The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC) announced that it is currently accepting applications for microgrants of up to $2,500 for any new and expanding food-based businesses who operate out of the Hazleton Kitchen Incubator in the Hayden Family Center for the Arts in downtown Hazleton.
The microgrants are being offered through the Truist Foundation, which announced last December that it awarded a $15,000 grant to the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, on behalf of the Collaborative, to provide financial support to culinary entrepreneurs participating in the partnership’s Kitchen Incubator Program.
THInC representatives from The Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce, CAN BE Innovation Center, Hazleton Launch Box Supported by Pasco L. Schaivo, and the Hazleton Art League will review all microgrant applications on a rolling basis until the grant funds are depleted. Businesses may use the microgrants to cover the cost of renting time at the Hazleton Kitchen Incubator (valued at $15/hr) and paying a security deposit for the space, as well as applying for a PA Department of Agriculture retail food license and City of Hazleton permits and licenses. The kitchen rental and security deposit will be paid directly by the grant, while the permit and licensing costs will be reimbursed to the grantee with proof of receipt.
Interested applicants must but active or previous clients of the Hazleton LaunchBox, supported by Pasco L. Schiavo, Esq., prior to submitting an application to ensure that entrepreneurs have discussed business ideation, planning, and pricing strategy.
In addition to the funding, grant recipients will receive assistance from THInC members. The CAN BE Innovation Center will be available to help the recipients secure the appropriate licenses and permits they need and provide advice on applying for any necessary product and liability insurance and food safety certifications. The Hazleton Art League will train recipients on various kitchen protocols and equipment procedures, and provide any additional technical assistance that is relevant to their specific business venture.
CAN DO Director of Economic Development Jocelyn Sterenchock said, “The Hazleton Kitchen Incubator was established because THInC members recognized the importance of being able to provide the space and unique support that food entrepreneurs need. These microgrants are designed to help those entrepreneurs who have a viable business idea but otherwise wouldn't have a space to test that idea or the resources to launch their business.”
Tours of the kitchen facility are available by appointment. For additional information about the Hazleton Kitchen Incubator, including a list of equipment and additional resources, visit www.hazletonkitchen.org.