The Small Business Accelerator Group is a great way to advance opportunities for your business through unique services, networking and learning opportunities.

Starting or growing a small food business can be very challenging. Consolidations of distributors, regulatory requirements, implementing food safety protocols, gaining access to new markets and other areas of focus are unique to the food industry and present various roadblocks.

Want the opportunity to network and gain perspectives of fellow business people? Would it be valuable to have feedback on pricing, packaging, taste, and market appeal by customers who have never experienced your product through a structured focus group? Is it difficult to understand regulatory requirements and approaches to traceability that will help protect your business in the event of a recall?

CIFT’s new Small Business Accelerator Group is a great method to advance opportunities for your business through unique services, networking and learning opportunities. Let CIFT assist in making connections, expanding knowledge about your industry, and discover opportunities to advance your product.

Here are some of the benefits CIFT’s Small Business Accelerator Group has to offer:

  • Invaluable networking with other similar food businesses and service providers to learn from each other and gain valuable new connections
  • Discounts to select training and programming events
  • Inclusion in a focus group as applicable and defined by CIFT
  • Discount on calculated Nutritional Labeling services
  • Industry updates and notifications as keeping up with changes can be difficult
  • Access to market research data on a global scale
  • Supplier and Resource Connections through a database of contacts
  • Bi-annual discussion groups or lunch-and-learn programs
  • Priority notification of unique opportunities
  • Marketing opportunities by connecting with local avenues

Additional Benefits Include:

  • Templates of Operational Forms for production documentation; per regulatory requirements
  • Food recall plan template
  • Assistance related to process authority services
  • Free attendance (1 person) to CIFT food safety annual training
  • Promotional activities thru CIFT’s marketing team
  • Products on display at selected events
  • Recognition on CIFT’s website
  • And much more!!

In total, the above offerings provide a value of upwards of $10,000!


CIFT has worked with small and startup companies since the center’s inception in 1995.  In conjunction with the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), CIFT provides product development guidelines, resources and marketing direction to entrepreneurs involved in the production of value-added food products.  Technical capabilities, including nutritional analysis and shelf-life stability testing, ensure that the products are produced safely and properly.


$350 annually for NOCK tenants
$500 annually for non-tenants 


Less than 25 employees and less than $1M in sales.


Paula Ray
Small Business Coordinator | 419-535-6000, ext: 117