As FaB (Food and Beverage) Wisconsin prepares to graduate its first accelerator class on Sept. 27, the organization has again gained the support of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to offer a second class in 2017.
“Our FaBcap accelerator was designed to build the capacity and capitalization of 10 scaling food or beverage manufacturers,” said Brad Rostowfske, director of industry growth for FaB Wisconsin, the state industry cluster organization. “We’ve already seen increased interest in the companies participating. Their products are on trend and the program has them better prepared for continued growth and investment.”
FaBcap’s first class of 10 companies, referred to as Cappers, are on track to achieve an estimated 42 percent increase in funds raised, a 290 percent increase in annual revenue, a 500 percent increase in payroll, and to open three new locations. Participating companies include: City Lights Brewing, East Shore Specialty Foods, Clock Shadow Creamery, Gorilly Goods, MobCraft Beer, Nikki’s Cookies, Noble View Cheese, Quigistics, Top Note Tonic and Valentine Coffee.
“FaB has demonstrated its ability to organize, select and execute a premier accelerator for Wisconsin’s food and beverage manufacturers,” said Mark Hogan, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “We were pleased to seed the first class, and after having seen the early results of that effort, there was no question we would continue our support for a program that will help strengthen this key sector.”
The second class—called FaBcap_two—will feature more interaction between Cappers and its program sponsors, who offer industry expertise. The number of program sponsors will also expand next year to include more food and beverage companies.
“There’s a reason why Coke, Cargill, General Mills, MillerCoors, and Chobani have all started their own accelerators. Interacting with entrepreneurs redefining the industry is like getting a front-row seat to innovation,” said Shelley Jurewicz, executive director of FaB Wisconsin. “FaBcap can offer Wisconsin’s food and beverage companies their front-row seat with direct access and interaction to our Cappers as they prepare to grow.”
The one-year program designed specifically for the industry is offered by FaB Wisconsin in collaboration with the Food Finance Institute at the University of Wisconsin Extension, and in partnership with WEDC and JP Morgan Chase. For the second class, FaB has been awarded $125,000 from WEDC and $25,000 from JP Morgan Chase.
FaBcap companies must be based in Wisconsin and generate revenue in food, beverage, ingredients, equipment manufacturing or technologies. The program provides a personal business and financial coach, access to FaB member mentors, and monthly meetings—all culminating in a $10,000 FaBcap cash award and a capstone event on Sept. 27.
FaB will announce a call for FaBcap_two program applicants in November, and will make the selection in January. FaBcap_two will officially kick off in February. Interested applicants and investors should visit www.fabwisconsin.com.
About FaB Wisconsin
FaB Wisconsin is the state’s cluster organization supporting food and beverage industry growth and awareness. With a mission focused on food and beverage manufacturers, FaB welcomes the full value chain of industry suppliers and technical and service providers, as well as educators, economic development, government and community institutions and organizations. FaB has attracted more than 170 food and beverage member companies, supporting suppliers and service providers and nearly 900 industry leaders and professionals. For more information about FaB Wisconsin, visit www.fabwisconsin.com. FaB was launched with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and Milwaukee 7 in 2012.
About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive economy. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Visit www.inwisconsin.com or follow WEDC on Twitter @_InWisconsin to learn more.