Lote 23 opens 2nd round of ‘Jump All In!’ incubator program
Lote 23, a culinary park located in the Santurce sector of San Juan and that is also a nonprofit organization aimed at boosting and advancing its mission of creating opportunities for entrepreneurs with culinary arts experience and that already operate food businesses, called on those interested in participating in the second round of the incubator program dubbed “Jump All In!,” can do so by applying by Oct. 10.
Lote 23 offers a kiosk, for those who need it, Executive Director Cristina Sumaza said in an interview with News is my Business. The culinary park became a nonprofit organization about a year and a half ago, she said.
“For example, we have people from Rincón that have a concept in the west coast town and want to expand their services to San Juan, and are using the ‘Jump All In,’ program to validate it,” she said, while noting that there are some participants that already operate in other locations “and that is what is exciting from this exchange, as the group counts with a variety of participants that already have other businesses in different locations.”
Sumaza further noted that the small business incubation and acceleration program has been integrated into the island’s recovery efforts.
“’Jump All In!’ is a collaborative learning process comprised of a group of Puerto Rican culinary entrepreneurs who already run and operate food businesses and are looking to expand their offering and service. The goal is to nurture that culinary talent, motivate them and serve as a foundation for them to continue in the process of growing their businesses,” Sumaza said.
So, entrepreneurs who already have a validated or proven product, an established business, a prepared menu, and who are willing to take their company to another level, will serve as ideal candidates to participate in this program, financed with Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Funds (CDBG-DR) awarded through the Puerto Rico Housing Department and its Small Business Incubators and Accelerators program.
The first generation of “Jump All In!” kicked off in May, and the second group is slated to be selected before the end of 2022.
Those eligible to apply to form part of the “Jump All In!” program must “have an innovative food program that is already in the market,” must have solid and authentic food concepts; be entrepreneurs with culinary experience and “those who want to grow and learn from other colleagues.”
Those interested in applying should fill out an online form.
Two phases of learning
Once selected, the program’s participants must successfully complete an educational curriculum that is divided into two phases. Each phase lasts some six months. The first phase consists a total of 16 workshops hosted by a group of mentors and recognized professionals who will delve into issues related to mission and personal vision, inventory management and control, labor and food costs, alternatives of business models in the food industry, service and hospitality, effective communications, types of leadership, recruitment and retention of staff, among other business development issues.
Meanwhile, the second phase will focus on creating and executing a customized growth plan for the business and the owner.
Housing Secretary William Rodríguez, said that the “recovery effort that the non-government sector has joined has become increasingly important when organizations like Lote 23 extend their knowledge so that other businesses can develop and contribute to our economy.”
“Without a doubt, with this effort, we support and achieve another of the purposes of the recovery funds…,” the official said.
The first generation of “Jump All In!” kicked off in May and is composed of 12 participants. These participants are now completing the first phase. Out of those 12 participants, nine are operating at the Lote 23 culinary park. The other participants have culinary businesses in different municipalities across the island, Sumaza said.
Those that have a kiosk must pay Lote 23 a percentage of their monthly sales, “so each business pays a different amount, depending on how much they sell each month,” she said.
Currently, Lote 23 has 16 structures operating in the program and nine kiosks are up and running in the Santurce location.
“We will always have two generations running [operations] at the same time,” Sumaza said.
She further explained that “Jump All In!” is not limited to whether the participant already has an established location or needs a temporary space within Lote 23. For those who qualify, and according to availability, the program will be able to offer the space within the Lote 23 community so that they can operate their business, while completing the incubator program.
“The objective is that once they finish the program they have acquired all the necessary tools and knowledge to continue with the operation of their business from other parts of the island, and this is something that we will support them with as well,” Sumaza said.
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