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New Business Accelerator Program to Help Expand Healthy Food Access in Denver

City partners with Uncharted to offer robust training and mentorship program to support food-related ventures in underserved neighborhoods

The Denver Office of Economic Development is launching a new business development program focused on curbing food insecurity in Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, Montbello, Westwood, Northeast Park Hill, Five Points, and other neighborhoods.

Administered by Uncharted (formerly Unreasonable Institute), Uncharted Food Access is designed to find new and innovative solutions to tackling food insecurity challenges. The program provides curriculum, connections, and mentorship to help 10 selected ventures—both for-profit and non-profit—improve access to healthy food across low-income communities in Denver.

“This is part of our proactive approach to building healthier communities throughout the city,” said Amy Edinger, OED interim executive director. “By targeting entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits, we recognize that Denver has a broad talent pool of individuals that, with a little support and key introductions, can make a lasting difference in addressing food insecurity.”

The Uncharted Food Access program will provide each participating venture with a five-day in-person bootcamp featuring world-class curriculum, six months of support from a team of committed mentors, financial modeling training from Unreasonable Financial Architects, key introductions to relevant investors, and access to a network of over 530 Unreasonable Institute ventures worldwide.

“It’s exciting to be able to bring the city’s resources together with the ingenuity of entrepreneurs,” says Teju Ravilochan, CEO of Uncharted. “This partnership combines the innovation of nimble startups with the systems-shifting capabilities of the city government, creating the potential to really make a lot of people’s lives better.”

Early-stage ventures can apply for the Uncharted Food Access program through June 25, 2017.

Uncharted Food Access represents OED’s latest effort at boosting the availability of healthy food options throughout the city. Other efforts include:

  • Dedicated gap financing funds to support prospective full-service grocers in the Globeville/Elyria-Swansea, Montbello and Westwood neighborhoods. Along with partner organizations, the OED has pledged $1 million for each of the three neighborhood areas.
  • Provided a $76,720 grant to the Focus Points Family Resource Center, to support a new business support center for Globeville/Elyria-Swansea food businesses and entrepreneurs.
  • Awarded a $66,213 grant to The GrowHaus to support a door-to-door promotora  (community health worker) program, educating residents on healthy eating habits, cooking methods and nutrition.
  • Completed the Denver Food Vision, which sets forth an ambitious, comprehensive approach to further develop Denver’s food system.

Uncharted finds entrepreneurs tackling the world’s biggest problems, and equips them with the training, networks, and resources they need to scale their innovative solutions. 

The Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) is dedicated to advancing economic prosperity for the City of Denver, its businesses, neighborhoods and residents. Working with a wide variety of community partners, OED operates to create a local environment that stimulates balanced growth through job creation, business assistance, housing options, neighborhood redevelopment and the development of a skilled workforce.