Programs for Entrepreneurs

NYCHA Food Business Pathways

This innovative business accelerator program, operated in partnership with SBS, NYCHA, Hot Bread Kitchen, and Citi, empowers NYCHA residents to start and grow food businesses as part of New York City’s efforts to support entrepreneurs across communities.

logoThe Business Pathways program provides entrepreneurial, driven NYCHA and NYCHA Section 8 residents with customized training and resources to launch and grow their food businesses.

After a ten-week intensive business course, participants will formalize their businesses by obtaining free licenses and permits and be eligible to receive free incubator space for five months as they work to operationalize their education. In addition to the assistance available at the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), all graduates will receive business coaching as they complete the next steps in their journey as entrepreneurs. Program graduates will be prepared to enter New York City’s kitchen incubators and to succeed in growing businesses in the city’s food industry.

For more information, visit NYCHA's program web page.

The Food Business Pathways Program is built on three key innovations:

  • A focus on “incubator-readiness,” by providing a qualified pipeline of NYCHA businesses for service providers
  • Strengthening the connection between NYCHA businesses and New York City’s economy through streamlined links to industry-specific resources and customized curriculum
  • Bringing key stakeholders together to “evaluate what works” and systematize assistance to NYCHA entrepreneurs

Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 Participants

Participants were selected through an application and interview process that involved all program partners. Selections were based on business history, business plans and references, and applicants who demonstrated “entrepreneurial spirit” during in-person interviews.


Steering Partners
This program is a coordinated service delivery partnership between six key players in the city’s entrepreneur ecosystem and achieves impact for historically hard-to-serve businesses and entrepreneurs by creating streamlined connections between services that address different points in the business journey:

  • SBS
  • Citi Community Development
  • Hot Bread Kitchen
  • Start Small, Think Big

Incubator Partners
Four partner incubators around NYC participate in an incubator “common application” and have committed to reviewing applications and hosting graduates at their incubators.

  • HBK Incubates at Hot Bread Kitchen 
  • Urban Horizons at WHEDco
  • The Entrepreneur Space 
  • Brooklyn FoodWorks 

Program Structure

Ten week class, + ongoing coaching, + graduates receive free resources like permits and incubator space

All successful applicants will attend a ten-week FastTrac entrepreneurship course customized especially for NYCHA residents starting food businesses.

  • All graduates will receive personalized business coaching and assistance with applying for permits, licenses, and incubators. 
  • All graduates will receive free permits and licenses. 
  • Five graduates in each cohort will receive free space in a kitchen incubator

Apply now

In its inaugural year, the Food Business Pathways program will train three cohorts for a total of ninety students. If you are a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) or a NYCHA Section 8 resident who is ready to start a food business or take your food business to the next level, check out the application process or follow #foodbizdream to get updates on application dates.

Applications are now open for Cohort 3 of Food Business Pathways. Register to attend an upcoming information session.

Information Session dates: 
Brooklyn: Tuesday, July 21

Bronx: Tuesday, July 28
Manhattan: Thursday, August 6
Queens: Tuesday, August 11

Key Dates

CohortApplication AvailableCourses Start
2Closed Closed
3July 2015September 2015

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