I am Jackie Miller, the new Chobani Food Incubator Director, and I am thrilled to be part of this program! Prior to joining the team, I spent a lot of time with founders of early stage growth companies at Venture for America, helping aspiring entrepreneurs access training, mentorship and capital to launch and grow successful companies in emerging startup ecosystems like Detroit and Philadelphia.
While the path from ideation to execution to scale is always tough, food entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges: high overhead for equipment and inventory means there’s never enough working capital, and on top of that, there’s an opaque network of co-packers, brokers, distributors and retailers to navigate. We aim to help the six incredible companies in the inaugural class of the Incubator meet those challenges head on in order to achieve significant growth.
Over the next few months, we will be spending time together in Chobani’s offices in NYC and upstate learning from seasoned experts within Chobani on everything from branding to sales and marketing to new product development. They will also have the unique opportunity to visit Chobani’s world class facility in Twin Falls, ID to explore manufacturing and production at scale. We’ll round out the program at Expo West in March, and I can’t wait to see the progress the teams make in the meantime.
We are all about illuminating the path for food entrepreneurs so they can take on the big guys, repair broken food systems, and bring better food to more people. My vision for this program is to add value to the wider community in a variety of ways:
Build a community of peers for mentorship and networking
It has been exciting to see companies at different stages help each other out at the Chobani Food Incubator: tips for working with certain retailers, navigating e-commerce, promo ideas. Let’s build a collaborative community of food revolutionaries, as well as foster partnerships throughout the supply chain and wider ecosystem.
Create a hub of resources for sharing our knowledge
Over the course of this first class, we want to produce a library of open source educational content that provides growing companies with basic templates and info, as well as emboldens potential food entrepreneurs to take those first steps toward food bringing a good food idea to reality.
Engage in dialogue on future of food
Now more than ever, consumers want to know the story behind the food they eat: how it was grown or raised and what impact its production and distribution had on the environment. We know so many companies out there are creating delicious, nutritious, natural, accessible food, and we want to share and learn from their stories.
I’m looking forward to experimenting and iterating on high impact programming and content and finding unique ways to add value. Stay tuned for updates from me and the Chobani team, stories and profiles from the companies in the inaugural class and other dispatches from the front lines of the #FutureOfFood.
We want to hear from you: what are resources food entrepreneurs are looking for? Are you interested in applying to the next class? Do you want to mentor food entrepreneurs or network with other food entrepreneurs? Please reach out to email@example.com with comments, suggestions and questions.
Chobani Food Incubator Director