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Rutgers Food Innovation Center

Bridgeton, N.J.

Lou Cooperhouse, director

Year established: 2001

Incubator size: 2,700 square feet (expanding to 23,000 square feet in 2007) Incubator clients: About 150 clients annually

Incubator graduates: The Rutgers Food Innovation Center has provided mentoring services and educational seminars to 725 clients to date.

http://foodinnovation.rutgers.edu

Achievements: In the last six years, the Rutgers Food Innovation Center (a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University) has assisted more than 700 entrepreneurs in the food and agricultural industries. Even more impressive is that it did so with only 2,700 square feet of office space. From a downtown Bridgeton, N.J., office, Director Lou Cooperhouse and his staff have provided entrepreneurs with assistance in business development, market research, product and process development, quality assurance and food safety. "The greatest success of the incubator has been the impacts that we have been able to achieve for our clients without even having an incubator facility," Cooperhouse says. "Several of these clients have received international recognition because of our efforts."

The staff will be able to serve even more entrepreneurs when the Rutgers Food Innovation Center moves into a 23,000-square-foot incubator facility featuring shared-use food processing facilities later this year. The incubator raised 100 percent of the funding for the construction project through federal, state and community grants. "Our successes with clients have enabled us to raise over $12 million in capital and operational funding over a four-year period and we will be entirely debt-free in the new incubator facility," Cooperhouse says.

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