. The food hub, piloted as a kitchen incubator and aggregation hub in 2016, sought to enhance the regional economy through improved producer and consumer networks, targeted workforce development programs, and business incubation. NVA assisted REC and its partners in assessing the market and developing a business plan for the hub’s next stage of growth. (2019)

LISC Phoenix Commercial Kitchen Strategy

Phoenix and Mesa, AZ

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, known as LISC, is one of the largest nonprofits in the country supporting projects to revitalize communities, transforming them into healthy and sustainable places to live, work, and raise families. Two projects in metro Phoenix, a cultural center and an affordable housing development, include commercial kitchens that will operate with a missional emphasis on job creation and serving small businesses, particularly local, women, native and minority-owned. NVA assisted in building the capacity of the management teams, and the refinement of their operating models. (2018)

The Hatchery

Chicago, IL

In partnership with IFF, Allies for Community Business (formerly Accion) 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. Opening in late 2018, the incubator combines private production kitchens, a shared-use kitchen and comprehensive business support services, filling a much needed gap for food entrepreneurs in Chicago. (2017)

Commonwealth Kitchen Strategic Roadmap

Boston, MA

This innovative, non-profit kitchen incubator is among a small but growing class of kitchen incubators with an ambitious vision and complex model—combining shared kitchen space with hands-on business support for entrepreneurs, building co-packing capabilities, growing a brand and a sales and marketing arm, and operating with a specific focus on minority and women entrepreneurs. Through a detailed review of the current organization and business lines, NVA developed a set of proposed paths for the organization to follow to attain its financial goals, developed comprehensive financial projections for these strategies and established a five-year roadmap for implementation. (2017)

Headwater Food Hub

Ontario, NY

Headwater Foods, Inc. is a thriving food hub in upstate New York with a wholesale business line and a CSA service. New Venture Advisors worked with Headwater on a market assessment to quantify institutional demand for fresh cut produce, in support of the hub’s plans for a new processing business line. (2015)

Floyd Food Company

Floyd, VA

SustainFloyd is a nonprofit organization in rural Virginia that develops new ideas to support the next generation of Blue Ridge Plateau’s rural community while preserving its resources, traditions and heritage. New Venture Advisors worked with SustainFloyd to develop a business plan for a value-added agricultural center to process and market locally-produced fruits, vegetables and dairy products. The business launched in 2014 as the Floyd Food Company, beginning with a line of frozen soups. (2013)

 Whatcom County Food System Plan

In 2021, the Whatcom County Food System Committee conducted a community food assessment that pointed to key opportunities to build a more robust and resilient regional food system. New Venture Advisors partnered with Whatcom County staff and the Food System Committee to draft a Whatcom County Food System Plan that builds upon these findings. This Plan focuses on five key goals for building a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient food system, and was informed by an inclusive community engagement process. The Food System Plan will provide the county with a policy roadmap that will strengthen the local food system for years to come. (2023)

 Whatcom Local Food Campus

The Whatcom Community Foundation invests in activities and organizations that improve the ability of people to help themselves, increase connections among people, and take cooperative approaches to community issues. WCF is exploring the development of a local food campus on a waterfront property that would become a multi-tenant site, anchored by a collaborative production kitchen benefitting food access, school system, and community organizations. The goal is strengthening Whatcom County’s local food system by promoting health equity, forging tangible strategic connections between food production organizations, and helping farmers connect with institutional markets. The facility will also feature an incubation kitchen, demonstration kitchen, event and classroom space, collaborative office and conference facilities, and housing.  New Venture Advisors developed the business case for this ambitious project and continues to support its development through engagement and operational development. (2023)