Starting Oct. 15, food producers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and The Bahamas will have the opportunity to take free business workshops on Zoom with the Food Business Bootcamp, presented by the non-profit organization World Central Kitchen (WCK). The training will take place online once a week for food-related small businesses, such as farmers, fishers and other food businesses. They are specially adapted to include the most relevant topics for developing food businesses, to include marketing, operations, finance, growth opportunities and digital marketing with E-commerce.
The boot camp is the result of a collaboration with the learning platform INprende and the United States Department of Agriculture Department of Rural Development (USDA-RD) through its Rural Development Business Grants program. The webinars will take place from 5-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 14, 22 and 28 and on Nov. 5 and 12 via the online platform Zoom.
This Food Business Bootcamp is part of WCK’s initiatives to increase the business and productive capacity of food producers across the Caribbean. “In 2019, it offered over 780 learning hours to food producers, but since March of this year, it has offered over 1,200 learning hours. World Central Kitchen has seen participation in these specialized workshops increasing as more and more participants leave with useful tools for their businesses,” said Mikol Hoffman, director of the WCK’s Food Producer Network.
This program aims to strengthen Caribbean food systems and reduce dependence on food imports by supporting local food production, and one of their strategies to do so is via the investment in formal training for small and medium food producers so that they can maximize their efforts and grow their businesses.
Josué E. Rivera, USDA-RD state director, reported that with the $63,450 USDA-RDBG grant that his agency awarded, the projections are to provide technical assistance to over 320 participants who will in turn strengthen their business capabilities and commercial execution strategies to be more effective in their production. “We continue the initiative to strengthen the workforce and businesses to boost the recovery in this economic sector,” Rivera said.
For more information on the Food Business Bootcamp or to reserve a spot for one or more of the webinars, write to [email protected] (for the U.S. Virgin Islands) or [email protected] (for The Bahamas) or sign up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/wckplowtoplate
World Central Kitchen’s programs also include grant awards of up to $20,000 for qualifying local food businesses. To date, more than 120 food production companies have been supported in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and The Bahamas. The call to apply for this grant ends Thursday, Oct. 15; those interested in applying can access https://wck.org/apply-to-p2p.