6 clients chosen for food and beverage business accelerator

The UW-Extension Division for Business & Entrepreneurship is proud to share that our clients are more than half of the 10 food and beverage companies selected in fall 2017 for the nine-month FaBcap business and finance accelerator.

FaBcap is designed to grow the capacity and capitalization of food and beverage companies.  The 10 companies selected, referred to as Cappers, demonstrate the industry innovation and entrepreneurial stamina required to meet growing consumer and industry demands.

Six participants have worked with our division’s Food Finance Institute as well as other collaborating division program units:

  •  ALT Brew of Madison has worked with FFI and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at UW-La Crosse (consultant Terri Urbanek). The brewery, started in 2012 by Trevor and Maureen Easton, is producing a range of great-tasting gluten-free beers.
  • Crescent Meats LLC of Cadott received consulting from FFI’s Tera Johnson, and has worked with the Center for Business Intelligence (CBI) to learn more about how they can grow market share in the exotic meats market. CBI provided research on restaurant trends, provided visualizations on where exotic meats are consumed and helped Crescent Meats optimize for ecommerce. Gaining ownership in 2003, Wayne Lautsbaugh is revitalizing the business offering the quality and service of an old-fashioned meat market with modern technology to provide the highest quality award-winning meat possible from the traditional to exotic meats certified organic from harvest to plate.
  • FillMyRecipe of Madison, started in 2012, has received consulting from FFI’s Johnson and UW-Madison SBDC’s Michelle Somes-Booher. Husband and wife team Partha Sabniviss and Sara Parthasarathy are offering new flavor profiles with their organic Indian flavor to experience culture one meal at a time.
  • Funky Fresh Spring Rolls of Milwaukee, which started in 2014, is a client of SBDC at UW-Milwaukee and has worked with FFI consultant Cheryl Mitchell. Trueman McGee is hand-rolling a variety of gourmet spring rolls made with fresh and local ingredients. Cheryl encouraged Funky Fresh Spring Rolls to enter the national small business competition offered by FedEx. Funky Fresh placed in the Top 10, winning a Bronze Prize worth $7,500 cash and $1,000 in FedEx services, which allowed him to invest in marketing, production and legal representation.
  • Honestly Cranberries of Wisconsin Rapids, started in 2014, is a cranberry grower who worked with independent FFI consultant Jim Gage. Mary Brazeau Brown is using a proprietary drying process to produce dried cranberries without adding sugar — featuring their honest tart flavor for snacking and recipes.
  • Kettle Range Meat Co. of Milwaukee has received consulting from FFI’s Johnson. Since 2015, Mark Bearce has been working with a close network of independent Wisconsin family farms, to provide and process organic meat products that are grass-fed andantibiotic/hormone/GMO-free, along with ready-to-eat meals and sides.

FFI’s Johnson summarized, “This is a great tribute to all of our collective hard work on behalf of these companies. There were 46 applicants for this year’s accelerator, so some of the companies that were not selected are also our clients. In many cases, they were just too early in their development, and we should encourage them to keep working on their businesses and to reapply next year.”

Brad Rostowfske, FaB Wisconsin’s director of industry growth, added, “The 10 companies we’ve selected have the chops. They’ve put incredible work into their businesses already and we feel they have what it takes to go to the next level.”

The FaBcap accelerator will kick off Sept. 21 with a public industry event at Marquette University: Building your Business // Making our Food Futures. Industry professionals, leaders, entrepreneurs, technical and service support professionals are all encouraged to attend. The café-style event will debut the 10 Capper companies and feature a keynote presentation by Dave Fusaro, editor-In-chief, Food Processing Magazine.

The Food Finance Institute, directed by Johnson, leverages and supports a collaborative network of professionals focused on the food, beverage and value-added agriculture sector. Through supporting this collaborative network 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. For more information, go to

FaB Wisconsin is a statewide cluster organization supporting food and beverage industry growth and awareness. With a mission focused on food and beverage manufacturers, the FaB cluster welcomes the full value chain of industry suppliers and service providers from farm to factory to fork, as well as educators, economic development, government and community institutions and organizations. For more information, go to

Meet the Winter 2023 FFI Food Business Fellows and watch for Spring and Summer cohorts!

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.