The Mandela Food Business Pathways Program

Our Food Business Pathways Program assists aspiring Black, Brown, Latine, and Asian food-based entrepreneurs rooted in Oakland and Unincorporated Alameda County in ​planning, funding, and growing their businesses.


Food Business Workshops

Our Food Business Pathways Program offers a set of workshops to support early-stage food-based entrepreneurs in making consistent sales and decisions to move forward.

Building Your Business Idea

We will start by taking the business vision and mission statements that you have in your head and get them down on paper.

Market Mix: Customer, Trends & Competitors

Researching your customer base and their needs, recognizing trends that can affect your business, and knowing your competitors or possible collaborators.

Online Marketing

In simple steps, you can build a clear and appealing brand and market your food-business online.

Talking Money: Pricing Right

Learn organizational practices that support consistency and sustainability in preparing and pricing your food.

Talking Money: Goal Setting

Draft your business and personal budgets and spend time goal setting.

Talking Money: Finding Funding

Explore some local options for funding your business focused on lower barrier loans.

Writing It Down: Build a Business Plan

We will simplify the details that complete a business plan for you to create your own.

Permitting 101

Learn the basics and purposes of various permitting and licensing needs for your business.

Graduation & Pitch Night

Pitch your business idea to your peers and local business community.



Following our workshop series, entrepreneurs are invited to one-on-one coaching where they craft individuals goals, and develop work plans with coaches to move forward on initiatives for their food businesses.

Business Planning 

Finalizing business plan, pricing product of service, developing monthly financials


Social media planning, website development, logo design and branding.

Product Market Testing 

Reviewing pop-up opportunities (i.e. community markets, makers' fairs), developing the application, and planning day-of logistics.

Business Formalizing 

Developing fictitious business name, acquiring business license and appropriate permits.

Access to Funding

Advisees that complete milestones are eligible for low-cost capital coaching and seed funding.


Sales Channels

As part of our Food Business Pathways Program, entrepreneurs get connected with local sales channels, such as farmers markets and established food businesses, to pop-up and market test their products. This allows entrepreneurs to test and perfect recipes with different audiences and build their networks.

Foodwise (formerly CUESA)

We’ve partnered with Foodwise at their Ferry Plaza Farmers Market & Mission Community Farmers Market in San Francisco, to have stalls for prepared food vendors to pop-up as they develop their menu.


Additional Support

Small Business Office Hours 

Schedule time with one of our business development associates for a one-hour drop in appointment each quarter.