West Chester’s Artisan Exchange “Accelerator” Supports Food Entrepreneurs
Project Manager, AgConnect
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until I find it to be false: There has never been a more exciting time to be in agriculture or a related field. Food “accelerators,” the foodie version of an incubator, have been popping up across the U.S. to support the entrepreneurial-minded chefs, bakers, and culinary artists in their start-up pursuits. Here’s some data on just how far these businesses of come, and the opportunities still on the horizon.
“As tastes shift toward specialty, local and organic foods, more so-called ‘food startups’ are entering the market. According to PitchBook, a private financial database, close to $570 million in venture capital has been invested over the past five years in companies that produce food for consumption, or prepared foods, with the number of deals involving startup food makers growing to 36 in 2014 from 13 in 2011.”
Locally, the Artisan Exchange in West Chester is helping aspiring food entrepreneurs get their jump start in the market. Artisans rent space, have access to a commercial kitchen, can test market their products each Saturday at the on-site market, and participate in the distribution network to help market their products through the regional collaborative.
AgConnect works to connect farmers and agriculture business owners to the training, financing, and business resources they need to grow their business, and promoting agriculture as a viable career option.