Feeding Innovation is a comprehensive technical assistance program designed to support entrepreneurs interested in developing or expanding healthy food businesses in food deserts or underserved areas of the state. The goal of the program is to increase access to healthy food while supporting the development of strong, local entrepreneurs and community-based businesses.
How it Works
Feeding Innovation participants engage in an eight week entrepreneurial training program featuring NxLevel Courses facilitated by Clemson Extension. The courses cover everything needed to develop a basic healthy food business plans from marketing to financial planning to negotiations and deal-making. With help from the course instructor and industry experts, participants refine their ideas and develop their business plans over the eight week period before presenting them to a panel of judges during a final pitch event. The entrepreneur with the strongest business plan is awarded $12,500 in seed capital.
SC Community Loan Fund, in partnership with Clemson Agricultural Extension, has hosted nine Feeding Innovation rounds since the program was established in 2014. These programs have brought in a total of 85 participants, resulting in the completion of 63 healthy food business plans. A total of $112,500 in seed capital funding has been awarded through the program to help increase access to healthy food across the state.
Past winners include: Fresh Future Farm (North Charleston), Mill Village Mobile Market (Greenville), Truluck Farms (Florence), Banana Box Market (Packlett), Ferse’s Fresh Market (Orangeburg), Elijah Craig, LLC Save-a-Lot (Florence), The Bulb (York), and Southside Market and Produce Stand (Anderson).
Any entrepreneur or team of entrepreneurs interested in developing or expanding a healthy food business in South Carolina can apply to participate in Feeding Innovation. Examples of healthy food businesses include farmers’ markets, mobile markets, corner stores, and CSAs. Visit our Events Page to learn about upcoming Feeding Innovation program rounds happening in your region!
We want to work with you! Together, we can ensure South Carolina business owners and entrepreneurs have the resources and information needed to increase access to healthy food in your region. We are in need of Community Partners to help to organize and promote Feeding Innovation program rounds around the state and Program Partners to provide financial support for the Feeding Innovation program as a whole. Download our Partnership Packet to learn more about partnership opportunities and benefits.
Ready to sign up? Fill out a partnership form here!