Hope & Main Food Business Incubator Announces Inaugural Cohort

WARREN, R.I. Hope & Main, a forward-thinking, non-profit food business incubator designed to support the local food system and to strengthen the region’s economy, today introduced its inaugural group of members, a cohort of more than 30 culinary entrepreneurs who will be growing early-stage food startups and other food-related businesses from the organization’s headquarters in Warren, Rhode Island. The companies will begin full production at Hope & Main’s newly-renovated facility in September 2014.

The many resources offered by Hope & Main’s incubator program, coupled with the fact that the organization does not receive equity in its members’ companies, prompted a flood of applications from entrepreneurs seeking to jump-start food ventures. Members hail from across Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and include specialty food product makers, catering companies, food trucks, farmers, personal chefs and nutritionists.

Hope & Main will hold a Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting event on October 3 to celebrate the opening of the newly-renovated facility, largely financed through a USDA Rural Development Community Facilities Loan, and to introduce the public to the inaugural cohort of member companies.

As the state’s first food business incubator, Hope & Main’s nonprofit incubator program gives food startups the chance to grow in their first two to three years without the cost of equipping their own commercial facilities. Members benefit from extensive mentoring, access to fully-equipped and affordable work space, and immersion in an entrepreneurial environment where they can collaborate with industry experts and peers. Hope & Main’s aim is to create a community of support for food entrepreneurs and to serve as a springboard for the launch and growth of new culinary enterprises.

“Hope & Main is great example the new ‘sharing economy’ where small producers can access an extensive platform of resources that not only reduce expense and exposure to risk but also increase the chance for success,” says Lisa Raiola, founder and president of Hope & Main. “It has given these fledgling entrepreneurs the opportunity to think big even as they start small. It is their promise and enthusiasm that has brought us to this milestone.”

The inaugural cohort of entrepreneurs and their food-related startups are:

Acacia Food Truck & Kitchen
Member: Dawn Brooks-Rapp
T: @AcaciaFoodTruck

Agraria Edibles
Member: Barbara Link
F: /AgrariaFarm

Allie’s Genuine Goodness
Member: Elizabeth Alvarez

Anavila Bakehouse
Member: Margie Aitkenhead

The Backyard Food Company
Members: Matthew McClelland and Loubnen Sukkar
T: @BackyardFoodCo

Bella Piccolina
Member: Daniela Mansella
T: @dmansella
F: /daniela.mansella

Biggest Little Popcorn Company
Member: Roselette W. DeWitt
T: @biggestlilpopc
F: /biggestlittlepopcorncompany

The CupCake Contessas
Members: Marylee Dixon and Karianne Polak
T: @TheCupcakeConte
F: /TheCupCAKEContessas

Member: Helena Sheusi
F: /doughtreats

Essentially Coconut
Member: Sophia Gartland
F: /essentiallycoconut
T: @essentiallycoco

Fox Point Pickling Company
Member: Ziggy Goldfarb
T: @FoxPointPickles
F: /FoxPointPicklingCo

Great Gaines Foods
Member: Judy Venter-Gaines
T: @greatgainesfood
F: /GreatGainesFoods

Griffith Gardens
Member: Bryan Sirois
F: /GriffithGardens

Halsey & Bowen Peanut Sauce
Member: Morgan Hollenbeck

Members: Charles and Kaari Groscup
F: /HollisterTamales

Laughing Gull Chocolates
Lindsay Tarnoff
T: @laughinggullri
F: /LaughingGullRI

Lori’s Primo Granola
Member: Lori Vartanian

Matt’s Magic Brownies
Member: Matt D’Alessio
T: @MattsMagicBrwne
F: /MattsMagicBrownies

Mima’s Gluten-Free & Nut-Free
Members: Lois Mahoney and Betsy Shealy
T: @mimasgf
F: /mimasgf

My Lil’ Chefs
Members: Jack Achenbach and Casey Paige
T: @MyLilChefs

New England Syrup & Tonic
Members: Candace and Chris Clavin

New Urban Farmers
Members: Bleu Grijalva and Emily Jodka

Nutritionally Sound
Member: Meg O’Rourke RD-LDN

Ocean State Smoked Fish Company
Member: Jeffrey Powell
F: /OceanStateSmokedFishCompany

Pies by Moira
Member: Moira Walker
F: /piesbymoira1

Spicy Penguin
Member: David Peligian
T: @SpicyPenguinPVD
F: /thespicypenguin

Tito’s Cantina
Member: Richard Reavis
F: /titoscantina

Uncle Truscott’s Classic American Confections
Member: Peter Kelly

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