Food, Ag Network Boosts Grants through Rapid Fire Pitch Program

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The Detroit Food and Ag Network — a business-to-business support network for food processors, distributors, and agri-businesses — plans to increase the number of grants available through the Rapid Fire Pitch Micro Grant program, which supports food-focused entrepreneurs in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

“There’s a lot of excitement in the city of Detroit, and there’s a lot of excitement around food itself,” says Kenyetta Bridges, facilitator for the network. “We’ve always had a strong food infrastructure in food processing and food distribution, but now we’re seeing this real emergence of specialty food processors. Any way that we can support that type of work and those types of initiatives, that’s what we’re here for.”

Last year, the program awarded about $30,000, or up to $4,000 each, to 14 area food businesses including Jenn’s Gluten-Free Gems in Grosse Pointe, McClure’s Pickles in Detroit, Ethel’s Edibles in St. Clair Shores, and Holy Canollis in Rochester. This year, the organization plans to offer a total of $50,000, Bridges says.

The micro grant program, which is accepting applications on a rolling basis through Dec. 31, or whenever the available funds are depleted, is designed to help businesses to improve their processes, develop branded packaging and labels, or better position themselves for a contract.

“Keep in mind, the grants are competitive in nature,” Bridges says. “We’re really looking for companies where we see there’s a growth trajectory, that they have had some sales and just need this little bit of funding to help get their business to the next stage.”

DFAN — which was established in 2011 by the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. and Eastern Market Corp. — will host an informational meeting about the Rapid Fire Pitch program and their other services on Aug. 14 at Rising Star Academy in Centerline. For more information, click here.

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