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Fostering healthy neighborhoods through empowerment of female food entrepreneurs

Published March 2018

The Mandela MarketPlace Ashland Market & Cafe Entrepreneurship Program supports the empowerment of women through providing entrepreneurship training, one-on-one counseling and support and financial assistance to minority-owned female food businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Ashland Market & Cafe is a food incubator space that will open in Spring 2018 and house three female-owned businesses.

The Ashland Market & Cafe is located in unincorporated Alameda County in an area with limited access to healthy food. The business incubation training and services provided to the female entrepreneurs will empower female community members to grow their businesses and provide a community-run market space for residents to have access to healthy, prepared foods.

Our service delivery model includes six weeks of Basic Entrepreneurship Training followed by one year of one-on-one advising and financial support services. The modules covered through Mandela MarketPlace programming include:

  1. Defining Your Business Concept
  2. Business Development
  3. Business Finances
  4. Business Plan & Funding Sources
  5. Branding and Marketing
  6. A legal Clinic hosted by our partners The Sustainable Economies Law Center

Food-specific training modules include:

  1. Food Safety Certification
  2. Food Production
  3. Food Packaging and Labeling

Female entrepreneurs will graduate from the six week Basic Entrepreneurship Training with a certificate of completion, a Business Plan, the ability and confidence to pitch their business, a deep understanding of how to run a successful business and an increased community network of female entrepreneurs.

The one-on-one advising will be catered specifically to the individual female entrepreneur needs and financial services. The three underserved female-owned businesses in the Ashland Market & Café Entrepreneurship Program will benefit from access to financial assistance for start-up costs for their newly acquired incubation spaces inside the Ashland Market & Cafe. The one-on-one advising sessions will prepare female entrepreneurs to understand their individual needs for personal business growth. The modules for the advising sessions include: Personal & Business Budgeting, Marketing Support, Loan Readiness, and Food-Specific subjects such as Menu Development.

The underserved female entrepreneurs of color will gain valuable insights to understanding and growing their business as well as access to financial assistance to cover start-up costs in a new incubation space. Access to educational services such as entrepreneurship workshops as well as one-on-one advising and financial assistance allows female minority-owned businesses to take on less risk and focus on growing their business practice. Through building a business, the female valuable food products to their community, allowing for residents to live healthier, happier lives. Female business ownership encourages empowerment and self-actualization through pursuing one’s passion and dreams.

The Mandela MarketPlace Ashland Market & Cafe Entrepreneurship Program provides entrepreneurship training, one-on-one advising, and financial assistance to female food entrepreneurs of color. Therefore, empowering female entrepreneurs to further pursue their passion and dreams as well as providing the education and capital for them to achieve success.

For more information about the Mandela Marketplace,



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