Services–

To register for our services please click on the REGISTER FOR CAIC SERVICES button.
You then may participate in Virtual Presentations and mentor sessions of your choice, have access to SMEs, and apply for Mini-Grants.

Register For CAIC Services

The Business Solutions for Value-Added Producers Experience

The primary service that CAIC offers participants is being part of the “Business Solutions for Value-Added Producers” experience that consists of Virtual Presentations (see the list below) followed by individual mentorship sessions. See the ADVISORS page of this Web site to learn more about the Mentors who will be making Virtual Presentations and providing individual mentorship for CAIC participants who take part in the “Business Solutions for Value-Added Producers” experience.

CAIC VIRTUAL PRESENTATIONS

Part One of the “Business Solutions for Value-Added Producers”
Descriptions, dates and times, prerequisites, and criteria for acceptance into the Virtual Presentation are given below. Please register as a CAIC participant by clicking on a REGISTER FOR CAIC SERVICES button to enroll in these free Virtual Presentations.

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #1

Title: Developing and Positioning Your Brand
Mentor Company: Cureate
Date and Time of Session: Tuesday, October 19th; 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #2

Title: Identifying B2B and B2C Growth Opportunities
Mentor Company: Cureate
Date and Time of Session: Wednesday, October 20th; 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #3

Title: Winning Over Buyers; Pricing Strategy
Mentor Company: Cureate
Date and Time of Session: Thursday, October 21st; 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #4

Title: Starting or Expanding a Craft Alcohol Producer Business
Mentor Company: Grow and Fortify LLC
Date and Time of Session: Tuesday, October 19th; 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #5

Title: Value-Added Agriculture: Regulations 101; Processes, Licenses, and Permits
Mentor Company: Grow and Fortify LLC
Date and Time of Session: Wednesday, October 20th; 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #6

Title: Funding Sources for Value-Added Producers
Mentor Company: Grow and Fortify LLC
Date and Time of Session: Thursday, October 21st; 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM

Access to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

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.

Mini Grants

In addition to participating in the “Business Solutions for Value-Added Producers” experience and having access to SMEs, registered CAIC participants will have the opportunity to apply for mini-grants. CAIC provides these grants so that value-added producers will have resources to develop and commercialize their value-added agriculture and aquaculture products.

Mini-grants funds may not be used for general startup, administrative, or operational expenditures. All funds must be used to implement market research and customer acquisition initiatives that otherwise could not be funded by the company. Awards are not made in cash; funds are made in payment of invoices submitted by the granted company. Invoices must directly address the purpose for which the grant was made.

The three types of mini-grants are discussed below.

Market Research and Validation of Target Market up to $5,000

  • Market analysis and study expenses
  • Consultant expenses
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews, surveys, and polls
  • Sampling events to get feedback

Customer Acquisition up to $2,500

  • Expenses for developing marketing and communications collateral material
  • Expenses for reaching target customers at industry and community events
  • Sampling and other events to introduce customers to the product(s)/service(s)
  • Expenses for social media and other targeted advertising activities

Food Safety Classes Up to $2,500
This mini-grant is available to pay for classes on Food Safety and Food Safety Regulations given by the State of Maryland for food producers to learn about and comply with all safety rules and regulations covering food production in Maryland.

Eligibility
All value-added producers and companies in Maryland and Delaware are eligible to apply for mini-grants. Participants may apply once for each of the three 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.

Mini grant Application

To register for our services please click on the REGISTER FOR CAIC SERVICES button. You then may participate in Virtual Presentations and mentor sessions of your choice, have access to SMEs, and apply for Mini-Grants.

Register For CAIC SERVICES

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #1

Title: Developing and Writing Your Business Plan

Mentor Company: Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project Inc.
Date and Time of Session: Tuesday, February 8th from 12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

Length of Session: 1.5 hrs

Course Description: In this course you will develop and write a comprehensive and living business plan to guide you on your path to success. Subject areas include identifying key partners, activities, and resources and determining your cost structure and revenue streams.

