July 18, 2024

After weeks of hard work, Connecticut entrepreneurs trying to turn their passions into businesses will show off their talents at the Food Business Accelerator Showcase in New Haven on Wednesday.
The annual event is hosted by Cityseed and Collab New Haven each year. It’s the culmination of the organizations’ Food Business Accelerator program, which helps entrepreneurs turn their startup ideas into a reality.
For 12 weeks, people hoping to start their own food business receive support and training so they know what it takes to become a full-fledged small business.
“The resources that this program offers is commercial kitchen space. All graduates will receive a 10-hour voucher for free kitchen space at one of CitySeed’s commercial kitchens, one of which is at the Dixwell Community House. By having that site for ventures to prepare their food that helps offset startup costs,” said Cara Santino, food entrepreneurship director at CitySeed.
The organizations also offer one-on-one coaching with established entrepreneurs in Connecticut, food safety training and help applying for a business license.
“The great thing about food is that it’s a universal language. Honestly, anyone can participate, but when it comes to a food business, relative to the freedom and the access that just food and cooking is, there actually are pretty high barriers to entry,” said Ndubisi Okeke, venture manager at Collab New Haven.
The Food Business Accelerator Showcase starts at 3 p.m. at the Q-House market at 197 Dixwell Ave., and is free to the public. It coincides with the Q-House farmers market, which is every Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. until Oct. 26.
The following ventures are showing off their products:
The entrepreneurs serve up everything from Colombian/Cuban fusion to alcohol-infused cupcakes.

The organizers say each year it’s amazing to see the progress each entrepreneur makes. Okeke said the man behind Oh Shito! was inspiration to start the business after talking to his father on a plane to Ghana. He said for many, it’s about legacy building.
“Just thinking about legacy and thinking about what it is to build something that can be passed on. I think especially for communities of color just now, the idea of building something that can be passed on, something good, something that generates wealth, or something that the next generation can hang their hats on,” Okeke said.
CitySeed and Collab New Haven are accepting applications for the next Food Business Accelerator starting up in January. The deadline to apply is Nov. 20 and there is an information session on Nov. 3. Click here to learn more about the program and how to apply.


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