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Food business incubator set to launch in Silicon Valley

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Consultant Joe Schumaker FCSI is raising funds to open one of the area’s first-ever foodservice innovation hubs

For many budding foodservice entrepreneurs, the challenge is not in having great ideas, but in having the valuable business counsel that can turn their dream into reality. Enter foodspace+co, a food business incubator based in Silicon Valley, US, designed to provide business coaching in every aspect of foodservice.

The fresh take on the “traditional” tech business incubator is the brainchild of Joseph Schumaker FCSI, co-founder and veteran foodservice consultant who has worked with some of the most well known companies in the Valley to elevate their foodservice programs.

“We are excited to become the innovation hub for foodservice on the west coast,” says Schumaker. “The primary mission of foodspace+co is to provide the support, guidance, and skills necessary to launch a successful foodservice venture. The incubator model has produced some of the most innovative ideas in the tech industry and we’re applying the same formula to nourish the next generation of foodservice entrepreneurs.”

Besides business counsel and support, foodspace+co will also offer existing businesses food truck parking, time in its on-site commissary kitchens and office space rental. Incubatees in foodspace+co will include startups in all aspects of the food industry, including traditional food businesses, consumer packaged goods (CPG), caterers, food trucks, food and agricultural tech companies, and more.

A six-month long incubator program will include business plan development, branding and marketing, bookkeeping and financial planning, legal support, consulting services and mentorship. After six months, successful participants will “graduate” and continue to remain partners and benefit from ongoing support.

“All incubatees become part of our +community and continue to receive support and guidance from foodspace+co partners,” explains Schumaker. “We will teach and facilitate pitch sessions with potential investors to help our incubator program participants secure additional funds. Eventually our goal is to build an accelerator fund so we can make add-on investments for our “incubatees” after they have graduated from the program. They will always be alumni and part of the +community.”

In addition, foodspace+co is working with various manufacturers to build innovative kitchens with top of the line equipment that participants, chefs and the local community can use to test out different pieces of equipment side-by-side. Members will also have access to the collective buying power of the foodservice+co incubator, enabling them to have a large enough purchasing account to receive crucial deals for foodservice supplies from area distributors.

“We are aligned with food distributors as well as local producers to give these startups access that they might not otherwise have,” says Schumaker. “Harnessing the power of multiple small business to increase access to tertiary services like food buying, healthcare benefits for employees, and other costly services that businesses incur.”

Borrowing another page from the tech industry playbook, foodspace+co will also host monthly “chef-a-thon” innovation sessions similar to hack-a-thons in the tech industry. During these events, entrepreneurs and chefs will be given a variety of ingredients to inspire innovation and uncover trends in menu development.

Sustainability is important to the foodspace+co community and Schumaker says they will work to make sure the physical space is dedicated to water reclamation and recycling, saving on energy and reducing food waste overall with a net zero approach. “We will build out our commissary kitchen according to the highest green building standards,” Schumaker says. “I think it’s important that foodspace+co is innovative in all facets of the industry, and sustainability is included.”

About foodspace+co:
foodspace+co is a food business incubator in Silicon Valley designed to provide business coaching in every aspect of foodservice, including traditional food businesses, consumer product goods (CPG), caterers, food trucks, food and agricultural tech companies, and more. For more information, please visit www.foodspaceco.com

Pictured: Joseph Schumaker FCSI