Food’n’Bev CT Accelerator

Company: Food'NBev Connect, Inc.

Location: Danbury

Describe your program

Food'NBev Connect is an accelerator program for food and beverage brands that have launched their offerings and are seeking to scale. Brands selected to the program focus on better-for-you, more nutritous, cleaner ingredients and are more sustainable. Brands work with our network of over 60 functional advisers and experts over time to solve growth problems and improve their decision making and performance. We typically work with 20 - 25 brands in the portfolio at a time and help them scale.

What are the coolest, most popular features of your program?

Don't know if its "cool", but the to us the best attribute of the program is the community of like-minded brands, individuals & sponsors that are all focused on helping each other and developing the regional economy. Successful CEOs meet with our brands to share their stories, sponsors host webinars on key topics & provide expertise, & mid-career managers work pro-bono to help our brands succeed and avoid obstacles. This community did not exist before Food'NBev & is the hallmark of our program

What impact did your program make in 2020?

The pandemic negatively impacted our industry and many brands were forced to close. We were able to help all our brands operate and produce a collective growth rate of over 8% during these tough times and raise over $ 4 million as a portfolio. All of our brands survived and collectively, added 16 new jobs. We held 16 virtual webinars during the year and maintained all of our financial support from our sponsors.

Nominator Justification

Gary started and built the Food'n'Bev CT Accelerator into a cohort of more than 25 food-related growth businesses. Gary has a long history of helping and advising startups in Connecticut, first as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence with CT Next, and now with his non-profit accelerator. Gary advises and mentors the startups, runs events to showcase his cohorts, and more. The Food'n'Bev CT accelerator has attracted sponsors including Upfield, Diageo, Bank of America, Altium, and more.

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