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Published in Small Business

Battle Creek Unlimited awarded $522K for food startup programs

BY Wednesday, October 05, 2022 04:04pm

BATTLE CREEK — The federal Economic Development Administration has awarded economic development organization Battle Creek Unlimited more than $522,000 in grants to bolster a pair of food startup programs.

The city of Battle Creek’s economic development arm received $375,000 for its Future Food Accelerator program and $147,750 for its Food and Beverage Accelerator Network. The grants require a total local match of $576,571.

The EDA’s annual “Build to Scale” grants total $47 million and are meant to support organizations that back technology entrepreneurs with startup capital. Battle Creek Unlimited is among 50 grant recipients from across the U.S. supporting advanced manufacturing, bioscience, clean energy and blue economy clusters.

“Strengthening technology ecosystems are a critical key to the Biden Administration’s efforts to build a stronger America,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “Innovation and entrepreneurship have long been keys to American success and will continue to strengthen our collective economic and national security, as well as individual prosperity and well-being.”

This year’s Build to Scale program included two competitions. The Venture Challenge supports programs enabling high-growth tech startups, while the Capital Challenge increases access to capital in communities through early-stage investment funds, networks and training programs.

Battle Creek Unlimited received $375,000 under the Venture Challenge for the Future Food Accelerator, which links R&D facilities, university innovation programs and various experts for high-growth food and beverage companies in or relocating to south central Michigan. The accelerator is a collaboration between BCU, Michigan State University, Kellogg Community College, Kellogg Co., W.K. Kellogg Foundation, JPG Resources and other local partners.

The accelerator will support early-stage product development and provide companies with a single entry point for food and beverage to access qualified reviews. It also will serve as a proof-of-concept resource and provide various connections to relevant industry experts.

BCU received $147,750 for the Food and Beverage Accelerator under the Capital Challenge. The funding will help boost BCU’s capacity to vet, validate and make seed and angel investments in “compelling Western Michigan innovation-based, early stage, high-growth food manufacturing companies,” according to the Economic Development Administration.

A Battle Creek Unlimited official could not immediately be reached for comment.

The most recent grant round follows $2.1 million that BCU received in 2020 to develop the Southwest Michigan Accelerator Kitchen.

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