Make Food Your Business at RI's First Culinary Incubator
Published on October 7, 2013
Hope & Main, LLC, Rhode Island's first food business incubator, is now accepting applications for the inaugural class of its incubator program. Early-decision deadline is December 17 with selected startups notified on or before March 1, 2014. Thereafter, new members will be admitted on a rolling basis as vacancies become available.
"Given the outpouring of interest in our incubator program and the fact that kitchen space is limited, we expect the initial application process to be highly competitive," says Lisa Raiola, MPH, founder and president of Hope & Main. "The incubator program is designed for early-stage food startups who have a scalable food product concept and a viable business plan but aren't yet ready to occupy professional facilities of their own. Ultimately, we're looking for ambitious entrepreneurs with a great idea interested in growing a successful food-related company."
Hope & Main will open in Summer 2014 in a 17,500-square-foot space located in Warren, R.I. Now under construction, the group broke ground in July 2013 on plans to transform a 100-year-old schoolhouse into a state-of-the art workspace for food-related entrepreneurs and businesses. The renovation will feature three shared-use commercial kitchens, including a gluten-free kitchen, over 6,000-square-feet of production space, cold and dry storage, a demonstration kitchen and 2,000-square-foot community room, a year-round Town Market and more.
The Hope & Main incubator program aims to give food entrepreneurs and early-stage culinary businesses the chance to grow their first 2 to 3 years without the cost of equipping their own commercial facilities. To help make that happen, the group will provide kitchens, equipment and storage at below-market rental rates, as well as offer a full slate of business support, including facilities for shipping, receiving, labeling and packaging; a business center for e-commerce and backroom operations; cooperative purchasing options; access to education and training; and a host of other services. Members will also have the chance to consult and collaborate with mentors and industry experts, and to work with the Hope & Main team to polish their business models and to cultivate customer connections and distribution opportunities.
Additional information, including applications and instructions for applying to the incubator program, can be found online at www.makefoodyourbusiness.com