The Paterson Restoration Corporation has awarded a $70,000 contract to the Rutgers Food Innovation Center to conduct a feasibility study on creating a food business incubation program in the city.
“We are very excited to have been given the opportunity to assist the City of Paterson in moving forward with this project,” Lou Cooperhouse, Director of the Rutgers Food Innovation Center, said. “There is tremendous consumer demand in the specialty food industry nationally, and a great deal of entrepreneurship in Paterson and the surrounding region.”
The study will identify needs of the local community, market demand for use of commercial kitchen, identify potential food industry users within the region, identify focus areas or specializations that should be considered, and determine what is needed to convert the Pennsylvania Avenue industrial building into a successful food business incubation facility for the program.
Results of the study will be used to move the project forward by determining organizational requirements, capital, and operating costs necessary for the facility.
“We are pursuing this project as a way to stimulate economic development in Paterson and the surrounding region,” said Ruben Gomez, Director of Economic Development at the City of Paterson and Executive Director of the Paterson Restoration Corporation. “We have a very robust food community in Paterson, and this project is a demonstration of our commitment to stimulate entrepreneurship among the many different ethnic groups who live in the region.”
The business incubator will enable local and regional entrepreneurs to use the commercial kitchen to design, develop, commercial, and manufacture specialty food products to sell to retail food service customers from a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected processing facility.
“We’re really excited about the possibility of a FDA-inspected commercial kitchen and food processing facility being located in Paterson, out of which food businesses in the region will be able to design, develop and commercialize their specialty products,” Cooperhouse said.
The city earmarked $2 million in federal money for the incubator program.
Entrepreneurs from the northern New Jersey region considering a food business are being asked to attend an initial focus group meeting for the study on February 23, 2016. Register by going to the Rutgers’s website or for more information contact Diane Holtaway at [email protected] or 201-543-4085.