Our Business Development initiatives represent the nexus between economic opportunity and food access. Mandela recognized early on that while traditional job placement and workforce development programs support employment opportunities, the field was missing pathways for new and emerging entrepreneurs to build community-owned businesses from the ground up. 


Through our innovative place-based business development initiatives, we braid together three major strands of work: business incubation; access to community capital; and tailored support for launching and growing local food enterprises. Our programs ensure that new entrepreneurs and small businesses have start-up support to grow and plan for long-term sustainability, which provides a promising pathway into wealth building. 

Workshops and one-on-one advising in business development, finance, and more


Supports the launch, growth, and long-term sustainability of locally-owned food-based businesses

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Creating access to loan products that makes debt capital available to entrepreneurs

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Training and internship program to address barriers to employment among re-entry individuals