Desired Prerequisite Knowledge and Experience of Attendees: Attendees should have a basic knowledge of their business and its characteristics.
Criteria for Acceptance into the Virtual Presentation: No prior business planning experience is required.

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #2

Title: Funding Sources for Value-Added Producers

Mentor Company: Grow and Fortify LLC

Date and Time of Session: Wednesday, February 9th from 12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

Length of Session: 1.5 hrs

Course Description: When starting a value-added agriculture business it is important to know what funding is available and how to access it. That knowledge, which is presented in this Virtual Presentation, may be an important factor in your success.

Desired Prerequisite Knowledge and Experience of Attendees: Startup attendees shall have started developing a business plan because any commercial lender will want a solid business plan for funding. Attendees who are scaling up their business shall have a business plan and a solid idea of their planned expansion and scaling up costs.

Criteria for Acceptance into the Virtual Presentation: Attendees must have used a standard business plan template from a local economic development office, an SBDC resource, or an agricultural economic development professional.

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #3

Title: Regulations 101; Processes, Licenses, and Permits

Mentor Company: Grow and Fortify LLC

Date and Time of Session: Thursday, February 10th from 12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

Length of Session: 1.5 hrs

Course Description: This course discusses the many layers of complexity faced by value-added producers who are developing any type of value-added agricultural product.

Desired Prerequisite Knowledge and Experience of Attendees: There are no prerequisites for this Virtual Presentation; however, attendees shall have determined the type of value-added agriculture business they are considering. This Virtual Presentation also may be relevant to existing value-added agriculture producers who are considering scaling up, expanding, or creating additional product lines. This includes agritourism operations, food and non-alcoholic beverage production, forestry and fiber products, certification programs (such are certified organic) to differentiate products, and Community Supported Agriculture programs.

Criteria for Acceptance into the Virtual Presentation: Attendees shall have identified the type of products they would like to produce.

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #4

Title: Creating Your Marketing Plan and Vision

Mentor Company: Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project Inc.
Date and Time of Session: Tuesday, February 15th from 12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

Length of Session: 1.5 hrs
Course Description: This course will help you produce a comprehensive and living marketing plan to ensure that your marketing efforts produce the maximum results. Subjects covered include understanding market trends, determining your target market, developing a competitive advantage, sales and marketing strategies, and pricing strategies.

Desired Prerequisite Knowledge and Experience of Attendees: Attendees should have a general idea of the characteristics (demographics, buying habits) of their target customer.

Criteria for Acceptance Into the Virtual Presentation: No specific criteria for acceptance.

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #5

Title: Developing and Positioning Your Brand

Mentor Company: Cureate
Date and Time of Session: Wednesday, February 16th from 12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

Length of Session: 1.5 hrs

Course Description: This presentation discusses the visual elements of brand development – such as font, color, photography, and package design – that go beyond a company’s logo. The presentation also covers how to define a business’s core messaging so that every team member understands and can communicate voice and tone when communicating with customers and the media.

Desired Prerequisite Knowledge and Experience of Attendees: (Idea-Stage Company) Attendees will have a need to explore tools for social media engagement and to determine a strategy to increase engagement on social platforms.
(Ready-to-Scale Company): Attendees must have a product that has already entered the market in some capacity. Attendees should currently be selling products at the wholesale level and should want to increase their wholesale account traction.
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.

VIRTUAL PRESENTATION #6

Title: Identifying B2B and B2C Growth Opportunities

Mentor Company: Cureate
Date and Time of Session: Thursday, February 17th from 12:00 Noon to 1:30 PM

Length of Session: 1.5 hrs

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.

 

CLICK HERE for information on the Mentoring Companies who will present these Virtual Presentations.

MINI-GRANTs

Mini-Grants up to $5,000 are available for:
– Market Research and Validation of Target Market
– Customer Acquisition
– Product Development Initiatives
– Food Safety Classes
Eligibility
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.

ACCESS TO SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS (SMES)

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.