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2023 Cohort Program

Kicking Off October 16, 2023

CIFT Entrepreneur Cohort Program

Want to start a food business or scale up your recipe? Introducing the CIFT Entrepreneur Cohort Program, this innovative 6-session hybrid cohort is designed for individuals wanting to start a food business at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen.

Program highlights:

6 engaging sessions tailored to your business

Learn from industry experts & network

Explore the understanding of label creation through an exclusive visit to a state-of-the-art plant

Gain essential knowledge on how to market your business

Each session will run between 9 am to 12 pm discussing various of topics ranging from business planning and recipe scale-up to marketing and branding.

Session Breakdown:

Session 1: Kickoff/Legal | October 16, 2023, | Mandatory Session | In Person |CIFT Offices: 5555 Airport Hwy, Toledo, OH 43615

Small Business Experts from The Toledo Main Library will be discussing business planning and ways how to get your business started. During the Kickoff, CIFT will be going over program agenda and what to expect. Topics will include the below:

  • What to expect from the program
  • Why start a food business?
  • Fundamentals of Creating a Business:
  • Business Planning/LLC
    • “Taking ownership of your business”
  • Trademarks/Patents
    • Duns/NAICS Code
  • How to protect myself & Business: Requesting Insurance Quotes –

Session 2:  Understanding your recipe/product? | November 1 2023 | Broken up between 3 virtual sessions. Virtual session breakdown:

Production Scale Up: How to make more food? | Speakers: Shari Plimpton from CIFT

Shelf Stable Products: Virtual | Speakers: Abby Snyder from Cornell University & Paula Ray from CIFT

Getting started with a Catering Business and/or Food Mobile | Speakers from Toledo Fire Department & Wood County Health Department

Session 3:  Label Day at Bollin | December 12,  2023, | Bollin Label, 6001 Brent Dr, Toledo, OH 43611 In-person

Topic: Understanding Labels: How Do I get Started?

  • Tour of Bollin Label Systems
  • Nutrition Labeling
  • Barcodes: Are they needed
  • Artwork: What do you need

Session 4: Review & Recap Work Day | Location: Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen, 13737 Middleton Pike, Bowling Green, OH 43402 | In person | January 8th

  • One on One with consultation with CIFT staff
  • Finalizing NOCK documentation & answering questions on NOCK policies
  • NOCK Checklist review
  • Preparing for ODA

Session 5: ODA Inspection | February 2024 | Location: Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen, 13737 Middleton Pike, Bowling Green, OH 43402

  • ODA will be meeting with each attendee at the NOCK that is ready to get their license to operate. More information to come.

Session 6: Market Yourself! |In person | CIFT Offices: 5555 Airport Hwy, Toledo, OH 43615 | Laptop/phones required| March 7th, 2024 | Mandatory Session & Last Day of cohort | Speakers:  Jumpstart & More

  • Social Media page creation
    • Social Media Messaging/posting

– Tools & Resources available to you

  • Websites – How to create one
  • Logos/Brand Promotion swag
  • Q&A with NOCK companies
Price: $399 per company | Each Participant will recieve:
  • Access to Past CIFT Boot Camp 101 Videos
  • Access to CIFT Co-Packer Webinar Recording
  • Access to a Product Cost Worksheet
  • Access to How to Take Your Recipe to the Market Webinar Recording
  • Access to annual GMP Training Webinar
  • Access to NOCK Onboarding
  • Food Truck 101 Webinar Recording
  • Access to NOCK Supplier Connection program
  • Refunds can be requested up to 48 hours prior to the event

Please Note: Food Businesses/or individuals who live or work in the Lucas & Wood County area can receive a discounted cohort rate through the Toledo Business Growth Collaborative fund. To learn more, please fill out this form: