Growth Strategy

This is our core management consulting service. We help startups stabilize through sales and marketing strategy, financial management and operations assessment. We help later-stage companies grow by identifying and evaluating new opportunities using business case and capital budgeting analysis – tools similar to those we employ in our feasibility assessments.

And we help established food businesses develop strategies and innovations that drive growth because they are rooted in our understanding of the motivations and values that are fueling the good food movement, a seism that continues to reconfigure shelves, menus and plates in every channel of the food industry.

About Us

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

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Growth Strategy Projects

Learn how we have helped our clients develop growth strategies below.

Beginner Farmer and Rancher Development Program Evaluation

Appleton City, MO

New Growth is a rural community development corporation and a nonprofit affiliate of West Central Missouri Community Action Agency. New Growth’s mission is to build local ownership and lasting livelihoods from deep rural roots by building the entrepreneurship resources and culture that rural communities need to thrive. Funded by a USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant and through a collaboration of seven organizations, they are helping beginning farmers scale up into wholesale and develop market outlets for their products. New Venture Advisors is providing evaluation services to measure the impact of the program in elevating participating farmers and increasing their success to remain in farming. (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)

Windy City Harvest VeggieRx Strategic Plan

Chicago, IL

Windy City Harvest, a signature program of the Chicago Botanic Garden, focuses on urban agriculture, food access, and workforce development. In 2016, with funding from the USDA’s Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grant program, Windy City Harvest piloted a produce prescription program called VeggieRx. The program’s partner, Lawndale Christian Health Center, is a Federally Qualified Health Center based near the Farm on Ogden, Windy City Harvest’s headquarters in Chicago. In 2023, New Venture Advisors worked with Windy City Harvest to strategize the post-COVID-19 future of VeggieRx. (2024)

Project EATS

New York, NY

Project EATS is a successful neighborhood-based urban ag and social enterprise organization. They were interested in upgrading their data management and systems, in developing a sales strategy, and in launching a new line of prepared foods with the goals of increasing sales, expanding its consumer base, and improving the overall viability of its enterprises. In working with New Venture Advisors, Project EATS sought a consulting partner with an understanding of and a sensitivity to the unique forces at play in the NYC landscape, and with the expertise and experience to help the organization identify strategies for achieving its goals and operationalizing these new approaches. (2022)

Cultivate KC Strategic Plan

Kansas City, MO

Since 2005 Cultivate KC (CKC) has promoted urban agriculture as a pathway to a more sustainable and healthy food system for all, believing that growing and eating food is how we nurture and care for each other and the world we live in. CKC provides resources and advocacy to increase the production of and access to fresh, nutritious produce in urban areas throughout the Kansas City metro. New Venture Advisors facilitated both a SWOT analysis and strategic planning retreat for Cultivate KC’s staff. This work provided the foundation for an updated strategic plan that leverages Cultivate KC’s strengths, takes advantage of new programming and policy opportunities, and builds diversity, equity, and inclusion into the organization’s mission. (2021)

Oahu Food Hub Expansion Planning

Honolulu, HI

The Oahu Food Hub is a multi-use facility serving entrepreneurs, agricultural producers and organizations in the good food space on the island of Oahu. This new development will house Oahu Fresh, a well-known local produce distributor, and several businesses in the Ke Nui Kitchen group including their rapidly-growing bagel brand and direct-to-consumer food box program. The facility will contain private and shared commercial kitchen spaces, dedicated storage, a local produce aggregation and distribution hub, and private and shared office, meeting, and related spaces. New Venture Advisors assisted the owners in developing operating model alternatives and designing a facility that meets their needs today and plans for future growth. (2021)

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)

Shagbark Seed & Mill Growth Plan

Athens, OH

Shagbark Seed & Mill is a social enterprise launched by the Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative in 2010 to purchase, aggregate, store, process, value-add, market, and distribute certified organic Ohio-grown bean and grain products. They currently sell to stores, restaurants, and institutions across the mid-Atlantic region. At 10 years in business, Shagbark Seed & Mill is contemplating growth strategies that will enable the company to double its product sales over the next 3-4 years and support more Ohio and Appalachian family farms. The company worked with New Venture Advisors to conduct a business review, recommend operational, financial and market strategies, and create a roadmap that will guide the company through its next phase of growth. (2021)

