🚀 The Producers Growth Program is Open for Applications. Check if You Qualify for the Program Today! 🌟


Here is a list of upcoming events hosted by the Chesapeake Ag. Innovation Center. We are excited to invite you to participate and join us.

Loading Events

« All Events

Producers Growth Program

October 3 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Are you ready to grow your food or beverage company?

The Producers Growth Program will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to assess, plan, and execute a growth and scaling strategy for your business. At the start of the six-month program, you’ll be matched with an industry advisor who has experience in building and leading successful companies, from attracting investors to expansion into new markets. During weekly coaching sessions, you’ll work together to develop a growth plan, using what you learn in your program classes. Your advisor can also connect you to new opportunities and help you avoid common scaling pitfalls, so you can use your resources wisely and sustain your company’s growth. As a participant in the program, you will also have preferred access to our partner’s $3.5 million loan fund, and to services to facilitate their business growth. Each annual cohort is capped at just eight people, allowing for personalized curriculum delivery as well as conversations with lecturers and other producers.

Click here to learn more about the program.

Why apply to the Producers Growth Program?

  • Individual focus: The program’s small cohort size allows for personalized curriculum delivery, as well as conversations with lecturers and other producers. During their one-on-one mentoring sessions, participants work closely with industry veterans, enabling them to ask questions and receive valuable feedback.
  • Access to funding: Participants will have access to our partner’s $3.5 million loan fund, and a greater likelihood of securing funding from it.
  • Depth and breadth of expertise: Program mentors have more than 100 years of combined industry experience, and our guest lecturers are subject matter experts in everything from legal and regulatory considerations to branding and marketing.
  • Networking and resources: Participants will learn about opportunities and resources available to them; make industry contacts; and connect with a community of fellow value-added producers, including our growing alumni network. After the program concludes, they’ll continue to have full access to the CAIC Resource Library, along with annual check-ins and other tailored events and services.
  • Access to fundamental professional services: All participants will have access through CAIC to services to facilitate their business growth: five hours of legal consulting, 15 hours of graphic design services, 20 hours of bookkeeping and accounting services, and 23 hours of marketing consulting.

Meet the advisors


Areas of Expertise: Food
Distribution, Production, Sales

Jeff Landsman, the founder and partner of Specialty Food Sales, has been in the food business for more than 35 years. He has experience in food service and retail sales channels as a broker, manufacturer, importer, and distributor, where he has excelled as an innovator. Previously, Mr. Landsman was a vice president and general manager of Landsman Companies, a multi-location food processor, importer, and distributor of refrigerated and frozen fruits. He oversaw the company ’s New York facility, and managed activities in a co-owned factory in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Mr. Landsman attended Rutgers University and the University of Maryland.


Areas of Expertise: IP,
Investment, Business Growth

Sam Zappas brings to CAIC a wealth of entrepreneurship experience, particularly in the areas of intellectual property, investment, and business growth. The founder of a number of media organizations and consumer companies, Mr. Zappas currently heads a consulting practice that focuses on revenue strategy. In addition, he serves on the boards of several non- profits and private companies, including the advisory boards of early-stage and late-stage companies.


Areas of Expertise: Business Operations, Financial Analysis, System Development

Brian Brown has been an economic development professional for 20 years, holding leadership roles in the areas of security, media, real estate, architecture, and engineering. Currently, he serves as the Chesapeake Agriculture Innovation Center’s program manager and lead business consultant. Mr. Brown is also the business development manager for the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (RCAP) Inc. Prior to that, he was the executive director of the Halifax Industrial Development Authority.

Click here to learn more about the program.


October 3
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Event Category:


View Venue Website


Mini-Grants up to $5,000 are available for:
– Market Research and Validation of Target Market
– Customer Acquisition
– Product Development Initiatives
– Food Safety Classes
Value-added producers and companies with traction ($20,000 or more in yearly revenue) in Maryland and Delaware are eligible to apply for Mini-Grants. Participants may apply once for each of the categories. Applicants must demonstrate that they have a unique and differentiated product or service that incorporates an aspect of innovation or technology in its production, processing, distribution, or other element of the food supply system.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Award decisions will be made and funds will be available no later than three weeks following the receipt of a completed application.
Application Process
Applicants must submit Mini-Grant proposals by filling out the form at this link. Copy(ies) of quote(s), proposal(s), estimate(s), or any other supporting documents.


CAIC offers access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who can offer authoritative advice based on their deep knowledge and experience in a specific area. See the ADVISORS page of this Web site to learn more about the SMEs who are available to CAIC participants.