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Phoenix contributes $80,000 to expand Local First Arizona’s incubator kitchen concept

Phoenix will use $80,000 in federal coronavirus funds to support food entrepreneurs.

The money will go to Local First Arizona so the nonprofit can expand its incubator kitchen concept to Rio Salado College in west Phoenix. The community college’s existing kitchen doesn’t meet building code requirements and Phoenix’s money will cover a new walk-in cooler.

Every year, about 125 people are expected to use the space at reduced or no cost to grow their businesses located in lower income census tracts — they could be bakeries, food trucks, caterers and restaurants. Local First has similar incubator kitchens in Mesa and south Phoenix for entrepreneurs looking to grow or expand their business.

The facility near 35th Avenue and Thomas Road will also host Local First’s Restaurant Startup Boot Camp. Over six weeks, participants are exposed to mentors and learn about topics like food costing, menu planning, marketing, branding and human resources.

Rio Salado College will provide classroom space and community college credit for program graduates. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: KJZZ is licensed to the Maricopa County Community College District. This story has been updated to clarify the cross streets of the facility.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.