Producers Startup Program

The Chesapeake Agriculture Innovation Center supports Value-Added Producers in the state of Maryland and Delaware through its Producers Startup Program. This program is designed for idea or early stage producers to pick from a variety of workshops, live and online trainings, coaching and business plan consulting, depending on their specific needs.

Courses and Workshops

Our offerings include two courses and a series of individual workshops. See below and register to the ones that best suit your needs.


Meet and learn from a community of rural entrepreneurs. Interactive webinars and training offer an opportunity for a deeper dive on business concepts while connecting you to a network of other rural entrepreneurs and experts from across the country. Navigate through the emerging environment of small business. Some classes are offered live and virtual on the same day. 


Next Webinar: Managing Business Cash Flow – How to Maintain the Fuel To Run Your Business   October 20, 2022

Business Ideation and Start-ups

In this four-week course we focus on the design skills of ideation, prototyping and iteration. We will teach how to develop your ideas into experiments and provide the tools necessary to bring others in on your vision. This program will help you use experimentation to uncover insight into your customer’s wants and needs, to learn from failure in a controlled environment and create a culture of experimentation to expand your team’s capacity for innovation that is necessary for business growth.


Next Class Starts On – November 2, 2022

Business Model and Lean Startup

This two-week course will walk you through the nine blocks of the business model canvas and the importance of reviewing your business model often. We will look at your operation through the lense of experimentation focusing on actionable, accountable and audible results to assist your business navigate through the emerging environment of small business. This course is designed for startup companies.


Next Class Starts On – October 19, 2022

Self Paced Training

Learn on your own time, at your own pace.
Self-guided online workshops for Value-Added Producers that cover everything from understanding income statements and balance sheets to digital marketing solutions.

We have access to a catalog of online training created by our partner organization RCAP and recordings from our previous Business Solutions for Value-Added Producers Programs.

One-on-One Consulting

Don’t go it alone.
Customized one-on-one support focused on improved management systems and expanded business skills to help unlock your potential and help your business thrive.

This program is brought to you by the Chesapeake Agriculture Innovation Center (CAIC) and the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP)


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.