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Raising Equity Online Course (August 2019)

Sign Up For Our Raising Equity Online Course (August 2019) Why Should I Attend This Course? Unprecedented change in the food industry is rapidly raising the bar for all food businesses. Aspiring national brands need to raise significant amounts of money, including equity investment, to successfully launch their products. This course equips you with everything [...] Continue Reading
Leveraging Plant Based Foods For Rural Prosperity

Leveraging Plant Based Foods For Rural Prosperity

The Great Falls Development Authority is a public-private partnership with about 80% of funding coming from the private sector. Great Falls is seeking to leverage its reputation as the “Golden Triangle” to grow its larger scale producers (as opposed to smaller scale, cottage food industry producers) for larger domestic markets. While there are difficult challenges in living in rural America, entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial spirit has been key to people providing employment for themselves. One of the key challenges that remain is getting rural people connected to larger markets outside their area and understanding the consumers in that area. In addition, there is a huge need for people not familiar with agriculture or who are not from rural areas to learn about current agriculture production to inform how they could best create businesses and systems that reflect their goals.

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Consider That Unconventional Market

Consider That Unconventional Market

The best food entrepreneurs know which markets they should be in and optimize for. If they have a niche product, they should only be in markets and channels where their product will get traction and will be supported by the store and the store’s customers. But, in the absence of all the data entrepreneurs need to fully understand their customer (including sales data), it may not be clear where is the best market for their products. While most shoppers still get the bulk of their food from brick and mortar grocery stores, we encourage food entrepreneurs to think outside the box in terms of how they reach customers, including unconventional markets if their location or customer data suggests it is a good idea.

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The Chesterhill Produce Auction – A Catalyst For Produce Producers

The Chesterhill Produce Auction – A Catalyst For Produce Producers

The auction focuses on getting smaller landowners in the area to the scale to where they can sell and get attention for their products, with the auction now serving as a catalyst for sales and attention in the area. Last year the auction grossed over $300,000, with the auction taking a 16% commission for all vegetables sold. Current sales levels cover non-labor operating costs but the plan is to grow sales to the point where the commission can cover an operations person full-time and reach breakeven without relying on grants.

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Your Food Business Needs Multiple Strategies

Your Food Business Needs Multiple Strategies

In starting and supporting a growing food business, strategy should inform every action the entrepreneur takes. Business strategy, at a high level, is informed by the smaller strategies of the different elements of the business model. And, the strategy governs the actions taken by food entrepreneurs to meet their business goals. This doesn’t mean that food entrepreneurs need long or rigid strategic plans. But, entrepreneurs need to define and put constraints on their actions so that they focus on what is important in growing their business at that time.

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At Evolve Brands, Strategy is Everything

At Evolve Brands, Strategy is Everything

As a growing company, strategy is everything at Evolve Brands. Since the snack category is crowded, they have focused their efforts on sales and marketing to build and continually support a strong distribution footprint of around 2,500 independent, natural and co-op grocery stores. From that position of strength and with valuable data to support their strategy, they can evaluate opportunities in more traditional retail channels. In physical stores, Evolve Brands strategically chose to pursue a single-serving product strategy to open up both placement possibilities in store as well as distribution in non-traditional channels where snacks are prominent, like convenience stores.

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Why Financial Technical Assistance Is Key To Food Entrepreneurs’ Success

Why Financial Technical Assistance Is Key To Food Entrepreneurs’ Success

Access to high quality financial technical assistance is the biggest gap in accelerating the growth and success of more good food and beverage companies. Companies can transform, grow and thrive when they have access to this kind of assistance and when the founders surround themselves with the right people, including technical assistance providers. Smart people who start food businesses often hit the ground running but haven’t necessarily had the time or experience to fully understand their financial situation or come up with a concrete game plan for fundraising and financial management. Meaningful financial technical assistance can transform food businesses for the better, allowing them to grow and thrive.

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How The Fair Food Fund’s Patient Capital Yields Great Impact

How The Fair Food Fund’s Patient Capital Yields Great Impact

Seeded with a 2012 challenge grant of $3.75 million, the Fair Food Fund, the impact investing arm of Fair Food Network, has attracted a total of $6.4+ million in grants and program related investments from more than 20 funders. Since then, the Fund has provided more than $3.6 million in financing and business assistance to over 80 enterprises across 9 states in the Northeastern U.S. Such investments have in turn created over 150 jobs, supported over 1,000 family farms, and stimulated $25 million in local purchasing. Serving up financing and business assistance in combination with networks allows the Fair Food Fund to meet the needs of a wide variety of good food entrepreneurs.

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Food Entrepreneurs: Investor Due Diligence is Good For You

Food Entrepreneurs: Investor Due Diligence is Good For You

Because food businesses tend to grow in a stairstep function rather than incrementally, most food businesses need to raise outside funding to be viable and profitable. It can be a daunting and grueling process to raise capital while also trying to develop new products, acquire new customers and hire employees; thus, we have found even the best entrepreneurs need help to do it right. Investor due diligence can help entrepreneurs to mature their businesses into viable enterprises because the due diligence process forces them to get clear and articulate about how they make money and their goals.

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