Food and Beverage Accelerator Program Opens Application Period for Inaugural Cohort

The Virginia Small Business Development Center and Cureate Courses invite companies in the Charlottesville and Shenandoah Valley regions to apply for the inaugural cohort of the Food and Beverage Accelerator.

This free, intensive 6-week program is designed to help the founders and CEOs of growth-oriented food and beverage producers acquire the competencies required to grow and scale existing operations and to consider the next steps in strategic growth opportunities through wholesale, retail, and direct-to-consumer sales channels.

“This is an exciting opportunity for food and beverage businesses in the Charlottesville and Shenandoah Valley region to acquire the information and skills needed to take their company to the next level. Participation in this program will provide valuable tools for successful and sustainable growth,” said Chris Van Orden, Craft Beverage Assistance Program Manager, Virginia Small Business Development Center.

Each week, participants will attend an interactive hour-long webinar where they’ll learn strategies to pivot toward new revenue streams, expand their production, enter new territories, and successfully scale.  Subject areas include:

  • Establishing Your Unique Value Proposition
  • Developing and Positioning Your Brand
  • Identifying Sales and Growth Opportunities

In advance of each session, participants will individually work through in-depth e-modules taught by industry experts and complete assignments that impart useful skills and strategies.  At the culmination of the program, each founder will present a pitch for his/her company’s growth plan and receive actionable feedback from a select group of mentors.  Participants are expected to devote 6 to 8 hours each week to the course, of which 5 to 7 hours will take the form of self-directed work.

Kim Bryden, Founder and CEO of Cureate, looks forward to seeing how selected business owners use the knowledge they acquire: "I'm really excited to see what this cohort accomplishes through the training and mentorship provided. With Cureate Courses, we've put together a well-rounded program to help participants think through business development challenges as they scale. This opportunity can truly serve as a launch pad for ongoing success."

In order to be eligible for the program, companies must be:

  • Located in the Charlottesville or Shenandoah Valley region
  • Planning for specific growth (e.g. territory, product lines, production scale)
  • Producers of food and beverage products in the consumer-packaged goods category

The application period opens 9AM Monday 2/15 and closes 5PM Monday 3/8.  Selected companies will be notified by Friday 3/12 and the program begins the week of 3/29.

Interested companies can apply here: https://forms.gle/ouzb4uu3uKSGoQgz6.  Questions can be directed to cvanord@gmu.edu.

The program is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.