We work to make sophisticated financial technical assistance available for every growing food, beverage and value-added agriculture enterprise.
Directed by Tera Johnson, 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.
FFI is a Business & Entrepreneurship program of the University of Wisconsin System Administration.
Through supporting our collaborative network and partners with training, resources, tools and mentorship, FFI fulfills its mission of making sophisticated financial technical assistance available to every growing food, beverage and value-added agriculture enterprise. This is the consulting model that is the foundation of all of the technical assistance we provide to these businesses.
Tera Johnson, Founder and Director
“I started the Food Finance Institute to increase the likelihood of success for growing food, beverage and value-added farm businesses.
This is a sector whose growth is being propelled by consumer passion for local food and consumer demand for more unique and healthy foods. However, the success of the sector has been constrained by a dearth of financial pragmatism. And, the financial complexity of securing traditional and new, alternative capital sources makes it very difficult for entrepreneurs to navigate on their own the process of securing the funding they need while also growing their business.
Our work with companies over the past three years demonstrates that high-quality financial technical assistance can significantly increase a food company’s ability to access capital AND successfully grow.”
Tera Johnson is a serial entrepreneur whose mission is to create the next generation of environmentally and economically regenerative food and farming businesses. The founder of teraswhey® and host of the Edible-Alpha™ podcast, Tera participated in the full arc of creating a successful investor-financed company. Now the founder of the Food Finance Institute and winner of the UW-Extension Chancellor’s 2017 Wisconsin Idea Award, Tera is a frequent speaker, teacher and financial consultant to sustainable food and farming businesses, social venture funds and investors.
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Zacary Smucker-Bryan, FFI Program Manager
As the Program Manager for FFI, Zac helps coordinate, organize and collect data on FFI’s consulting, consultant training and financial management boot camp activities; produces FFI’s podcast and newsletter; manages FFI’s online presence and web development projects; and (sometimes) consults and conducts market research for food and agriculture businesses in conjunction with FFI Director Tera Johnson. If you contact FFI via this website or work with one of our programs, chances are you will hear from him.
Before working at FFI, Zac was most recently the Investor Relations and Communications Manager for WCCN, an international nonprofit impact investing fund headquartered in Madison that invests in microfinance and fair trade organizations in Latin America. Zac has a B.A. of History and a Masters of Public Administration (MPA), both from the University of North Texas, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. View Zac’s LinkedIn.