Be Nimble Foundation, a 501(c)(3) social enterprise dedicated to creating fully diverse and inclusive tech ecosystems, today announced the second cohort of its Melon Kitchen accelerator. The accelerator is a one-year program that takes emerging food entrepreneurs from idea to test kitchen to revenue generation. Chefs in the program receive training on a variety of topics, including business planning, licensing and legal set-up, menu preparation, pricing and revenue strategy, hiring staff and pitching to investors.
Melon Kitchen’s Second Cohort includes:
Upon starting the program, each entrepreneur receives a $5,000 grant. At the end of the program, they are eligible for an investment of up to $50,000 from The Nile Capital Fund to scale their business. The Nile Capital Fund is a recently launched fund from Be Nimble providing revenue-based equity loans and traditional equity investments for Black founders.
“Seeing this program continue at 16 Tech, and looking back on the success our first cohort has had, is incredibly rewarding,” said Jeff Williams, co-founder of Be Nimble. “We’re starting to see things really take off through our different accelerators. And now with The Nile Fund, we’re able to support founders, entrepreneurs, chefs and creators of all kinds here in our community beyond that first step. This second cohort has some truly unique concepts that go beyond meals, touching food products/retail. I can’t wait for them to take shape.”
The second cohort of Melon Kitchen is made possible due to investment from JPMorgan Chase, the City of Indianapolis and The Meridian Foundation. Specifically, JPMorgan Chase recently invested $300,000, which supported Black Innovation Week earlier this year, and will be used to continue the success of the Melon Kitchen accelerator program.
“This program provides emerging entrepreneurs with the resources and support they need to launch and scale their businesses. It’s a concept in equity we’re passionate about supporting,” said Phylicia Manley, Vice President and Program Officer in Global Philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “Black and Brown founders face significant obstacles in accessing the capital and support needed to grow their businesses. Programs like the Melon Kitchen accelerator help provide equity in leveling the playing field to create more opportunity.”
Kadeesha and Antoine Wiggins, graduates of the first Melon Kitchen cohort, recently opened a new brick-and-mortar location of their plant-based burger concept, Burgeezy, on the canal in Indianapolis. The duo also received a $50,000 investment from The Nile Capital Fund.
“The Melon Kitchen accelerator was a game-changer for us,” said Kadeesha Wiggins. “We had the concept down, and we knew the food was good thanks to early feedback, but the accelerator allowed us to formalize our business concept, plan for expansion and scout locations. The investment from Nile will allow us to continue to scale and bring delicious vegan food to Indy and our neighboring states.”
“I’ve never been more confident in the future of Indianapolis and that’s because groups like Be Nimble are leading the movement to make a more prosperous city for Black and Brown entrepreneurs,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “Our City needs to make sure every chef and entrepreneur can have access to the tools they need to add their own flavor, and we’re proud to invest in the continued impact of Melon Kitchen.”
To learn more about Melon Kitchen, please visit melon.kitchen.
About Be Nimble Foundation
Be Nimble Foundation is a 501(c)(3) social enterprise taking a qualitative and quantitative approach to creating fully diverse and inclusive tech ecosystems. Our career training and placement programs up-skill unemployed, under-employed, and career-transitioners who are interested in the tech industry. Our entrepreneurship programs support Black and Latinx start-up founders to get them the technical resources, support and funding they need to build high-growth, high-scale companies. To learn more about the Be Nimble Foundation, visit www.benimbleco.com.
About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading financial services firm based in the United States of America (“U.S.”), with operations worldwide. JPMorgan Chase had $3.9 trillion in assets and $317 billion in stockholders’ equity as of September 30, 2023. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. Under the J.P. Morgan and Chase brands, the Firm serves millions of customers in the U.S., and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients globally. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.
BLASTmedia for Be Nimble Co.
SOURCE: Be Nimble