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.

This program serves 45 businesses, a minimum of 30 of whom will be from Wisconsin, in two food brand cohorts that run consecutively for two 6-month periods and one Technology, Agriculture and Processing cohort that runs from April through September.

The first food brand cohort began in January and features nine businesses from Wisconsin and seven from across the nation.

  • The Chefs Table-Mischief GourmetMilwaukee, WI. Event venue providing experience-based, personalized, private events and dining.
  • Patty Pan CooperativeShoreline, WA. Worker-owned cooperative selling products (like tamales) online, at retailers, at farmers markets, as pantry items and more.
  • Essential ResearchGermantown, WI. Wisconsin IP Research and Commercialization firm offering “Chocolate Rescue for Dogs,” the first at-home remedy for canine chocolate ingestion.
  • TUYYOSanta Barbara, CA. Minority-owned business producing traditional Hispanic powdered drink mixes made with natural ingredients.
  • Hikers Brew CoffeeEau Claire, WI. Sustainably-focused company creating coffee with compostable packaging, designed for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Meat & CompleteValentine, NE. Woman-owned company making healthy meat-based protein bars.
  • MunchroomsSan Francisco, CA.  Snack food company providing a sustainable alternative to traditional jerky made from mushrooms.
  • Cajou CreameryBaltimore, ME. Creamery offering plant-based ice cream made from hand-crafted plant milks.
  • Nowhere BakeryCosta Mesa, CA. Bakery creating plant-based cookies, cakes and mixes which are free from gluten, soy and refined sugar-free.
  • Landmark CreameryPaoili, WI. Creamery offering artisan fresh cheeses, butter and fondue made using milk from locally raised sheep and grass-fed cows.
  • Lush PopcornMilwaukee, WI. Gourmet popcorn shop offering unique flavors including liquor-infused flavors.
  • Saffi Foods Madison, WI. Realter creating quality-sourced and sustainably packaged natural oils and vinegars.
  • Quince and AppleMadison, WI. Artisan food retailer offering preserves, pickles, syrups and nuts designed to pair with cheese and charcuterie.
  • KOSA Ayurvedic SpaMadison, WI.  Spa providing ayurvedic foods and wellness treatments using natural herbs and spices.
  • Leashless LabsMilwaukee, WI. Dog treat company creating treats with upcycled beer grains from craft breweries.

Food-focused Technology, Agriculture and Processing companies can apply for the Fellows program until March 8th. Food and Beverage businesses can get on the interest list for the summer Food Brand cohort.

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. 27th.

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

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.