The FFI Fellows Program is designed to build investible business models supported by a comprehensive plan that includes a financing strategy you need to grow. This national program serves Food/Beverage, Value-Added Agriculture, and Processing/Supporting Technology businesses.
What is the FFI Fellows Program?
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely and isolating journey… This program pairs entrepreneurs with an industry-expert coach that works with you through all key areas of your business: sales, operations, accounting, finance, food safety, and marketing plus branding. In addition, it leverages peer learning through facilitated bi-monthly (every other week) learning groups. Each cohort cycle lasts 6 to 8 months, kicking off with our foundational Financial Management Boot Camp and ending with your investor pitch.
The FFI Fellows Program is based on the FaBcap Accelerator Program which transitioned to FFI in 2020 and is now the FFI Fellows Program. The 50 Wisconsin-based food and beverage product, ingredient, and technology companies that went through the original Accelerator Program have attracted $864,250 in grant funding, $7,579,781 in debt funding, and $9,935,024 in equity funding, with their annual sales totaling $36,772,563.
All Fellows receive:
- Financial Management Boot Camp
- 1-on-1 Coaching
- Full access to Edible Alpha Learning Center offerings, including:
- Deep Dive (on-demand) courses
- Immersion Trainings (ex: Building a Brand that Stands Out, Raising Equity, Scenario Planning)
- Expert Industry Connections and Introductions
- Bi-monthly Fellows Only Cohort Meetings with Training on:
- Accounting, Sales Management, eCommerce, Branding & Marketing
- Operations Development, Process & Supply Chain Optimization
- Food Safety, Quality & GFSI, Legal/Risk Management
- Financial Planning, Raising Equity, Sources & Uses of Capital
- Investor Pitch Presentations
- Fellows Alumni meetings: Including new Fellows in and outside of WI
- FFI Broader Network access: investors, UW and UW-System IBE
- Exclusive access to FFI Partners Products & Services
– Owner participation in the FFI Fellows Program commitment schedule (see button below)
– Reporting to the Food Finance Institute with your revenue, sales, and employment count for three years
– On-going participation in FFI Fellows Program-related activity as requested and available
– Must have demonstrated success in sales with a growth focus
– Must have an actual website beyond a Facebook page
– Must be operating in the food space, read about our cohort groups here
– Apply to the cohort that feels best to you, if accepted, we will ensure you’re placed into the correct cohort
Applicants will be scored by an esteemed group of industry judges that will rank each business/product based on:
– Product or service scalability and extendibility
– Product and brand differentiation
– General business awareness, focus, and acumen of ownership
– Other cohort consideration
Apply for the Fellows Program
Not sure which cohort you fit into?
Meet the Coaches
Core FFI Fellows Program leadership includes Brad Rostowfske and Andy Larson. Additional subject matter experts provide training and coaching throughout the targeted topic-focused cohort meetings.
Food/Beverage & Processing/Technology business Fellows receive one-on-one general business coaching from Brad Rostowfske, FFI Fellows Program ManagerLearn More About Brad
Value-Added Agriculture business Fellows receive one-on-one financing coaching from Andy Larson, Farm Outreach Specialist of the Food Finance InstituteLearn More About Andy
Thank you to our Vision Sponsors!
The Fellows program is also funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Email us or call 608-263-7794.