New culinary incubator to help small business owners comes to Immokalee

A culinary accelerator open in Immokalee. The accelerator is a giant commercial kitchen for vendors who want to grow their business, and for produce farmers to have another place to sell their product – strategically placed near the produce fields of the agricultural city.

“They don’t have the facilities to properly produce their food which is where the accelerator comes into play,” said Ahmed El, Culinary Program Manager.

Marshall Goodman CEO Economic Incubators Inc. said, “If you come to them with a specialty niche product you can make out of a machine like this now they are willing to talk to you.”

The incubator has been open for two weeks but already faced challenges from the Collier County Clerk Dwight Brock.. The clerk presented findings from a three-years long audit of the company to the county commissioner.

The 100+ page report alleges the company mishandled grant money, at the cost of $5 million to taxpayers. It also says they’ve only created 15 full-time jobs, falling short of what was originally agreed upon.

However, today, Economic Incubators Inc. and the board came to a resolution and the company says they want to move forward with their goal.

Goodman said, “A facility like this that empowers entrepreneurs to take all the fresh produce that’s grown in Southwest Florida and turn it into a product – we think that adds up to quite a business proposition.”

Goodman responded to the audit saying they’re happy with the outcome and resolution,
and are working with the county on how they can make improvements in their process.

The culinary accelerator is still open for business.

Reporter:Olivia Mancino
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