We partner with a wide range of organizations and individuals to accomplish our mission of making sophisticated, high-quality technical assistance available to food, beverage and value-added farm businesses.
FFI uses a collaborative business model to expand the reach of its consulting work. With the help of the business counseling staff at the statewide Small Business Development Centers and other consultants who have been trained and certified by FFI, our collaborative network provides sophisticated financial technical assistance to food clients throughout the state of Wisconsin and beyond.
This scalable infrastructure enables FFI to provide financial technical assistance to entrepreneurs in conjunction with the following collaborating organizations:
FFI works with trained and certified food business consultants to provide high impact business model optimization and financial technical assistance to the clients they work with. Wisconsin SBDCs helps entrepreneurs access the power of the University with Wisconsin SBDC Network professional business consultants, free of charge. Through SBDCs, entrepreneurs can get knowledge, tools and connections that help them grow their business.
With FFI’s support, DATCP is launching a certified food business consultant program that will train existing technical service providers, both public and private, to provide high impact business model optimization and financial technical assistance to the clients they work with.
The Food and Beverage Association of Wisconsin has a comprehensive set of educational programming and initiatives designed to accelerate the growth the food industry sector in WI. FFI is partnering with FAB to deliver FABCap, a program that is based on FFI’s Food Finance Accelerator. This program targets growing food companies, and helps them bring in the financing and develop the resources and organizational skills they need to transition to growth.
The Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR) is the premier dairy research center. Located within a licensed, operating dairy plant on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, CDR builds on Wisconsin’s tradition as the “Dairy State.” FFI provides capital source cultivation support for CDR.
More than 30 researchers and scientists are involved in conducting basic and applied dairy research that explores the functional, flavor and physical properties of cheese/cheese products and other milk components used as ingredients and as finished products. CDR researchers are here to assist the dairy industry in developing and testing dairy products that will exceed consumer expectations while providing customers with a safe, wholesome product.
FFI received an LFPP grant in late 2016 to provide its training and certification programs to at least 60 technical assistance providers across the country working with food hubs and the farm and food businesses they do business with. This training program has been made possible as part of a larger U.S. Department of Agriculture effort. In addition, under the grant, FFI will provide at least 100 food hub managers with Food Hub Financial Management Boot Camp, four intense, focused days to learn and work individually on their hub’s business model path, financial infrastructure, financial plan and fundraising needs with consultant assistance.
A collaboration between the Williamson Street Cooperative Grocery, Forward Community Investments, and Slow Money WI, this fund provides loans of up to $50,000 to Willy Street vendors who are seeking to expand their businesses. FFI helps applicants prepare their loan submittal packages and provides on-going business counseling to the entrepreneurs for the life of their loans.
The first crowdfunding platform in WI, Craftfund is dedicated to the food and beverage sectors. Companies must be located in WI and be prepared to conduct a legally compliant equity raise. FFI helps applicants package their Craftfund raises and mentors entrepreneurs as they run the gauntlet required to meet this standard.
Every year, Slow Money WI holds its annual Investor Showcase where value added farm and food businesses pitch to socially oriented investors. FFI supports this event by participating in the applicant selection process, coaching presenters on their investor presentations and by providing follow up financial technical assistance to help entrepreneurs and investors after the event.
FFI and the University of Wisconsin Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic are launching a collaborative training program designed to help food companies get ready to raise equity. This program includes one day of training and access to a follow-up consultation with FFI and with the Law Clinic.
Lenders, Investors, Accounting and Legal Firms
FFI’s work with clients always involves raising money from traditional and non-traditional sources of capital, which means we work closely with lenders, investors, accountants and legal service providers. FFI cultivates this ecosystem of professionals to help support food, beverage and value-added agriculture businesses as they grow and raise money.