Since 2013, the Incubator Kitchen Collective (IKC) has been living its mission to help people start their small business dreams.
Launched by Rachel DesRochers, owner of vegan graham cracker powerhouse Grateful Grahams, the goal was to create a "nonprofit commercial kitchen space that supports food entrepreneurs," DesRochers says in an email to CityBeat.
More than 160 "foodpreneurs," as IKC calls them, have grown their business through access to the facility's licensed kitchen, education programs and support system. IKC also works to help its tenants with access to investors, mentors, branding and more. Currently, DesRochers says IKC supports more than 40 food startups.
And if taking your food business to the next level is something you're interested in, IKC — with a sponsorship from Kroger — is now looking for applicants for their Food Entrepreneur Artisan Grant.
This is the second year for the program, which first took place in December 2020. Kroger and IKC gave five local food companies free access to the kitchen for all of 2021: Pata Roja Taqueria, Foz Bakery, F&Goode Desserts, C&G Catering and The Ferrari Bros (the brother duo behind Mom ‘n ‘em Coffee & Wine in Camp Washington and Fausto at the CAC Restaurant in downtown Cincinnati).
Now in its second year, the $43,700 Food Entrepreneur Artisan Grant provides mid-level member access to the IKC kitchen, which equates to 40 hours of kitchen time a month, plus all of the other aforementioned perks — access to peers, mentors, investors, et al.
"This grant allows them to have a different working capital to support and stabilize their business," DesRochers says.
Applications are now open at incubatorkitchencollective.org. They close at midnight on Nov. 23. The winners will be announced on Dec. 5 during an event at Rhinegeist. There will be five winners again this year.
So far, DesRochers says more than 30 businesses have applied.
One of last year's winners, Stefanie Hocket of F&Goode Desserts, says the grant helped her really advance her business.
"Working in the Incubator with the benefit of the Kroger grant has allowed me to take my cottage business into a full-time bakery again. I’ve been able to grow to over 6 wholesale accounts, find support in our kitchen community and also be of support to others," she says in the release.
For more info, visit incubatorkitchencollective.org.
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