One of the Largest U.S. Food Incubators Opens this December on Chicago’s West Side
The food and beverage industry is ripe for creativity and innovation and some of the best ideas and businesses are happening right here in Chicago due to the collective support given to burgeoning entrepreneurs through area incubators. Joining that inspiration and mentoring bench this winter is The Hatchery, a non-profit food and beverage incubator whose new facility opening this December in East Garfield Park will serve as a one-stop-shop for food and beverage entrepreneurs.
“The Hatchery Chicago is committed to creating jobs through entrepreneurship. We aim to reduce barriers for small businesses by providing entrepreneurs with the resources, financial support, and operational needs required to launch and grow successful food businesses.”
-Natalie Shmulik, CEO of The Hatchery
A welcome addition to the West Side, the Hatchery will provide a haven to Chicago’s dynamic and growing food scene, offering an expansive 67,000 square foot building with 56 private production-ready kitchens, a large shared kitchen, storage, business planning services, and a dynamic co-working space for meetings and events. “The Hatchery Chicago is committed to creating jobs through entrepreneurship. We aim to reduce barriers for small businesses by providing entrepreneurs with the resources, financial support, and operational needs required to launch and grow successful food businesses,” explains Natalie Shmulik, CEO of The Hatchery.
The Hatchery will be one of the largest food incubation spaces in the U.S., housing cutting-edge kitchen facilities, a robust entrepreneurship curriculum, and partnerships with corporate sponsors and foundations, that support Chicago’s food and beverage entrepreneurs, cultivate local job opportunities, and accelerate our economic growth. For all of these reasons and more The Hatchery is set to make an impact on Chicagoans. “These businesses will create sustainable and fulfilling jobs for the Chicago community. We are inspired and fueled by the passion and dedication these entrepreneurs have and hope to materialize these dreams into realities,” added Ms. Shmulik.
Incubators are part of a thriving innovation and start-up scene throughout Chicago including tech incubators 1871, Bunker Labs, 2112, Catalyze Chicago, manufacturing’s Mhub, healthcare’s MATTER, and now flourishing food and beverage incubators, including Cleveland Ave and Kraft’s in-house start-up boot camp, Springboard. “Chicago’s entrepreneurs build and grow successful businesses, and these incubators are providing homes and mentorship to some of the best and brightest ideas in the country,” according to Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of World Business Chicago.
“Chicago’s entrepreneurs build and grow successful businesses, and these incubators are providing homes and mentorship to some of the best and brightest ideas in the country.”
-Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of World Business Chicago
If you are interested in joining The Hatchery’s vibrant and innovative community of entrepreneurs and industry experts in this new, one-of-a-kind space, they are currently offering tours and discounted rates in advance of the December opening. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more and schedule your tour. Or If you are an entrepreneur or business owner and would like to learn more about The Hatchery, check out some of their upcoming events!
Food Incubators Grow in Several Neighborhoods:
- The Plant (Back of the Yards)- Whiner Beer Company is a tenant of The Plant, a 93,500-square foot collaborative food business space in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Whiner employs barrel-aged breweing, a popular French and Belgian technique, and disposes of its spend grain through The Plant’s anaerobic digester, which helps to power the facility.
- One Eleven Food Hall (Pullman) – A food hall and restaurant incubator located at 720 East 111th It will feature four restaurants, three of which will be permanent with one rotating pop-up. Slated to open in early 2019, One Eleven intends to help launch the businesses into stand-alone locations, and will reduce barriers to market entry by providing a space and business coaching.
- Family Farmed – Based in Chicago, Family Farmed operates the Good Food Accelerator which launched in Fall 2014. It provides a six-month curriculum, mentorship, networking, and additional resources following completion. 35 businesses have finished the program, and half of these have been women- or minority-led. Family Farmed also facilitates farmer training and a series of conferences and expos.
Venture Capital Serve Up Funds:
- Tyson New Ventures – Launched $150 million corporate venture fund, Chicago-based, in December 2016. The investments are focused around sustainability and “The Internet of Food”. The first investment was Beyond Meat. Tyson Ventures has invested in Chicago firm Tovala.
- Evolv Ventures – A division of Kraft Heinz, the $100 million fund was launched in October 2018. The fund will be based in Chicago, and hired a partner from Lightbank to oversee the endeavor. Evolv will invest in food technology, operations, supply chain/logistics, and analytics. Evolv intends to execute 10-12 deals ranging $4-$5 million over the next three years.
- S2G Ventures – Based in Chicago, launched a $125 million fund in 2015 and an additional $180 million fund in December 2017. As of December 2017, 40 percent of capital was invested and 70 percent was committed. CEO was founder of OpenTable, and S2G has a broad focus, from agriculture technology to restaurants,
- Cleveland Avenue – Launched in 2015, contains seed ventures/early stage equity, a 30,000-square foot research facility in downtown Chicago, and acceleration services for food, beverage, and restaurant businesses.