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Food Spark Fall 2023 Class Now Open – Apply Today!

Food Spark covers the entire program, valued at $3,699, excluding a $200 one-time registration fee for awardees

Food Spark

A collaboration between the New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech (CoE) and the Cornell Food and Agriculture Technology Park (Tech Farm), Food Spark is a program for aspiring food and beverage entrepreneurs in New York
Qualified candidates accepted into Food Spark will complete the eCornell Food Product Development Certificate Program.
The interactive certificate is a 10-week virtual program designed by world-class Cornell experts. It will guide participants through all the steps it takes to bring a new food or beverage product to market.
The Food Spark program extends the mission of the Tech Farm, located in Geneva, NY, offering opportunities for growth statewide.
The application below is for the Fall 2023 Food Spark cohort, expected to start September 20, 2023 and end on November 29, 2023.
Qualified applicants not accepted in the Fall 2023 cohort will have an opportunity to be placed on the waitlist for the Spring 2024 cohort, which will run from the end of February 2024 until early May 2024.




Key course takeaways

  • Evaluate the feasibility of a new food product or venture and create a prototype for the idea.
  • Identify the hazards, parameters, and control measures needed to create safe food products that meet targeted quality standards.
  • Determine which processing and packaging system is most appropriate for a given food product.
  • Craft a plan to address the regulations applicable to your food business.
  • Develop a framework to bring a food product, service, or innovation from prototype to market.

Certificate details

  • The course is tentatively scheduled to begin on Sept. 20 and run until Nov. 29.
  • Applications are due Aug 30, or until 50 completed applications are received, whichever comes first.
  • A private cohort of up to 30 students will be selected for the program.
  • The certificate program consists of five courses, each lasting two weeks.
  • The course is entirely virtual and requires around 5-10 hours of work per week to complete.
  • The program operates on an “asynchronous learning” schedule, meaning there are no mandated class or lecture times and all the work can be completed on your own schedule within a certain timeframe.
  • Certificate program developed and virtually led by the faculty professionals at the Cornell Food Venture Center (CFVC).

Eligibility and how to apply

To be considered for this opportunity, you must:

  • Submit an online application.
  • Be a current member of the CoE or Tech Farm, or agree to become a member (it’s free!).
  • If selected for the program, you must provide annual economic impact reports as a member of our food business incubator program.
  • Commit to completing all five courses within the certificate program.

Applications will be judged on five criteria:

  • Focus on early-stage startups
  • Strong desire to start or grow a food or beverage business
  • Statewide eligibility
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Demonstrate project feasibility within the food or beverage sector

Apply by Aug. 30 for your chance to take part in this life-changing program!

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