logo-105x300It is estimated that one million South Carolinians live in a food desert; that equates to one in five residents having limited access to healthy, affordable food. As studies suggest, a diet void of healthy foods contributes to high obesity rates and the prevalence of other health problems including hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. In South Carolina, obesity-related health care costs our state over $1 billion annually.

Addressing access to healthy food provides benefits beyond health. It creates economic opportunity for regional food and farm systems, community developers and investors, local government, and provides employment opportunities for local residents.

To address the issue, CLF, along with program partners Biz Builder SC, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Clemson Cooperative Extension, Coastal Conservation League, Grow Food Carolina, and Lowcountry Local First, created “Feeding Innovation: A Healthy Food Business Plan Challenge” to improve food access in South Carolina’s underserved communities.

The Challenge
Entrepreneurs interested in developing or expanding a business that provides access to healthy foods in underserved areas across the state are invited to participate in the Challenge. Each participant will develop and then present a business plan to a panel of judges, which will be scored based on pre-established criteria. The process will be supported by individual mentors, who will provide technical assistance to participants as they develop comprehensive plans for launching their proposed business ventures. One selected entrepreneur will receive $25,000 in seed capital, up to $500,000 in business financing (subject to loan approval), and ongoing, one-on-one technical assistance.

The Dates
August 7, 2013 Orientation*
September 2013 NxLevel Training
November 2013 Orientation*
January 2014 Non-competitive Session: Open Feedback
February 2014 Competitive Session: Executive Summary
March 2014 Competitive Session: Business Plan
April 2014 Competitive Session: Oral Presentation
May 2014 Winner Announced
* Participants only need to attend one orientation

Get Involved
Let us know you’re interested! Register today for the August orientation.
For more information, please contact Anna Hamilton, Program Manager, at anna@sccommunityloanfund.org.