Don't Miss Out on the Next Producers Startup Program Beginning July 12th – Reserve Your Spot Now!


GROW AND FORTIFY To Offer Coaching and Workshops

It was a light bulb moment for Grow and Fortify founder, Kevin Atticks: His experience with wineries and breweries in Maryland pointed to the need for a strong organization to support the entire spectrum of value-added producers in the agricultural sector and to meet their needs as small-business enterprises.

Cockeysville-based Grow and Fortify now has five employees, including Chief Operations Officer Janna Howley, who work each day to fill the needs of food and beverage value-added producers in Maryland.

“Our clients are in a highly regulated sector — they have to deal with everything from local, county, state, and federal rules and regulations,” Howley said. “This is all very difficult to navigate, especially when you are just starting a business. We provide advocacy for these businesses by dealing directly with the regulators and developing a supportive environment. We argue why it is important that agricultural products need to be supported.”

Howley said that Grow and Fortify is looking forward to working with the Chesapeake Agricultural Innovation Center (CAIC) because of the track record Mike Thielke has for creating new resource hubs for businesses through his work as Executive Director of the Eastern Shore Entrepreneur Center (ESEC — which manages CAIC).

“We see this as an opportunity for new energy in this sector,” Howley continued. “We will have the resources to help companies expand — to help take them to the next level in their efforts to compete and build strong businesses.”

According to Howley, Grow and Fortify will provide coaching sessions — especially for companies entering the regulation-rich alcoholic beverage sector. The company also will offer workshops focusing on growth and expansion for value-added startups in the areas of food, livestock, and agritourism.


When Founded – 2014
Founder – Kevin Atticks
Additional Investors – None
Headquarters – Cockeysville, MD
Number of Employees – 5


Three Mentor Companies — Cureate, Grow and Fortify, and Kitchen Table Consultants — have been announced by CAIC, with more to follow. Mentors will be involved in program planning and development for the next few months. In June mentors will begin giving workshops and having office hours to provide personal mentoring for participants in CAIC’s programs.


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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.

Date and Time of Session: Wednesday, October 20th; 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM
Course Description: This presentation discusses strategies for B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) growth via marketing and sales. The presentation focuses on each company’s plans to diversify its revenue streams by using e-commerce, exporting, and overall customer acquisition tactics to support and enhance brand awareness.
Desired Prerequisite Knowledge and Experience of Attendees: There are no prerequisites for this Virtual Presentation.
Criteria for Acceptance into the Virtual Presentation: Attendees need to have a product-based business; this is not suited for technology and/or app companies.