By Jay Kieve
CBFSC  Coordinator 

Congratulations to Cheryl Moore Adamson, Palmetto Work Community Development Corporation and the CHOPS Produce market for winning $30,000 in “seed” capital from the South Carolina Community Loan Fund’s “Feeding Innovation” program.

The competitive “Feeding Innovation” grant is part of a healthy food business development program. The South Carolina Community Loan Fund and Clemson University’s Cooperative Extension partner for entrepreneurial training and business plan development. The participating organizations, each submitting a business plan, compete for grants of $5,000, $10,000, or $30,000.

CHOPS Produce winning business plan includes funds to re-open the market following pandemic-related closure, to purchase produce and other goods from local African American suppliers, and to help launch new local businesses from within the market.

Feeding Innovation is a comprehensive technical assistance program designed to support entrepreneurs interested in developing or expanding healthy food businesses in food deserts or underserved areas of the state. The goal of the program is to increase access to healthy food while supporting the development of strong, local entrepreneurs and community-based businesses.

Screen capture of Cheryl Adamson presenting the CHOPS Produce business plan.CHOPS Produce and Cannery, located in Conway, aims to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to its community to alleviate poor health and obesity. The produce stand is an initiative of Palmetto Works Community Development Corporation.

Feeding Innovation participants engage in a ten week entrepreneurial training program featuring Clemson Agribusiness curriculum facilitated by Clemson Extension. The courses cover everything needed to develop a basic healthy food business plan from marketing to financial planning to negotiations and deal-making.

With help from the course instructor and industry experts, participants refine their ideas and develop their business plans over the ten week period before presenting them to a panel of judges during a final pitch event. The three entrepreneurs with the strongest business plans are awarded $5,000, $10,000, and $30,000 in seed capital.