Mayor Johnson And Department Of Business Affairs And Consumer Protection Launch The Good Food Fund And The Food Business Incubator Program
The Good Food Fund aims to support small food businesses and food entrepreneurs in communities with inequitable food access; the Food Business Incubator will provide kitchen space and technical assistance to early-stage food entrepreneurs.
CHICAGO — Today, Mayor Brandon Johnson and the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) announced the awardees of the Good Food Fund and The Food Business Incubator Program.
Allies for Community Business (A4CB) has been selected to manage the Good Food Fund, a $5 million fund to support food entrepreneurs in communities with inequitable access to food. A4CB, in partnership with Greenwood Archer Capital, will manage the fund by providing sub-grants and low-interest loans, to businesses across the food ecosystem (production, distribution, processing, retail) in communities with inequitable food access. A4CB will also provide industry specific business coaching and application assistance to entrepreneurs interested in applying for the fund. To ensure an equitable selection process for all, A4CB has developed a community advisory committee comprised of food and business subject-matter experts and community members, who will provide input on the eligibility criteria for fund recipients as well as support with community outreach.
“I am thrilled to announce the launch of the Good Food Fund and Food Business Incubator Program, a groundbreaking initiative aimed at nourishing both our communities and local businesses.” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Through grants to food businesses and a dynamic food incubator program, we are taking a giant step towards fostering economic growth and ensuring access to quality food in neighborhoods that need it most. This initiative embodies our commitment to creating a more equitable and thriving Chicago for all.”
Seven community organizations have been selected for The Food Business Incubator Program. Build, Inc, Chicago’s Sunshine Enterprises, Inc, DishRoulette Kitchen NFP, E.G. Woode, Family Farmed, Food He.ro, and the Greater Chatham Initiative. These organizations will provide small food businesses with kitchen space and technical assistance to start or expand their business. They will use an equity-based approach in their programming and focus on emerging and operating food & beverage businesses in neighborhoods with limited access to food.
The Good Food Fund and Food Incubator Program were designed in collaboration with the Food Equity Council, a private-public partnership dedicated to transforming Chicago’s food system into one that is just and equitable.
“The selected community organizations for the Good Food Fund and Food Business Incubator Programs will positively impact our local food businesses and economy”, said BACP Commissioner Kenneth J. Meyer. “These eight organizations are already champions for small food businesses and have been working hard to help build an equitable food ecosystem in Chicago. I look forward to strengthening our partnerships and the City’s food businesses through the programs.”
“A4CB is excited to partner with the City of Chicago again to provide the capital, coaching, and connections entrepreneurs need to grow great businesses that create jobs and wealth in their communities,” said Brad McConnell, CEO of Allies for Community Business. “As program administrator of the Good Food Fund, through our Hatchery joint venture on the West Side, and through our ongoing work in neighborhoods throughout the city, we will continue to help food and beverage businesses thrive.”
“Our organization is excited to partner with the City and other community organizations on this impactful program as we aim to address the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in historically marginalized and low-income communities, especially those on the South and West sides of Chicago.” said Jackson Flores, Executive Director of DishRoulette Kitchen. “The overarching goal is to foster a more resilient, equitable, and vibrant food ecosystem in these underserved communities.”
“Sunshine Enterprises is thrilled to be one of the seven organizations entrusted with the responsibility of establishing a food incubator program in communities facing unequal food access,” said B.J. Stewart, Executive Director of Chicago’s Sunshine Enterprises. “Sunshine Enterprises' mission has been to serve and uplift underserved communities, particularly those on the South and West sides, which already contend with numerous challenges, including food insecurity. This invaluable funding opportunity enables us to further our mission of empowering aspiring entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses while effecting positive transformation in their communities.”
The Good Food Fund application will open in early spring. Entrepreneurs interested in applying for the Good Food Fund or in participating in the Food Business Incubator Program can access additional information by visiting Chicago.gov/BACPRecoveryPlan.
The Good Food Fund and Food Business Incubator Program are a part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, the City’s plan to create an equity-based investment strategy to catalyze a sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chicago Recovery Plan invests holistically in communities and industries hardest hit by the pandemic to support equitable economic recovery across the city.
To learn more about BACP’s Recovery Plan efforts, please visit Chicago.gov/BACPrecoveryplan.
To learn more about Chicago’s Food Equity Council, please visit: Chicago.gov/ChicagoFoodEquityCouncil.