|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
|Regional Innovation Strategies||1||$498,540|
Located within a short drive to New York City, Paterson, New Jersey, is a place of broad ethnic diversity. From this dynamic mix of cultures has emerged a strong market for restaurants and food businesses with cuisines from around the globe. These small businesses not only meet a market demand from this diverse population, they open significant opportunities for the unemployed, underemployed, non-native English-speaking, immigrant, ethnically diverse and low-income residents of the City and region.
In 2015, EDA awarded $60,134 in Local Technical Assistance to the Paterson Restoration Corporation to develop a food incubator feasibility study. The study explores the possibility of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -inspected commercial kitchen and food processing facility being located in Paterson, out of which food businesses in the region will be able to design, develop and commercialize their specialty products. The proposed food incubator would provide business, entrepreneurial, food preparation training, and other opportunities for unemployed and low income residents in the city of Paterson.
The study is being conducted by the Rutgers Food Innovation Center (FIC), a food business incubation and economic development accelerator program of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University. In the early 2000s, the FIC received assistance from EDA to develop its own programs and to construct the FIC. The FIC services food industry and agribusiness entrepreneurs throughout the state and region, and provides extensive programs in training and workforce development; customized business and technical mentoring services; and access to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)- and FDA-inspected facility for entrepreneurs to develop value-added food products for sale to retail and foodservice markets. The FIC has served over 1,500 clients since its formation in 2001 and has been named “Incubator of the Year” by the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) and an “Agricultural Innovation Center Demonstration Program” by the USDA.