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A majority of founders and leadership in growing companies in the food and beverage space have reported that they expect to see growth in 2020.  Even after the volatility and challenges of 2020, the food and beverage industry as a whole is looking forward to 2021 to see what products will impact and hit with consumers and the marketplace.  Join us to explore and examine that “growth” as part of our Founders Series for 2021 – the conversation that founders and leadership from growing companies across the Midwest want to be a part of!

The Founders Series has been re-imagined for 2021, in partnership with Foodbevy and CA Fortune, we are looking to industry experts, a wide range of successful and growing founders, and our own partners to provide hands-on learning opportunities around each of our primary topic areas.  Join us to explore how your peers and industry can help you tackle growth in 2021.


Founders Series: Finance in Food and Beverage                                                        Dive into the world of finance. Too often incredible companies with amazing products are unable to scale because they lack a good handle on finances. Join us to discuss the importance of finance and accounting processes in food and beverage. From e-commerce, raising funds, alternative financing, and equity with co-manufacturing relationships, we are bringing together the experts to help you navigate the spectrum of financial questions and scenarios you are bound to face

Register for this 60-minute virtual event featuring our speakers and guests.  Join the conversation during the Q&A portion and engage with our panel of speakers.

AGENDA: (All times CST) 

  • 11:00am:  Welcome
  • 11:05am:   Expert Panel Conversation 
  • 11:50am: Q&A
  • 12:00pm: Close



See the source imageEmily Griffith, Founder & CEOLil Bucks

“It all started while enjoying a life-changing acai bowl by the beach in Sydney, Australia. The bowl had THE BEST taste and texture, and I felt amazing after eating it. Turns out the secret ingredient here, providing gluten-free protein, fiber, antioxidants, and that yummy crunch, was sprouted buckwheat! The Aussies love it. I became obsessed (obviously) and am on a mission to share the love of sprouted buckwheat with other crunch-lovin’, health-conscious cool cats, all-the-while promoting sustainable farming in the U.S.A.”

Shayna HarrisCo-Founder & Managing Director,      Supply Change Capitol

Shayna is the co-founder and Managing Director of Supply Change Capitol, a Chicago-based, early-stage venture capital firm investing in food systems change. She has been an executive at venture-backed, fast-growth start-ups including Farmer’s Fridge and Sourcemap. Previously she established the sustainable procurement program at Mars. Shayna has spent her career developing sustainable food strategies in more than 20 countries. Shayna serves on the Board of Directors of Sourcemap (traceability software), Sitka Salmon Shares (DtC seafood), and Doselva (Agroforestry grown herbs & spices). A longtime advocate for equity in the food system, she founded Chicago Fair Trade in 2005. Shayna earned her MBA from MIT, was named a Fulbright Scholar, and holds her BA from Boston University with a dual degree in International Relations and Political Science. Shayna is a contributing writer at Forbes as well as a published author

Ethan Holmes, Founder/CEO, Holmes Made Foods, LLC

At the age of 15, Ethan Holmes launched Holmes Made Foods LLC with his grandfather’s applesauce recipe and ambitious dreams of entrepreneurial success. From humble origins in his family’s kitchen – acquiring raw materials as Christmas gifts – Holmes built his brand of all-natural applesauce through sweat equity and persistence. Over the past 10+ years, Holmes has diligently grown his operations and distribution by leveraging his personal network, pitching his product at every opportunity, and listening to the advice of business mentors. Along the way, Holmes and his company have won a number of entrepreneur pitch competitions, earning capital infusions to fuel business growth, including a spot in the 2020 Chobani Incubator.


Jordan Buckner, Founder  Foodbevy & Founder  TeaSquares

Jordan Buckner is on a mission to help food and beverage companies build successful businesses, and launched to create a pipeline for companies to grow from startup to scale by reducing the resource and network gaps.  Jordan also co-founded TeaSquares, a line of superfood energy bars designed to help people stay focused and alert so they could achieve their passions. 

Steve Gaither, Chief Marketing OfficerCA Fortune

Steve Gaither is the Chief Marketing Officer at C.A. Fortune, and leads the C.A. Branding pillar. Founded as JB Chicago, C.A. Branding is an integrated marketing agency whose clients range from Fortune 500, middle-market, to emerging brands.  As a mentor at the Good Food Business Accelerator, ICNC, the Food Foundry, Chicagoland Food and Bev, and The Hatchery, his relationships with entrepreneurs led him to co-found the Windy City Troublemakers, an early-stage food meetup in Chicago. Steve was formerly a partner in Spiral Sun Ventures and Windy City Food Brands, where he and his fellow CPG experts provided the capital and go-to market strategies that help brands accelerate their growth. Steve graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Architecture and Planning. He resides in Munster, Indiana with his wife and three children.

Event Details
10. 21. 2021
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Free – $10