As you may know, I’m fond of Millvale. And soon there will be one more reason to love it. This fall, New Sun Rising kicks off Launch Millvale, a food enterprise incubator that will give blossoming food businesses and nonprofits a leg up.
“Our mission is to find passionate, motivated, creative people who are looking to change their community,” says Scott Wolovich, executive director of New Sun Rising. Wolovich’s organization, which started ten years ago, has provided support to a variety of projects across the Pittsburgh region. They nurture and guide promising new ventures, offering fiscal support and mentorship to help people realize their vision. And now, Wolovich and his team are turning their attention to food.
Launch Millvale will be a place where food projects of all stripes can grow and collaborate. “We’ll have everything from main street businesses like restaurants and coffee shops to community gardens and nonprofits tackling food access issues,” explains Wolovich. The incubator will not take a one-size-fits-all approach, but will instead work with individuals to understand their personal definition of success. Whether that means getting custom tea blends into new markets or getting fresh produce into underserved neighborhoods, Launch Millvale will work to provide the appropriate resources and counseling.
“We want to get them to that next step,” says Wolovich. “Get them a business plan and test their assumptions about what they’re doing.” Launch Millvale will help participants navigate through the jungles of bureaucracy and secure the funding and permits they need. New Sun Rising will also bring in food and business experts to provide guidance, including NEXT’s own Leah Lizarondo.
Though the program will launch this fall in temporary spaces, Launch Millvale will eventually have a hub in the heart of the neighborhood. The Millvale Borough Development Corporation (MBDC) is renovating a building that will include office space for the incubator’s members. It will also be home to a market, bringing fresh food to Millvale for the first time in years. The building will be a center for food, conversation and education, allowing enterprising individuals to build support for their projects and respond to community feedback.
Applications to participate are due on August 9th, so there is still time for food-related nonprofits and social enterprises to vie for a spot in the program. Head here to learn more and apply.
And if you don’t happen to have the next great food idea, not to worry—you can support the MBDC simply by drinking beer. This Saturday is the 9th annual Millvale Brew Fest, a riverfront festival with nearly 200 craft beers, food and live music. Proceeds will support the MBDC’s efforts to “stabilize, revitalize and rejuvenate Millvale neighborhoods through the development of housing and businesses.” Grab tickets here.
In other news…
Speaking of incubators, Smallman Galley announced the first four chefs who will move through their new program and work to make their restaurants a reality. Learn about the chefs and help them get started here.
Pittsburgh Restaurant Week is almost here. From August 10-16, enjoy special discounted meals at more than sixty of Pittsburgh’s best restaurants.