Cureate, Forge to select 10 food and beverage entrepreneurs for 10-week program

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 294 views 

Business consultant Cureate and Forge Inc., a revolving community loan fund in Arkansas, are accepting applications for a 10-week business development program for food and beverage entrepreneurs in Northwest Arkansas.

The free program will be offered this fall to 10 food and beverage entrepreneurs. The cohort will participate in Cureate Courses that are designed for food entrepreneurs looking to diversify their revenue streams and grow into new sales channels, according to a news release. The program begins in October and focuses on growing and scaling small businesses with group work and one-on-one coaching. Link here to apply. The application deadline is Sept. 24.

Program participants also will receive two leadership coaching sessions, free registration on Cureate Connect’s procurement platform to connect with larger buyers and the opportunity to keep in touch on the Cureate Collective Slack channel. At the end of the program, the 10 businesses will participate in a pitch competition with a $5,000 cash prize. A spring 2022 program also will be offered, and those in the fall and spring programs can participate in a vendor fair in which area buyers will sample their goods.

Entrepreneurs who have completed the program have reported a 20% increase in projected annual revenue and access to support systems, the release shows. In 2020, nine of 16 program participants were women-owned businesses and 12 of 16 were minority-owned.

Cureate CEO Kim Bryden is a recipient of the Northwest Arkansas Council’s Life Works Here initiative, attracting remote workers to the region. Bryden, who recently relocated to Northwest Arkansas from Washington, D.C., has consulted over 250 small businesses on growth strategy, building out diversified revenue streams and identifying new market opportunities, according to council initiative, Startup NWA.

“The Northwest region of Arkansas is flush with retail and agriculture resources, but not yet fully equipped to connect big and small businesses, which is where we come in,” Bryden said. “We specialize in curating these connections and empowering local food and beverage suppliers so that large institutional purchasers can localize their supply chains and redirect revenue back to local businesses.”

Bryden founded Cureate in Washington, D.C., in 2014.

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