Battle Creek Unlimited has received $2.1 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop a food processing incubator known as the Southwest Michigan Accelerator Kitchen.
Announcing details for the project today, Battle Creek Unlimited — a nonprofit organization that operates as the city’s economic development arm — said it would raise local funds to match the grant, totaling $4 million.
The funds will be used to complete renovations at a historic building at 30 W. Van Buren St. in Battle Creek, which is currently home to a facility called The Tiger Room. The St. Philip Parish has owned the 20,000 square foot, five-story building since 1960 and has used it for a variety of purposes.
The EDA says the grant is expected to create more than 100 new jobs while generating $8 million in private investment.
The hub will service two early stage food production companies and will also be home to product testing and workforce training, officials said.
“Battle Creek Unlimited, in partnership with St. Philip Church and the Diocese of Kalamazoo, are pleased to be awarded the EDA funding for the Southwest Michigan Accelerator Kitchen,” Battle Creek Unlimited Vice President Shabaka Gibson said in a statement. “This investment will support many food-related small businesses that are looking for a place to grow. Battle Creek has a rich history of food-related companies and food innovation. The existing talent and assets in this area makes food a strategic growth industry for Battle Creek.”
The project has garnered further investments from the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Kellogg Company 25 Year Employees Fund Inc., Battle Creek Community Foundation, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) and individual donors. The project received $125,000 from MDARD last year, which officials reportedly said helped bolster the chances for federal funding.
Kellogg Co. not only gifted $500,000 to the project but will also provide subject matter expertise and support the accelerator’s participants.
“Kellogg is proud to be a part of this ambitious endeavor and we look forward to sharing our time, talent and resources, which will enhance our ongoing commitment to the community,” Kellogg Chairman and CEO Steve Cahillane said in a statement.
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