Office Hours: Incubators and the Plague Year: Lessons from Startup Classes During Turmoil

May. 4, 2021 at 1:54 PM

When it comes to overcoming obstacles for new food and beverage companies, experience helps. So does a little carefully-chosen coursework and a network of advisors -- all things that brand incubators try to provide.

In the past year, an unprecedented set of challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced new brands to recalibrate many of the business plans they worked so hard to create -- and offered incubators new insight into the kinds of tools brands need to thrive in times of crisis.

This month’s Office Hours assembled leaders from three leading incubation programs to get strategic advice for brands on overcoming the kinds of obstacles they face as they grow, and ways that they can pivot safely when they’re met with unexpected challenges. The takeaway: tough times aren’t always end times, and our conversation with these leaders shows us why. The panelists also explored some of the challenges and opportunities that are specific to minority-owned or minority-led food and beverage startups during the last year.

Subriana Pierce, the founder of Navigator Sales and Marketing and the Navigator Foundation, Natalie Schmulick, CEO of The Hatchery, and Michelle Breyer, COO of the SKU Incubator in Austin, Texas all joined BevNET’s Jeff Klineman and a studio audience to share ideas, questions and answers.

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