Now Open! Mill River Eatery, our new Pop-Up Dining Hall       LEARN MORE
  • Collage image of a river walk in a small town, an instructor teaching a small group of entrepreneurs, and an entrepreneur selling baked goods


We are devoted to helping Chicago area entrepreneurs launch, grow, and expand their businesses 

Our mission is to build and educate a network of food manufacturers, food service providers, and food growers to deliver the value of locally produced, developed and/or sourced products to the community.

<b>We are all things food</b>

We are all things food

If you sell food, make food, or grow food, this is the place for you!

<b>We are local</b>

We are local

Food that is grown, prepared, or manufactured in our community!

<b>We are entrepreneurs</b>

We are entrepreneurs

Business owners with a passion for food!

We have a unique perspective on what it takes to be a successful food entrepreneur. Our team has decades of experience in the food industry and we’ve learned a lot from launching our own businesses. Our hope is to be able to share our knowledge and experience with you, then watch you grow!

Contact us to become a part of our expanding network.
We look forward to meeting you!

      Contact Us          Call Us: 815.991.5053

John Richards

John is a veteran of the food industry. He has over 30 years experience working in key business functions like sales, marketing, finance, and supply chain. After holding leadership positions with global consumer packaged goods manufacturers like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and Wrigley, John decided to apply everything he had learned over the years to helping small food businesses and start-ups.

Sybil Ege

Sybil has extensive experience building businesses. Since her corporate career, where she grew a company from 12 employees to over 850, Sybil has launched several of her own businesses. In addition, she has served as a center director for the Illinois Small Business Development Center and a business coach at the Next Level Northwest business accelerator. Sybil’s specialties are business planning, marketing, and franchising, but mostly she just loves watching other entrepreneurs bloom into successful business owners.
Sign up for The Business of Food newsletter! We’ll help you keep up to date with all that’s happening in the food industry and share tips to help you manage your business.