Sustainable Food Center Visioning Initiative

Austin, TX

The Sustainable Food Center (SFC) is an Austin-based nonprofit organization with involvement in every aspect of the local, Central Texas, food system. SFC works to cultivate a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and increasing access to nutritious, affordable food. In looking ahead, SFC asked, “How is the local food system likely to evolve, and what is our future as the centerpiece of this changing food system?” In 2018, SFC worked with New Venture Advisors to refresh its vision by answering these and the many underlying questions in order to clarify its future role, structure and plans. Since that time SFC has been implementing the plan, and NVA has provided coaching support in defining the purpose, structure and work focus of the newly formed organization. (2021)

Great Plains Food Bank Mobile Market

Fargo, ND

For 36 years, the Great Plains Food Bank has been working to end hunger across North Dakota and western Minnesota. As the only food bank in this service area, they distribute more than 12 million meals annually to over 102,000 food insecure residents through a number of innovative programs. New Venture Advisors assessed the viability of a new initiative: a mobile market that serves communities across the state that lack a grocery store. The market would operate as a social enterprise, deploying the assets, staff and know-how of their existing mobile food pantry program as a for-profit business that sells fresh and shelf-stable food sourced through the central food bank and purchased from farms and food makers in retail market locations. (2020)

Kōkua Kalihi Valley Strategic Plan

Honolulu, HI

Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services (KKV) is a community health center created in 1972 to meet the local region’s need for proper health care. KKV’s mission is to “work toward healing, reconciliation and the alleviation of suffering in Kalihi Valley through strong relationships that honor culture and foster health and harmony.” The ROOTS Program of KKV supports this mission with a variety of programs that provide direct assistance, training, education, and connection through growing, preparing, and sharing food as a community. New Venture Advisors developed a strategic plan to clarify the operating structure and financial performance of the programs and enterprises within the ROOTS Program today and to provide a roadmap for the future. (2019)

Cornell University Eastern Broccoli Project

Ithaca, NY

This project began at a time when high transportation costs, interest in locally grown food, and sustainability concerns had begun to create demand for Eastern-grown broccoli. Researchers at Cornell University along with other academic and industry partners have been focused on developing a reliable, high quality, year-round supply of Eastern-grown broccoli that is welcomed in East Coast markets. NVA assisted these efforts in exploring strategies for boosting trade acceptance of this promising specialty crop. (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)

Central Appalachian Food Enterprise Corridor

Abingdon, VA

Appalachian Sustainable Development and ACENet are two of the longest standing and most established food hubs in the U.S. These pioneering organizations recognize that between them is a corridor of farms and food businesses across VA, WV, KY and OH that may all benefit from coordinated marketing, operations, logistics and transportation services. Through funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the organizations have embarked on a joint planning effort to explore models that might enable them to operate more profitably in their rural settings. NVA assisted in this effort by highlighting examples of innovative, successful models that have been established worldwide in order to connect rural, dispersed agricultural producers to mainstream markets. (2018)

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

Rochester, NY

Facing capacity constraints in its existing facility, Headwater Foods, Inc. began building the business case to relocate its operation to a new site and expand into new lines of business. New Venture Advisors conducted market research to better understand the impact supply might have on their expansion, and the nature of demand for new products. (2015)

Blue Ridge Produce

Elkwood, VA

As Blue Ridge evolved from a business startup to an ongoing operation, New Venture Advisors assisted in setting up its bookkeeping system, developing a dashboard and creating tracking mechanisms for expenses and key performance indicators. (2014)

Prairie Crossing

Grayslake, IL

Through FamilyFarmed.org’s Building for Growth project, New Venture Advisors consulted with Prairie Crossing Farm in evaluating capital investments in its Farm Business Development Center to expand production on Prairie Crossing’s 90-acre organic farm. (2011)

 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)