The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce spotlighted LAUNCH Chattanooga and its Kitchen Incubator of Chattanooga (KIC) is a recent edition of the Chamber’s Business TREND newsletter. The more than 10,000 square foot food-centric start-up space designed to remove barriers faced by many entrepreneurs of color. “Our goal is to shrink the inequitable wealth gap and create generational wealth by providing a collaborative community, real business opportunities, and empowering our KIC members to grow and thrive,” KIC writes on its webpage.
The article (click here) spotlights Stephanie Steiman and her award-winning beverage company, Chei-Man Tea. She started the business in what is described as a “vintage horse trailer” in 2018 after becoming a single mother who was trying to generate enough income for herself and four kids — three of whom were about to enter college. Today, Steiman is one of 20 entrepreneurs operating out of KIC that is equipped with five manufactured good spaces, six bakery stations, eight commercial kitchen stations, dry and refrigerated storage, and a food truck commissary.
Following LAUNCH’s mission of empowering underrepresented communities, 53 percent of kitchen incubator businesses are Black-owned and 65 percent of the businesses are women-owned. When the article was written, it was noted that the incubator has launched a little more than 450 businesses, 81 percent of which are still operating, helping create 586 jobs and training nearly 1,000 high school students.