SBA to host ‘matchmaker’ event for food-related entrepreneurs, lenders

HOPE & MAIN, dubbed Rhode Island’s first incubator for culinary businesses, will be the site of a “matchmaker” event by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Rhode Island office to pair small businesses in food-related industries with lenders to help them start or expand their operations.

WARREN – The U.S. Small Business Administration will host a “matchmaker” event on Tuesday, April 30, for small businesses in food-related industries to meet with lenders in 15-minute “speed dating” intervals, the agency said.

The event will be at the Hope & Main culinary business incubator at 681 Main St. in Warren from 2-5 p.m. Thirteen lending institutions have committed to attend the event. Attendees will be able to pitch their funding proposals to a variety of lenders to secure financing to start or grow their companies, the SBA said.

The event is targeting small businesses such as restaurants, food trucks, bars, cafes, bakeries, food manufacturers and food wholesalers. Attendees also will be able to meet SBA technical assistant partners to fine-tune their funding proposals or any other business-related needs. Those partners include the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center, the Rhode Island Service Corps of Retired Executives, the Center for Women & Enterprise, and the Veterans Business Outreach Center.

“Restaurants, cafes and other small businesses in the food sector are such an important part of the state’s hospitality industry,” said SBA Rhode Island District Director Mark S. Hayward. “It is vital that we help these local businesses gain access to the funding they need to help them thrive and keep our economy strong.”

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Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at

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