Program at a Glance

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Good Food Accelerator (GFA) Getting Good Food Brands Ready for Prime Time

  • 6-month curriculum and Fellowship Program delivered at 1871. Intensive curriculum, delivered by program staff and industry experts, focuses on the key components of a well structured business: Entrepreneurial Financing, Leadership, Operations, Go-to-Market Strategy, Fundraising
  • Emphasis on optimizing emerging CPG brands
  • Free work space and resources at 1871, Chicago’s innovation hub
  • Opportunity to be showcased at the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference and other events.
  • Introductions to public and private sources of capital: angel investors, the SBA, banks, alternate sources of funding and many more!
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Good Food Accelerator Extension (GFAx): Promoting Inclusivity and Reducing Market Entry Obstacles for Good Food Entrepreneurs

  • Food Business Fundamentals Program and Follow-on Coaching delivered at community partner organizations:
    • 8-Week Classroom work provides a foundation for understanding the challenges of growing a successful GPG food business
    • 16-Week Market Access Program provides intensive coaching, mentor introductions and resource referrals
    • Focus on women and minority owned entrepreneurs and businesses located in or benefiting underserved communities
  • Continuing Education and Technical Services:
    • Ad-hoc coaching, workshops, referrals, and networking opportunities
    • Focus on GFA Alumni and expanded network businesses that are further along in their business lifecycle / not in need of a curriculum-based program
  • Opportunity to be showcased at the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference and / or other events
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Become Part of a Good Food Cluster

  • Connect with leading regional trade buyers including Whole Foods Market, UNFI, KeHE, Fortune Fish & Gourmet, Local Foods, and more!
  • Participate in FamilyFarmed’s annual Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference and Financing & Fair, where businesses have raised more than $50 million
  • Participate in Naturally Chicago networking events that connect businesses and individuals, and provide a platform for education, dialogue and knowledge sharing to help the region’s natural products community grow with integrity and higher purpose.
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Mentorship

  • A robust mentor network delivers real-world advice, valuable introductions and targeted referrals
  • Super-Mentors — leaders from top-tier food and finance businesses — provide one-on-one mentoring and help fellows get to the finish line with their deliverables: a sound business plan, market development plan, polished investor pitch, and solid grounding in business best practices
  • Peer-to-peer learning with other Fellows and as part of the 1871 community
  • Ongoing coaching by GFA staff and mentors, and access to continuing education and resources after graduation