Monday, September 22, 2014

1871 to get a food incubator this fall

1871 to get a food incubator this fall

 - Jim Slama
Jim Slama
1871 is getting an accelerator for food-oriented startups., a Chicago-based nonprofit that promotes farm-to-table efforts, is launching an accelerator that will start this fall.
It's backed by Searle Funds and Whole Foods Market, organic-food distributor United Natural Foods Inc. and a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The Good Food Business Accelerator is a six-month program. It will accept its first class of eight companies that will pitch at a financing and innovation conference in March alongside's Good Food trade show.
“It could be anything: (consumer packaged goods), restaurant, distributor or farmer — anything in food that's innovation,” said Jim Slama, president of was started in 1994 as a way to help farmers and other entrepreneurs interested in local, sustainable foods. It has held a financing conference for the past five years.
“Most of the companies weren't quite ready for financing, and I was thinking about how to do an accelerator,” Mr. Slama said. “The tech sector had figured that out.”
When he heard 1871 CEO Howard Tullman talk about wanting to do more programs aimed at specific industries, such as food, by partnering with local companies, Mr. Slama contacted him.
“We had the first Good Food Trade Show at Kendall College when Howard was running it,” Mr. Slama said.
The food accelerator is one of several launched by Mr. Tullman at 1871 in fields such as real estate or focusing on startups launched by women and veterans.
Follow John on Twitter at @JohnPletz.

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