What is a market incubator?
Market incubators are organizations geared toward accelerating the growth and success of startups and early-stage companies. They help bakers, crafters, culinary artists and other entrepreneurs in the food industry “hatch” new ideas and shape budding food-related ventures by providing an array of business resources like physical space, coaching and mentoring, training, education and networking. Market Incubators vary in their strategies – some function in physical spaces, others operate on a virtual basis. Many incubators provide capital funding or help link incubatees to potential outside financial sources. No matter the approach, the goal is the same – to shape and nurture fledgling startups into successful business ventures.
What kinds of businesses is the Fresh Food Factory Market looking for?
FFF incubates early-stage local food companies and food-related businesses who want to bring their products to the market, our incubator program looks for the entrepreneur who has a strong food product concept and is ready to kick start or expand an early-stage food business. In short, we’re looking for people with a great product and an appetite for entrepreneurship interested in growing a successful food-related company.
How are members chosen?
Members are vetted and accepted through an application process that focuses not only on the food product or service idea, but also on the viability of the applicant’s working business plan.
Interested startups are asked to submit an application, including a $10 non-refundable fee, describing their product(s) as well as early-stage thinking their customer at our marketplace. Once the application package is received, the FFF Market will review the materials and contact you to schedule an interview. Applicants are evaluated on the uniqueness and strength of their product, including knowledge of their costs, their market and potential customer base, as well as readiness to launch a business.
Each of our members is essentially managing his or her own company within the Fresh Food Factory Market. For that reason, each member must have ServSafe certification, a food processing or wholesale license and liability insurance. While these requirements are not necessary for the initial application, they must be obtained before beginning use of the FFF Market.
How do I apply?
The Fresh Food Factory Market Incubator accepts applications on a rolling, year-round basis. Once an application is submitted along with the fee, our staff will begin working with the applicant to explore technical requirements of the product. In some cases, an applicant may need to wait until a vacancy is available.
Visit our Membership page to apply!
How long do companies tend to stay at the Fresh Food Factory Market?
Length of membership varies on the ultimate goals of the business. A typical member may take up to three years to scale up to the point of investment in a stand-alone operation. We work with each of our members to develop a viable “exit strategy” so that by the end of their membership at FFF Market, each of our members is well-positioned to transition their food business to their own independent location.
Do you welcome non-members to sell at the Market?
Yes. As a licensed food retailer, we work with local distributors and wholesalers to stock the store to fill in any inventory gaps. The Market market member and non-members have to have an active license, insurance, and food safety certificate to sells at the Market. That means we can support one-time events or occasional hobbyists as well. Have more questions? Reach out!
Please sign-up to be on our list serve to receive information on upcoming information and training sessions. Our Sessions and training are open to potential applicants or other community members interested in learning more about the program and checking our Market. Members from the FFF Market's team will be there to chat food product startup ideas and answer questions that you may have.
All Info Sessions take place at the Fresh Food Factory, 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE 20020. Please register:
Can’t make a session? Don’t sweat it. Reach out to us to learn more about the program.