After weeks of hard work, Connecticut entrepreneurs trying to turn their passions into businesses will show off their talents at the Food Business Accelerator Showcase in New Haven on Wednesday.
The annual event is hosted each year by Cityseed and Collab New Haven. It’s the culmination of the organization’s Food Business Accelerator program, which helps entrepreneurs turn their startup ideas into reality.
For 12 weeks, people wishing to start their own food business receive support and training so that they know what it takes to become a full-fledged small business.
“The resources offered by this program are commercial kitchen spaces. All graduates will receive a 10-hour voucher for free kitchen space in one of CitySeed’s commercial kitchens, one of which is at the Dixwell Community House. By having this site for businesses to prepare their food, it helps offset start-up costs,” said Cara Santino, Director of Food Entrepreneurship at CitySeed.
The organizations also offer one-on-one coaching with established Connecticut entrepreneurs, food safety training, and help applying for a business license.
“The great thing about food is that it’s a universal language. Honestly, anyone can participate, but when it comes to a food business, compared to the freedom and access that only food and cooking provides, there are actually barriers to ‘entrance high enough,’ said Ndubisi Okeke, business manager at Collab New Haven.
The Food Business Accelerator Showcase begins at 3 p.m. at the Q-House Market at 197 Dixwell Ave., and is free to the public. It coincides with the Q-House Farmers Market, which takes place every Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. until October 26.
The following companies present their products:
- Cupcakes I love you
- Chef Sil’s Vegan Cuisine
- mom kiss kitchen
- eat lemonade
- KdCrop Farms
- Cafe Alegria
- Oh Shito!
Entrepreneurs serve everything from Colombian/Cuban fusion to alcohol-infused cupcakes.
The organizers say that every year it’s amazing to see the progress made by each entrepreneur. Okeke said that the man behind Oh Shito! was the inspiration to start the business after talking to his father on a plane to Ghana. He said that for many, it’s about building a legacy.
“You just have to think about legacy and think about what it’s like to build something that can be passed down. I’m especially thinking about communities of color right now, the idea of building something that can be passed on, something good, something that generates wealth or something the next generation can hang their hats on,” Okeke said.
CitySeed and Collab New Haven are accepting applications for the upcoming Food Business Accelerator which kicks off in January. The deadline to apply is November 20 and there is an information session on November 3. Click here to learn more about the program and how to apply.