Early-stage food entrepreneurs: apply now for Cultivate Small Business program.

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Calling all early-stage entrepreneurs running woman-, immigrant- or minority-owned food businesses: Are you hungry for knowledge, funding and individual coaching to help you build and grow your business?

Florida SBDC at FIU Business has partnered with Santander Bank, N.A. to provide resources, capital, and mentorship to early-stage entrepreneurs in the food-industry in the Miami-Dade area. The program, called Cultivate Small Business, is fully funded by Santander and completely free to entrepreneurs who are accepted into a cohort. The initiative is launching with a cohort in Miami Dade with support from Florida SBDC at FIU, Babson College, CommonWealth Kitchen and ICIC.

The virtual 12-week course starts in September, but applications are being accepted through June 15.  The course will provide entrepreneurs with the tools they need to catalyze growth and focuses on a food-specific curriculum taught by Babson College MBA professors.

“Santander’s Cultivate Small Business provides entrepreneurs in the food industry with the support they need to grow their businesses,” said Seth Goodall, executive director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Santander Bank. “Talented participants have found success in generating new revenue streams, hiring their first employee, and creating a business plan to raise capital. We created Cultivate Small Business to supply entrepreneurs with the resources to attain success, and we’re thrilled to engage and support the dynamic small business community within Greater Miami.” 

Entrepreneurs who are accepted will graduate from the program with a fully formulated business plan and pitch in hand, a strong grasp on their target market, cash-flow, financials, growth goals, a financial coach and mentor relationships, and $2,500 in capital grants.

“The pandemic has shown us that businesses with a strong financial foundation and strategy can survive and thrive. This is especially true for early-stage food entrepreneurs, who benefit greatly from education, networking and mentorship in these key areas,” said Brian Van Hook, regional director, Florida SBDC at FIU. “For this reason, Florida SBDC at FIU is proud to partner with Santander, Babson College, CommonWealth Kitchen, and ICIC to bring this excellent program to Miami-Dade County.  Cultivate Small Business provides more resources at a pivotal time for our dynamic food entrepreneurs.”

Here the lowdown:

Dates of program: Sept. 8 to Nov. 22, 2022

What the program provides:

  • live virtual classes taught by Babson College MBA professors
  • curriculum built for food, beverages, and food related services business owners, both virtual and with an established location
  • approximately 40 hours of classroom sessions
  • connections to mentors in the food industry and a Santander business coach
  • a network of fellow food entrepreneurs
  • capital grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000

Cost: Free

Who should apply: Women-, immigrant-, or minority-owned small businesses in the food industry that have been in operation for at least one year as of April 1, 2022; have revenue between $25,000 and $1 million in the last calendar year; and are located in Miami-Dade or Monroe counties.

Where to apply: Reach out to sbdc@fiu.edu or apply directly here. Applications are due June 15, 2022, however, businesses are encouraged to apply early since interviews are limited and will be scheduled on a rolling basis. Questions? Reach out to SBDC at FIU program manager Jesus Padilla at jpadilla@fiu.edu.