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Good Food Accelerator (GFA)

Opportunity for USA Food Businesses in Eligible Midwestern States
to Participate in a Business Training and Acceleration Program

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Deadline Date:

10/01/19 11:59 PM


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Opportunity for USA food businesses in eligible Midwestern states to participate in a business training and acceleration program to help them expand their food businesses. This program provides selected fellows with curriculum, coaching, access to capital, and networking opportunities aimed at improving their commercial enterprise, expanding the local sustainable food industry, and enhancing the local economy.

Requests will be accepted from eligible applicants who are located in the states of Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota,  Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Indiana; or who serve the Chicago Food Shed (any state that borders Illinois).

The Good Food Accelerator (GFA) is an intensive accelerator program providing core and custom curriculums to Fellows to help them develop their business plan, build their business sales, and become investment-ready and poised for growth.

The GFA gets emerging Good Food CPG (consumer packaged goods) brands ready for prime time, giving them the skills to scale up. This fellowship program for food entrepreneurs is based at 1871, Chicago’s center of innovation. Fellows are paired with industry-leading mentors and are connected to potential customers and investors. This is the nation’s first accelerator focused on building supply chains for sustainable local food.

GFA helps food entrepreneurs expand the production, marketing and distribution of locally and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic and environmental health of local communities. 

The program provides Fellows with mentorship, strategic support, ongoing resources, and connections to sources of financing so they can thrive commercially, grow profitable Good Food businesses, and have a powerful ripple effect on the local economy.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 160751

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Curriculum: 6-month curriculum includes approximately 6-8 hours of business training per week through hands-on workshops, seminars, and guest speakers, in addition to a minimum 1 hour of pre/post-curriculum preparation/follow-up.
- Mentorship: 2-3 hours each week of one-on-one mentoring with the applicant's Super Mentor and the GFA team.
- 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, etc.).

Term of Contract:

The 6th GFA Cohort will take place from January to June 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Food businesses with a model that includes a CPG product can apply, and may include food artisans, farmers, and foodservice providers whose core business values are focused on local, sustainable, humane and fair practices.

Acceptance into the program is dependent on meeting the following criteria:

1. Values: The core values of the applicant’s business must align with FamilyFarmed’s definition of Good Food: Delicious, healthy, and accessible food produced as close to home as possible, by producers who use sustainable, humane, and fair practices.
2. Geographic Area: Program participants must be located in the Midwest Region of the U.S. (IL, IA, KS, MO, ND, SD, NE, WI, MI, OH, IN, MN) or serve the Chicago Food Shed (any state that borders IL).
3. Documentation: During the application and selection process, applicants may be asked to submit financial and business information and/or documents. (During the course of the program, participants may be asked to provide detailed business information. Upon graduating the program, participants understand that they will be required to provide yearly metrics that will be collected via email survey, and reported in aggregate form only to program funders.)
4. Commitment: Applicant acknowledges making a commitment to invest the time, focus, and hard work to meet the requirements of this intensive, rigorous program.
5. Accurate disclosure: Applicant certifies that all information provided to FamilyFarmed is accurate. Applicant acknowledges he/she is willing to disclose sensitive personal and business financial information.
6. Good Faith: Applicant acknowledges that FamilyFarmed and the Good Food Accelerator team provide assistance in good faith and that the success of applicant’s business will ultimately depend on the applicant.

Applications are considered from both pre-revenue and post-revenue companies. Pre-revenue companies must have a team in place that has prior food business experience. Revenue-generating companies must demonstrate through their application that they are ready to and intend to scale up. All companies must have a developed product.

Pre-Application Information:

The application period for the next GFA Fellowship Cohort (January-June 2020) is now open, with a deadline of 11:59 p.m. on October 1, 2019.

The application is hosted on F6S and you will need a Facebook or LinkedIn account to use the F6S site.

Fellows will be required to pay an annual fee to FamilyFarmed based on the increase in revenue of their businesses. Without sales growth, Fellows will not pay any fee. For more information on fees, see the link to the GFA Revenue Model listed below.

There are onsite requirements that require participation in one day a week of programming at 1871, plus possible additional events during the course of the six-month GFBA program. The program is not for everyone as it is intensive and requires face-to-face mentorship and business training. Interested applicants who are not certain about applying are invited to send an email to schedule a time to meet with program staff.

For further information about the Good Food Accelerator:

Program at a Glance:

GFA Revenue Model:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To apply online:

For questions, and to schedule a meeting, please email Chelsea Callahan Huson at

225 W. Hubbard Street - Suite 650
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 874-7360

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Missouri;   Nebraska;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   South Dakota;   Wisconsin