Food Fort 2.0 is one year old!

Join us in celebrating with a week of food specials, promotions, sneak peeks and top-notch entrepreneur education:


MEMBERSHIP MONDAY: Get a sweet deal on your Women's Business Center membership. Learn more.


TAKEOUT TUESDAY: Support local today with our takeout specials and suggestions. Learn more.


WEDNESDAY WORKS: Entrepreneur education opportunities, featuring COVID Survivial Strategies for Restaurants. Learn more.


THURSDAY MORNING COFFEE & CHAT: Join us online to network and learn about free resources for entrepreneurs. Learn more.


FATTEN YOUR REVENUE FRIDAY: Grow your business by working with the government. Learn the certifications you'll need, how to get started and more. Learn more.


About Food Fort 2.0

Food Fort 2.0 represents the progression in ECDI’s quest to provide assistance at every point in the process of turning a concept into an enterprise. As more and more thriving, self-sustaining food businesses graduated out of the Fort, we identified the opportunity to create a separate space for owners whose needs had grown beyond what the original space could offer but were not yet ready to have their own facilities.    



Monday, October 19

Monday kicks off our Women's Business Center membership special. Between Monday, October 19 and Saturday, October 24, when you sign up for an Annual Membership you get one month free!

Join the Women's Buisness Center




Tuesday, October 20

Celebrate Takeout Tuesday and get takeout from one of our partners or your favorite local spots:


๐ŸŒฎ Make Takeout Tuesday Taco Tuesday with Dos Hermanos, Columbus, OH 

Order Online


๐Ÿซ Get cozy on the counch with a Hot Chocolate Mix from Coco Cat Bakery 

Shop Online


๐Ÿœ Order a nice warm bowl of ramen from Satori Ramen, Columbus, OH 

 Order Online 


๐Ÿค Load up on a sizzling Pipe’N Hot Fried Fish and a BAMBA Pineapple ๐Ÿ Iced Tea from Pipe ‘N Hot Grill, Cleveland, OH

View the Menu and call in for your pickup order at (216) 795-5250 


๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพ‍๐Ÿณ Enjoy "home-cooked" Spicy Maple Chicken or BBQ Meatloaf from Edibles-N-Such on Thursday in Cincinnati, OH.

Place your order by Wednesday, October 21 for Thursday, October 22 pickup.




Join us for the webinar Protecting Your Business from Fraud

Do you know what patterns to look for when monitoring your business accounts? It is important to monitor financial transactions going in and out of your business, looking for patterns that could indicate illicit or fraudulent activity. There are a few basic principles to keep in mind as you assess fraud risk in your business, knowing your business’ vulnerabilities can help you prevent it.

Register Today




Wednesday, October 21

Join us for the webinar COVID Survival Steps for Restaurant Owners

Get loan funding info, entrepreneur tips, a virtual tour of our "ghost kitchen." Learn the steps you should be taking to assure cash flow and help your restaurant weather the COVID economy. This session is jam packed with speakers and tours of ECDI's Food Fort incubation facilities. Each speaker will talk for about 5 minutes with time for a few questions afterwards. ECDI and WBC staff will stay on after the webinar is over to answer any additional questions.

  • Nicole Liatos, Director of Education and the WBC of Northern Ohio, will give a brief overview of who ECDI and the WBC are and how they can help food service businesses throughout Ohio grow.
  • Take a virtual tour of ECDI’s Food Fort, a ghost kitchen for Columbus restaurants, where Lisa Gutierrez of Dos Hermanos tacos, (AND SBA’s Minority Business Owner of the Year for Central and Southern Ohio) and Terry Traster, ECDI Director of Business Incubation, will give real-life tips for expanding your takeout business.
  • Is taking on debt right now a smart choice for food industry businesses? Joe Armstrong and Ken Johnson, ECDI lending experts, will go over how loans can help your businesses and strategies to make them most effective.
  • Jerome Jones, Lender Relations Specialist from the Small Business Administration (SBA) will give a rundown on the latest SBA loans restaurants can leverage.
  • Winter is coming. What happens if a patron or someone on your staff gets a positive COVID test? Barns & Thornburg law firm will let you know how to keep your business from getting HR and employment violations surrounding COVID-19.
  • We’ll close out the hour with a short cooking demo from Clayton Freeman of I Can't Believe It's Vegan.

Register Today




Organizational Types & Considerations For A Small Business

The business structure you choose influences everything from day-to-day operations, to taxes, to how much of your personal assets are at risk. You should choose a business structure that gives you the right balance of legal protections and benefits.

Steven Andreoli, VP, Central Ohio Market Acquisition Lead at PNC Bank will identify general characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of each of these organizational types for small businesses:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • C-corporation
  • S-corporation

Register Today




Thursday, October 22

Coffee + Chat with the Women's Business Centers

Each month, Coffee + Chat spotlights a WBC member and provides virtual networking between small business owners. Learn from local business owners, hear upcoming WBC projects and programs, and learn how you can become a member of our growing small business network. Even though we can't meet in person, we can support and inspire each other virtually!

The WBC Directors will be available to share ECDI, WBC, and SBA business programs and answer questions for small business owners throughout Ohio.

Register Today




How to Achieve Your Goals With Your Credit

Julius Franklin of Reflections Credit Solutions will go through the ins and outs of your credit score and report to empower you to use your credit to achieve your goals. In this session you'll learn:

  • What factors are important when you want to improve your personal credit score
  • How to dispute and view items on a credit report
  • How the banks, underwriters, and loan servicers review your credit
  • Why it's important to maintain a good credit score and how to have a clean report over a 7 to 10 year period
  • How to set a 10 year plan that will set you up for financial success

Register Today




Friday, October 23

Join us for a Panel Discussion: Doing Business with the Government

The U.S. Government is our country’s biggest consumer. Learn strategies for getting a piece of that business, including how to get started and which certifications you should apply for. Our panel of business owners and governmental experts will give guidance on what certifications your business is eligible for and the resources to get started or move onto the next level for government contracts at the local, state and federal levels.

Entrepreneur Panel Members

Industry Expert Panel Members

  • Bobbi Bell-Bartholomew, Program Administrator in the Equal Opportunity Division, Ohio Department of Administrative Services. She is the expert on MBE, EDGE, VBE, and the newly established Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) certifications.
  • Jill Nagy-Reynolds, Business Development Specialist at the SBA, who advises entrepreneurs on contracting opportunities and the government procurement process.
  • Jesse Mark, Program Manager for ECDI’s Capital for Construction program, which helps Black- and minority-owned businesses grow by providing access to capital and training.

Register Today