FamilyFarmed is a non-profit organization committed to expanding the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic, and environmental health of our communities.
Nine businesses participated as Fellows in the first Accelerator cohort in 2014-15, and the results are promising. The participating businesses averaged a 62 percent increase in sales, a 107 percent increase in customers, and — to underscore Good Food’s job-creating potential — a 68 percent increase in full-time equivalent employees.
The Accelerator is based at 1871, Chicago’s engine of business and technology innovation, located in the famous Merchandise Mart.
This program is part of the growing phenomenon of accelerators – reportedly more than 2,000 of them worldwide – that are key to helping businesses launch or scale up. They play a critical role in identifying the entrepreneurs and ideas most likely to succeed, and provide the resources and connections participants need. FamilyFarmed’s Good Food Business Accelerator was unveiled at its 2014 Good Food Festival & Conference and was the first accelerator program to focus solely on sustainable, local farm and food businesses.
As in other accelerator programs, Fellows must apply to participate in the Good Food Business Accelerator and are selected through a competitive process. Those selected undergo an intensive six-month program, which includes a customized curriculum focused on sustainable business development.
All Fellows receive the opportunity to connect with funders before and during the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference in Chicago (next scheduled for March 24, 2016), held on the opening day of FamilyFarmed’s annual three-day Good Food Festival & Conference. Selected Fellows pitch their business plans at the event.
Dozens of mentors and significant funders are actively involved. They include influential leaders from Whole Foods Market, 2X Consumer Products Growth Partners (a Chicago food and natural products venture capital group), Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises/Big Bowl, NRDC, Goodness Greeness (the second-largest US organic distributor), and more. A funder network has been engaged with a focus on banks, angel investors, venture capitalists, family offices, and other socially minded investors dedicated to support local food businesses.
Fellows, mentors, investors and the Good Food community all gain from involvement with the Good Food Business Accelerator.
Please click here to learn more about this program.
If you’re interested in becoming a mentor, please contact us.