Growing Entrepreneurs Business Incubation Initiative
In 2009, ECDI launched the Growing Entrepreneurs Initiative (GEI) food business incubation program with seed funding from Huntington, Kroger, Franklin County Commissioners, US Bank, and SBA PRIME. In addition to access to ECDI’s capitalization programs including loans and individual development accounts, GEI programming includes:
- Workshops and seminars for food entrepreneurs, including an introduction to business models for food manufacturers, restaurants, caterers, and mobile cart vendors
- Networking events with other food vendors, and special programs with area food business resources
- Access to area food kitchen facilitiesAccess to area experts in marketing, packaging, food safety, and social media.
The second stage of this food incubation program includes designing and developing a facility that houses a food cart commissary; storage space for mobile food carts, vans and trucks; a commercial bakery; and a product storage facility. Construction on this facility is expected to be complete by mid-2011.
In fiscal year 2010, $410,300 was lent to 25 food-related entrepreneurs. This business capitalization resulted in the creation of 27 jobs and retention of 17 jobs. Three of the participants in ECDI’s GEI program are currently selling their products in the Kroger Marketplace store in Lewis Center. Several other clients have placed their products in local stores such as Hills Market and Whole Foods.
To apply, click here.