Cureate, a woman-owned small business with a focus on empowering food and beverage entrepreneurs and building local supply chains, has partnered with FORGE, Inc. to grant ten food and beverage entrepreneurs in Northwest Arkansas the opportunity to participate in Cureate Courses. The cohort will complete a 10-week course/curriculum/program that begins in October 2021 and focuses on growing and scaling small businesses with group work and one-on-one coaching. Applications opened Aug. 30 and can be submitted online through Friday, Sep. 24.
Started in 2014 by Kim Bryden, Cureate exists to build a new, interconnected and diverse supply system by shifting dollars back into local small business through local procurement, entrepreneurship education and reimagining the retail experience. Their focus is on the food & beverage industry. You can visit them online at cureate.co.
Established in 2014, Cureate Courses is designed for food entrepreneurs looking to diversify their revenue streams and grow into new sales channels. The program takes the guesswork out of starting and running a successful business and gives entrepreneurs a solid foundation to grow, scale and best serve their customers in a highly-competitive food industry. Selected entrepreneurs could be farmers looking to develop value-added products, direct-to-consumer bakers and makers looking to wholesale, caterers and food truck owners who want to open a brick-and-mortar business, and more.
Along with the free 10-week course, the 10 businesses selected for the fall cohort will receive two leadership coaching sessions, free registration on Cureate Connect’s procurement platform to connect with larger buyer opportunities, the opportunity to stay engaged with one another through the Cureate Collective Slack channel and more. At the end of the fall cohort, all 10 businesses will participate in a pitch competition with a $5,000 cash prize. Cureate Courses will offer a spring 2022 cohort, and all businesses from the fall and spring cohorts will have the opportunity to participate in a vendor fair where local buyers are invited to taste, sip and sample goods produced by the graduates in the hopes of landing more sales.
Past cohort entrepreneurs have found great success through the program. On average, graduating entrepreneurs have seen a 20% increase in projected annual revenue and have found an ecosystem of support since enrolling in Cureate Courses. Additionally, a diverse cohort is at the heart of the program. In 2020, 9 of 16 participating businesses identified as a woman-owned business and 12 of 16 businesses identified as minority-owned.
The mission of FORGE is to promote community development and economic sustainability by linking investors with borrowers, urban and rural communities, consumers with producers, and low income groups with basic affordable credit.