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September 19, 2023

Budding food entrepreneurs sought for business accelerator 


Dream of turning your passion for cookies and cupcakes into a business? Do you love cooking and want to start catering for large events?

Culinary entrepreneurs who want to launch or build their businesses can get advice and help from the upcoming Food Business Accelerator 2024.

Applications are now being accepted for the program, an accelerator from New Haven-based organizations CitySeed and Collab.

It is geared toward early stage food entrepreneurs throughout Connecticut, who have either recently launched a food business, or are currently working toward launching one. Examples might include catering companies, food trucks, or businesses behind food product lines.

Dawn Leaks Ragsdale, Collab New Haven executive director, said the Food Business Accelerator increases the chances of success for early-stage food entrepreneurs.

“The goal is to remove barriers to food entrepreneurship across the state of Connecticut through training, network-building, and access to resources,” she said. “Our goal is to create economic opportunity for all, increase leadership by people of color and immigrant food entrepreneurs, and strengthen our local food system by linking rising food entrepreneurs to farmers.”

Entrepreneurs participate in a 12-week workshop series and learn more about leadership, entrepreneurship, procurement, food safety training and certification, and legal and regulatory requirements. Individual coaching, mentorship, networking and seed funding are also available.

The program also offers access to commercial kitchen space, and the chance to sell at CitySeed farmers markets for product testing. Participants will get the chance to pitch their ventures to investors and the community.

The program will run from Jan. 10 through March 27. Women and minority entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply.

Past participants include Tortillería Semilla New Haven, which has launched a business selling handmade tortillas. Oh Shito!, a Ghanian hot sauce company, has grown and its products now appear in Stop & Shop supermarkets and other grocers.

The deadline to apply is Nov. 12.

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