Findlay Market Launches Cincinnati’s First-Ever Food Incubator Program

Findlay Market Launches Cincinnati’s First-Ever Food Incubator Program

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See what this local food market is cooking up to help entrepreneurs launch their food businesses to the next level.

Photo courtesy of Erin Glass, graphic designer at the Corporation for Findlay Market.

Cincinnati’s own Findlay Market is known around the state of Ohio for being one of the oldest operating covered food markets. Each week, the market serves as a hub for vendors to sell their  fresh, local food. 

For a little over a year, the Findlay Launch Advisory Team has been developing a concept to fill the gap their entrepreneurs face during the transition from a pop-up shop into an individually-owned storefrontFindlay Market’s director of communications and human resources, Kelly Lanser, has played a key role in the execution of this feat. “For some food businesses, they start out right away in the kitchen, others tend to stick with the part-time vending. We want to fill the gap entrepreneurs face during the transition period between the two models in hopes to find what works best for their business. Our goal is to learn quickly and sell fast.”

For a little over a year, Findlay Market has been developing the plan. From working on the concept, seeking out mentors, and renovating the spaces, the team has had their hands in every aspect of this development. “Our team has designed three built-out storefronts on Elm, as well as a fourth food hall. The application process is designed to be ongoing. We never want all three shops on Elm Street to ever have their lights off; we always want at least one storefront to be operating at all times,” says Lanser.

So what exactly will this process look like for the business owners? Once the clients who applied are chosen and selected, they will embark on quite the journey. Findlay will schedule for 9 months in the storefront and another 2-3+ months to work on post-graduate support. 

“The process starts with filling out the application. Once selected, the business will gain a mentor who will teach and lead them throughout different aspects of what it takes to run a business. They will also be led in different learning modules, such as branding, HR, accounting, costing, etc. from local professionals. At the three month mark, the businesses will go into the space and have full support from the Findlay Launch Team. The mentorship meetings will continue as well. At 9 months in the process, we will provide them post-grad support. We will aide them to face topics such as scouting out business plans, tweaking their plans, transactional setting, etc. We want our people to be supported before, while and during their transition,” says Lanser.

In order to get the word out and recruit for this opportunity, they have utilized every outlet. “We have physical signage on storefronts, word of mouth from our vendors at market, and social media to reach the most diverse crowd we can. We are looking to support minority immigration specifically women, by giving them room to build equity and gain knowledge to launch a businessWe believe everyone deserves to have opportunity for success at Findlay market and we cannot contain our excitement and passion for this project.”

For more information or to apply, visit here.

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