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Leveling-up Food Entrepreneurship in our City of Gastronomy through Technology, Training, and Tourism

Ideal for: value-added food products & beverages

Ideal for: anyone selling something food-related through eCommerce (e.g. growers, value-added and beverage producers, food experiences, etc.)

Ideal for: anyone selling something food-related (e.g. growers, value-added and beverage producers, food experiences, etc.)


Startup Food Accelerator: REcipes for Success

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Recipes for Success is a free, food business program for existing and aspiring food entrepreneurs. We offer training in early-stage food business development including sustainable business operations, food safety, food costing and financial literacy, small business marketing and communications strategies, permits and licensing and more.

Courses will be primarily in person, with some online modules as well as one-to-one mentorship and coaching. 


  • Weekly class sessions taught by food industry experts 

  • Interactive peer learning with a cohort of 15-20 fellow emerging food business owners

  • 1-1 mentorship sessions with experienced food business experts.

  • Participation in the annual showcase to meet industry stakeholders 

  • Participation in IdeaFunding with a chance to win $5,000 for your business

  • Access to all of the Startup Tucson Network Membership benefits​


Website LaunchBox

Only 14% of regional agricultural producers and value-added food entrepreneurs have a modern eCommerce website set up.  Building your online presence and also creating opportunities for direct-to-consumer purchases can help increase revenues and improve your business. However, developing, launching and maintaining a website can be intimidating for many entrepreneurs.  ​

As part of this program, supported by the USDA, we are building 30 free websites for agriculturally-related business. Our team walks you through the whole process and provide you with the training you need to successfully maintain the site. 



  • We build it, you maintain it. The goal of the website is to build you something that is very easy to hand over and have you maintain on an ongoing basis. We will provide you with training and technical support so that by the time we hand it over fully to you, you feel confident about how to maintain it moving forward. We have partnered with Wix, which we have found is the most user friendly platform that also includes robust eCommerce options. 

  • 12 month hosting and domain are included for free. If you are accepted, we will pay for not only the build but also a full 12 months of hosting, a Premium Business account, and your domain ($324.00/yr). We have partnered with Wix for this project so that your price after the 12 months will be lower for as long as you choose to keep the site. After 12 months, you can choose to take over the build and it will be $243.00/yr (as of June 2021).


  • Custom but not unlimited. This website is meant to be a launch pad for your growth. It will be customized to your look and feel and needs however there will be some parameters about what can and cannot be built under the program. The process will include consultations, edits, training, and also support developing your copy and photography/videos. 


Virtual Tour of Gastronomy


As part of the current project, we will be creating an online platform that connects consumers with local food producers.  

This user-friendly site will leverage marketing dollars and drive traffic to producers sites. Consumers will have a one-stop-shop to access local products.

In future years, we would like to see this platform continue to grow into an interactive "Virtual Regional Tour of Gastronomy" to encourage not only sales, but also stimulate tourism. 

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Are you a food truck or restaurant owner?

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The programs under Food Forward are focused on growers and value-added food producers-- because there are already some amazing programs available for local restaurant and food truck founders. 

Local First AZ has a Restaurant Startup Bootcamp,


The FDA has a Guide to Starting a Food Business,

Here's a blog article about starting a food business in Tucson,

The City of Tucson and Pima County both have checklists for starting a business in these jurisdictions, with links out for food and restaurant specific resources,

And Startup Tucson offers Startup Labs 101 and Startup Fundamentals for businesses of all industries, which are gateways into the rest of our programs and services. 

OUr Partners

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University of Arizona Department of Agricultural Education, Technology and Innovation 

Have questions? Check out the Info Session here.


If you would like to contact the project team,

please email Channing Stirrat at 

Funding for this project was made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant GRANT13114986. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.