Health Enterprise Development Initiative Final Presentations = Success!

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There was an impressive array of projects on display at last week’s Health Enterprise Development Initiative (HEDI) final presentations. From art quality fermentation crocks to a program incentivizing food stamp use at farmer’s markets, a healthy mix of business, nonprofit and government interests were joined together to tackle our city and county’s most pressing food and health issues.

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HEDI is a training program for entrepreneurs creating companies fostering healthy eating, active living, promoting health for consumers, suppliers, and communities.  Attendees were treated to a diverse display of perspectives that many truly appreciated. Hadar Iron of In Ferment said that the event had “transformed the way I think about my business.” Kirsten Wysen of Public Health Seattle King County was so encouraged by the experience that she simply asked us “when’s the next one?”

For the past 11 weeks, eight organizations have been participating in this mini-accelerator co-created by Slow Money NW, Pinchot’s Center for Inclusive EntrepreneurshipKickPublic Health Seattle-King County, and GPS Capital Partners. All are healthy food and community enterprises serving or representing disadvantaged communities. The participants were both for-profit and non-profit , which added to the learning. In conversations the non-profits appreciated the for-profit perspective as it was different yet aligned by underlying values and goals.

Besides the goal of providing accelerated training, a goal for this first HEDI round was to determine if there was another approach to addressing community health goals. Public Health Seattle King County provided an evaluator that followed the project through the eleven weeks. She did entry and exit interviews and observed video tapes of presentations the enterprises made at the first and last meetings, comparing progress towards the stated outcomes. The result? She measured  some of the most impressive gains she has ever seen!

Participants are feeling more financial confidence in their mission-driven business models. Some have pivoted their business model, and some are searching for funding or financing. But the belief that they can have a significant impact on regional food, health and wellness issues remains as strong as ever.

Stay tuned as we’ll have several upcoming stories centered around the crossroads of health, community and food.

Apply to Grow Your Business with HEDI, a New Accelerator

Interested in growing your food-related non-profit or for-profit organization? Apply to participate in the inaugural class of  The Health Enterprise Development Initiative (HEDI), a training program for entrepreneurs with the mission of promoting healthy local food systems.

HEDI LogoThis enterprise accelerator will meet in-person four times across 11 weeks, and online in the intermediate weeks.  Selected entrepreneurs participate in a rapid development course in Sustainable Food & Agriculture and Sustainable Business, based on and taught by instructors from the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, plus materials from the Entrepreneurship programs of The Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and Kick. Through connections to mentors, MBA students, and financing organizations, they will better understand how to build a financially sustainable business and how to secure funding. See the full curriculum here.

Applications are due by February 14th.

HEDI is a collaboration between the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Public Health Seattle King CountySlow Money NorthwestKick (the “inclusive” incubator), and GPS Capital Partners. It is funded by Public Health Seattle King County and private funders.