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Financing + Business Assistance
Through the Fair Food Fund, Fair Food Network provides financing and business assistance to food enterprises that are supporting farmers in meeting the growing demand for local, sustainably-grown food: a win for farms, entrepreneurs, and consumers.
Fair Food Fund provides flexible, patient capital to entrepreneurs building regional food system infrastructure. Our target deal size ranges from $50,000 to $500,000 and may be offered as a stand-alone investment or as part of a larger financing package. We focus on subordinated debt and royalty financing* to provide capital not usually available from traditional sources.
We made our first loan in fall 2013 to Maine-based MOO Milk, supporting its partner farms in growing their herd sizes.
From one-on-one consulting through the Fair Food Consulting Corps to our Fair Food Business Boot Camp, we help entrepreneurs take their ventures to the next level.
Fair Food Consulting Corps
Working with local partners and a growing network of consultants, we provide food businesses with the one-on-one, targeted support they need at a price they can afford. Selected entrepreneurs will be paired with Fair Food Consulting Corps members who can provide assistance in accounting and financial management, business planning, food safety compliance, marketing and sales, operations management, and more. The Fair Food Consulting Corps is active in Western Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire and plans to expand across the Northeast.
To date, our support is helping early-stage enterprises grow into successful businesses-creating opportunities for local farms to meet consumer demand for locally-produced food. Past projects include:
- City Fresh Foods: Business planning assistance to help healthy meal food service provider expand into a new market
- Heron Pond Farm: Strategic planning for diversified farm and retailer to create an actionable plan for a food hub
- Maine Grains: Management accounting upgrade to help locally-grown grain milling business make profitable growth decisions
- Northern Girl: Cash flow forecasting for root vegetable processor seeking to expand operations
- Tide Mill Organic Farm: Financial projections for diversified, certified organic family farm planning to expand poultry processing capabilities
Fair Food Business Boot Camp
The Fair Food Business Boot Camp is a three-day intensive program for food system businesses that combines skill building sessions, applied projects, and robust technical assistance. It culminates in a pitch session to a panel of investors, with the winner receiving up to $10,000 in consulting services.
The first Business Boot Camp will be this December hosted by Food Sol at Babson College and led by Jay Friedlander, Chair of Sustainable Business at College of the Atlantic. Moving forward, we hope to offer it annually.
For Entrepreneurs - See whether your business is eligible for support and download overviews and applications for business assistance.
For Funders - Catalyze change in our food system with the Fair Food Fund.
* Royalty financing refers to a revenue sharing agreement where payments to the investor consist of a small percentage of the financed enterprise’s gross sales. Royalty payments are made until principal and a mutually agreed upon return on investment are repaid to the investor. Royalty financing is flexible for entrepreneurs because payments fluctuate with revenues, and the term of the investment depends on how rapidly the financed enterprise is able to achieve its sales growth targets. This type of financing is typically used to fund fast-growing, high margin enterprises with established revenue streams.
Subordinated debt is similar to conventional debt, such as a bank loan, except that in the event of bankruptcy the subordinated debt gets paid back only after bank loans and other senior debt. Typically, some collateral is available to partially secure subordinated debt, generally making it less risky and less expensive than royalty financing.
For both royalty financing and subordinated debt, rates vary depending on risk but tend to be less expensive than equity and more expensive than senior debt. While we are committed to providing royalty financing and subordinated debt, in some cases, Fair Food Fund may offer senior debt or equity financing.
What We Do
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