Can-Do Kitchen raising funds for new mixed-used incubator in Kalamazoo

Lucy Dilley. Courtesy Can-Do Kitchen

A Kalamazoo food business incubator is amid a capital campaign to create a mixed-use space to serve entrepreneurs and startups of all kinds.

Can-Do Kitchen (CDK) said Thursday, Dec. 2, it is about 78% of the way through raising its Opening New Doors capital campaign goal of $650,000 to expand its programs and services in a new location with a new focus.

The capital campaign began in June 2020. All funds raised will assist CDK in relocating to a larger, more central location in Kalamazoo and will allow for the addition of mixed-use incubator resources above and beyond CDK’s current food business program.

CDK’s new location will be at 519 South Park St. in Kalamazoo and will allow “an increase in production capacity, more program cohesion and awareness, retail synergy and visibility, and organizational sustainability,” CDK said.

The organization expects to move from its current 3501 Lake St. facility to the new location in mid-2022.

To reflect its broader focus going forward, the organization will be renamed Can-Do Kalamazoo. Under the new name, the incubator will serve the region’s entrepreneurs and small businesses through production space, office rentals, co-working space, commercial kitchens, startup and accelerator programming, and networking opportunities.

“Entrepreneurship is strong in our community,” said Lucy Dilley, Can-Do Kitchen’s founder and executive director. “We are stepping up to a larger facility and expanded scope so that all entrepreneurs can have the resources and space they need to pursue their dreams.

“Our new location not only quadruples our commercial kitchen, but it integrates co-working space, tenant offices, classrooms, event space and networking opportunities. Our programs and partnerships will continue to prioritize opening doors for entrepreneurs who have been systemically marginalized and unable to access crucial resources.”

Can-Do Kalamazoo will be “a highly collaborative and strategic incubator” working toward equity in the small business community, the organization said.

Those who would like to contribute to the capital campaign can do so online.

Can-Do Kitchen

Founded in 2008, the Can-Do Kitchen strives to open doors to Kalamazoo-area food entrepreneurs by building foundations and removing barriers to food business ownership.

Its programs include Can-Do Camp, commercial kitchen membership, QuickStarter Incubation, Business Builder scholarship, group tour and informational sessions and Can-Do Loans.

The organization has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs on their business journeys, and the results are evident in stores, restaurants and markets around the state. To date, 125 people have completed the 16-week Can-Do Camp, 60 people receive free startup information annually at monthly group tours, 12 businesses have received scholarships of up to $14,000, and 18 businesses have graduated from the incubation program.

CDK’s family of businesses includes Brazilian Oven, West Michigan Pasta, Mamaleelu Cold Brew, Mike’s Famous Michigan Bean Dip, Specialty Cheesecake & Desserts, DoughChicks, Café Rica, Perfect Blend Coffee, Fresh Coast Kombucha, Papa’s Peanut Brittle and Corner Store Cocktails.

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