15 firms chosen to take part within the first Catapult Culinary Program | Meals | Pittsburgh
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Catapult Greater Pittsburgh (formerly Circles Greater Pittsburgh) launched its first Catapult Culinary program, a 12-month incubator for “minority food entrepreneurs”. Last week it was announced that a total of 15 companies had been selected to participate in the first round.
Welcoming owners of restaurants, catering, food trucks, and more, this program is designed to help the selected candidates grow and learn their current business or start their first business.
“This culinary addition to Catapult is a prime example of how creative partnerships can empower entrepreneurs by providing not just funding, but a whole range of tools, including the resources, training and technical support required to be more successful “URA’s deputy managing director, Diamonte Walker, said in a press release.
The entrepreneurs selected for this year of foundation are:
- Jewel Edward – Jewel of the Baker
- Keyla Cook – Casa Brasil
- Glenn Ford – Season with a reason
- Shauntel Green – Dirty Birds Chicken
- Darryl Robinson – Catering
- Nckeon Saunders – City Smoke BBQ
- Eric White – PGH_Dumplingz
- Reginald Hudson and Ohnedaruth Swain – Baked Cafe
- Cheyenne Bronzell – Phat Girlz A Cookin
- Terina Hicks – CobblerWorld
- Lisa Freeman – Freeman Family Farm
- Ariana Rueben – Nice to Be Iced Cookies
- Regina Brown – The Fine Feather Inc.
- Gracia Younger – GG Pops
- Nicole Porterfield – Cake Nikki P
Of the 15 people selected, all are owned by colored people, 10 are owned by women, and two are owned by veterans.
Catapult Greater Pittsburgh Executive Director Tammy Thompson says Catapult Culinary has been in development for two years, adding that it came into being after the organization was “inundated with applications from food companies” for its entrepreneurial Catapult: Startup to Storefront program.
“I quickly realized that we had to develop something special for this industry and have a strong focus on the local black food economy, and now we have Catapult: Culinary,” says Thompson. “I am very proud of our team and the great partners who will help us implement a program that I believe will be life-changing for many entrepreneurs.”
The program offers participants a variety of support and assistance, including one-on-one consultation with business consultants, monthly training seminars, and future access to commercial kitchens with Fulton Commons, as well as access to the Food 21 Food and Beverage Network, and food packaging service with Community Kitchen.
Catapult Culinary has also partnered with the regional supermarket chain Giant Eagle, which will provide entrepreneurs with “expertise and mentoring in the food industry with in-store product placement and pop-up demonstration spaces”.
Lachelle Binion, Director of Entrepreneurship at Catapult Greater Pittsburgh, believes the program will help advance the nonprofit’s mission to raise equity in the region.
“Black entrepreneurs face unique challenges and systemic barriers to small business success,” says Binion. “Our goal with the Catapult Greater Pittsburgh – Catapult Culinary program is to continue to create innovative programs, opportunities and experiences that help overcome these barriers and ensure that systematically disenfranchised communities achieve economic justice in entrepreneurship and beyond reachable.”