MADISON — The Food Finance Institute (FFI) excitedly enters year two of their Fellows program and year seven of providing programming designed to accelerate food-focused business growth.
This program serves 45 businesses, a minimum of 30 of whom will be from Wisconsin, in two food brand cohorts that run consecutively over two 6-month periods and one Technology, Agriculture and Processing (TAP) cohort that runs from April through September.
The TAP cohort began in April and features ten businesses from Wisconsin and five from across the nation.
- Lift Bridge Brewing Co. – New Richmond, WI. Brewery and taproom crafting quality beer, seltzers, and sodas.
- Tamara’s Cake Guru – Oshkosh, WI. E-commerce enabling technology platform focused on local bakeries.
- The Drying Room – Redgranite, WI. Traditional South African dry-aged beef and snack products.
- Foodi Menus – Portland, OR. Menu management tool that helps events, venues and restaurants effectively market themselves, increase customer engagement, and drive more revenue.
- Cattail Organics – Athens, WI. USDA Certified Organic Family Farm that sells vegetables, maple syrup and seedlings.
- Dairyland Management – Oshkosh, WI. Family-owned company with over 40 years of experience growing and selling Wisconsin ginseng products.
- Cook Like a Boss – Detroit, MI. Culinary company that encourages confidence in the kitchen through sustainably-sourced spice blends, traditional Detroit / southern inspired soul food cooking classes, cookware and kitchenware.
- Woodinville Red Barns – Woodinville, WA. Regenerative straw grass packaging company doing business as Happy Planet Packaging.
- Chaotic Good Tempeh – Richmond, VA. Company producing and selling Tempeh (fermented protein) nuggets, patties, crumbles and slabs/steaks.
- Urban Agrarian – Oklahoma City, OK. Grocery offering local produce as well as milk, eggs, grass-fed beef, pastured pork and poultry, artisanal pasta, farmstead cheese and more.
- Bachhuber Consulting, LLC – Madison, WI. Specialist support for starting and expanding cricket farms and black fly composting systems, from pre-planning to post-sales service.
- Grace Acres Farm – DeForest, WI. Producer of unique wholesome foods, including A2 dairy and meat products.
- Press Waffles – Milwaukee, WI. Authentic Belgian Liège waffles producer, selling at a retail café and grocery freezers.
- MOR Foods, LLC – Milwaukee, WI. Local artisan, gluten-free bakery that operates within a dedicated gluten-free, commercial kitchen.
- Together Farms – Mondovi, WI. Organic farm producing, retailing and distributing grass-fed beef, pastured heritage pork, grass-fed lamb and agritourism.
FFI will start accepting applications for the next Food Brand Fellows cohort in May 2023. Food and Beverage businesses can get on the interest list to be notified when the application period is open.
These programs lead up to an annual event that showcases innovative food and farm businesses pitches, networking, and facilitated discussions on the food and farm investment landscape locally and across the nation. The 2023 event will be held on Sept. 19 and 20 in Milwaukee, WI.
The Fellows Program, funded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), combines a modified version of FFI’s foundational financial management boot camp with one-on-one coaching calls and peer group meetings. The program is supported by FFI industry experts like TAG Finance and Accounting Outsourcing, Consolidated Construction Company, Eurofins (Food Safety), Supply One (Packaging), Ogden, Glazer, + Schaefer (Law), Catapult Commercialization Services, Summit Credit Union, Farm Credit and Compeer Financial.
FFI’s Fellows Accelerator program has worked with over 100 companies since 2015. As of 2022, 50 reporting companies, three years after programming, have attracted $1.1 million in grant funding, $11 million in debt funding and $17.5 million in equity funding. In addition, over those three years they have generated over $100 million in business/sales.
Read more about the overall Fellows program at https://foodfinanceinstitute.org/grow-your-food-business/ffi-fellows-program/
About Food Finance Institute
The Food Finance Institute (FFI) leverages and supports a collaborative network of professionals focused on building and funding profitable businesses in the food, beverage and value-added agriculture sector. Through training, coaching, resources, tools and mentorship, FFI fulfills its mission of making sophisticated financial technical assistance available to growing enterprises. In addition, FFI is the home of the Edible-Alpha® brand. Edible-Alpha® is a digital resource hub that includes the Edible-Alpha® podcast and our insights newsletter. FFI is part of the University of Wisconsin System’s Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship. www.foodfinanceinstitute.org