George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Project Food and Beverage

Finding new models for local food and beverage distribution and production with an emphasis on helping underserved communities in Northern Virginia create a more impactful future.

 pfb joomla

What is Project Food and Beverage?

Project Food & Beverage helps underserved business owners1 strengthen and position their retail food and beverage businesses for post-Covid-19 growth. Organized by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and supported with an investment from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Build Back, Dream Forward initiative, the Project exposes participating businesses to mentors, peers, strategies and frameworks, networks and resources to help grow their businesses to new levels. The program will be online, with a select few in-person meetings (with physical distancing). Mentors will be individually assigned and will offer small group sessions.

>> Applications Are Open <<


Why Project Food and Beverage?

Now is a time of tremendous opportunity as markets reset and consumers demand new products and services. This is especially true across the food and beverage retail chain. Project Food & Beverage will help underserved retail food and beverage business owners develop strategies, create customer value, and grow capital.

Who is eligible to participate?

Underserved owners and operators of existing small businesses in the retail Food and Beverage2 industry in Northern Virginia, including the products and supply chain supporting the retail food and beverage industry.

Eligible firms could include, but are not limited to, farms, restaurants, food and beverage retailers, consumer packaging firms, food and beverage distributors, catering and food prep firms, nutrition and culinary services, training and materials providers, and more.

Applicant businesses must be between 6 months to 10 years old with an annual revenue of between $100,000 - $2,000,000.

The owner/operator MUST be interested in and dedicated to growing the venture in the next 12 to 36 months with measurable metrics (revenues, locations, employees). The applicant must be able to communicate a basic plan and metrics for the projected business growth.

Program details:

The APPLICATION for Project Food and Beverage is now live. The program will run from March 2021 through December 2021.

  • At Least Eight (8) Synchronous (real time) Online Cohort Sessions o The program will have at least 8 synchronous (online, real time) sessions focused on specific topics supporting building back and dreaming forward. Sessions will be recorded for later use by participants and team members who are unable to attend live session.
  • Session will feature an expert guest speaker on that topic with a focus on underserved business experiences and perspectives
  • Sessions will have matching materials (readings, podcasts, videos) and session topics will include
  • Value propositions and business models
  • Blue Ocean strategy and customer segments
  • Marketing and communications (including social media and presenting and communicating in a post Covid-19 economy)
  • Technology, logistics and physical space in today's economy
  • Social capital and wealth creation
  • Mentor matching for participating businesses
  • Online mentoring and discussion boards
  • Individual coaching sessions on topics identified by cohort members
  • Two to our in-person, socially distanced meet-ups for cohort members

Additional Information

For additional information, contact pfb@gmu.edu or call 703-993-1768.


1Underserved Populations means individuals and groups of people who face barriers in accessing and using relevant resources, assets, institutions and services, and includes populations underserved because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, underserved racial and ethnic populations, and populations underserved because of special needs (such as language barriers, disabilities, or age).

2The Retail Food and Beverage (F&B) industry includes all companies involved in producing, processing, packaging, transporting, and distributing edible goods for retail sale and distribution—from the farm or factory to the fork. The F&B industry is one of the world's largest industries with regards to both revenue and employment.