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Business Observer Friday, Mar. 3, 2017 1 year ago

Chefs get new workspace

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Immokalee, sometimes overlooked for business development in rural eastern Collier County, is about the get a heaping portion of entrepreneurial assistance.

Immokalee, sometimes overlooked for business development in rural eastern Collier County, is about the get a heaping portion of entrepreneurial assistance.

It will come in the Florida Culinary Accelerator @ Immokalee. The Airpark Boulevard facility, say Collier officials, is designed to jump start chef entrepreneurs, farmers and small food businesses through an affordable, state-of-the-art kitchen that meets local, state and federal regulatory standards.

Construction of the 5,274-square-foot kitchen, which will be built in a renovated warehouse, is underway and expected to be completed by June 30. The facility, officials add, will also feature shared-use, food-processing space for a broad array of hot and cold products, produce, sauces, baked goods, juices and beverages. The University of Florida's Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences' Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee will provide an adjacent food-testing lab.

“This is another bold and well calculated project to establish infrastructure needed to stimulate the diversification of Collier County's economy,” Jace Kentner, director of the Collier County Office of Business & Economic Development, says in the statement.

The facility is the second office for the Naples Accelerator, a business incubator and help center that helps companies with startup issues and find funding. The Florida Culinary Accelerator @ Immokalee will also provide financial, marketing and food certification classes for chef/entrepreneurs.

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