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Chobani Creates Food Incubator Cohort for U.S. Veterans
New York Ag Connection - 11/11/2019

Chobani announced it is adding a new cohort to its Incubator program, this one designed to help current and former armed service members who are also food entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Dubbed, The Chobani Incubator Veterans Cohort, the program is set to take place over one week this December, according to a press release sent to The Spoon. Participants will head to the Chobani offices in Soho, NYC to learn about sales, marketing, and food innovation from Chobani team members.

For the program, Chobani has partnered with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, an organization founded to help veterans transition into post-service careers. Besides offering higher education and general career training, the IVMF foundation also has an entrepreneurship program those participating in the Chobani cohort will be able to connect with.

Misty Fox, director of entrepreneurship IVMF, noted in a statement that the partnership with Chobani will provide veterans "with critical start-up environments that provide consulting, networking and administrative support -- a big advantage early on in a business life cycle."

Chobani has already chosen the three companies who will participate in the Chobani Incubator Veterans Cohort:

- J. Lee's Gourmet BBQ Sauce. The Biloxi, Miss.-based company was founded in 2013 by Army Veteran James Lee and his mother Helen Lee, and creates BBQ sauces designed specifically for diabetics. The products are already available at stores like Walmart, Publix, and Kroger as well as at military commissaries and via Amazon.

- Amore Congelato. Founded this year by Naval Reserve Officer Thereasa Black, the Chantilly, Va.-based business makes gelatos and sorbets sweetened with agave nectar.

- Savor the Flavor. started back in 1992 by the current generational founder's grandmother, the Sumter, S.C., company produces hand-bagged southern staples like grits and rice mixes.

The program is something of a first-of-its-kind in terms of offering military veterans an incubator-style setting in which to start growing a food business.

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