My Favorites

Entrepreneurs Will Pitch Their Businesses at Food Entrepreneur Pitch Night at Fire by Forge on Monday June 5

Hartford, CT, May 4, 2023 – reSET, the non-profit entrepreneurial support organization focused on developing businesses with a social mission, invites the community to celebrate the culmination of the fifth Food Incubator program. On June 5th, 2023 the graduates will present their new business pitches at Fire by Forge in Hartford.

“We were impressed with the number and quality of applicants this year, and the entrepreneurs in the cohort represent exciting food ideas that will expand the Connecticut food scene as they grow,” said Sarah Bodley, reSET’s Executive Director. “Thanks in part to new program funding from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, we were able to focus this year’s program on early stage food businesses, while we gear up to launch a new Food Accelerator in the fall for more developed businesses.”

The capstone event of the Food Incubator program will feature the entrepreneur participants presenting their businesses at the Food Entrepreneur Pitch Night, starting at 5:30pm on June 5 at Hartford Culinary Collaborative partner Fire by Forge in Hartford. The event will be open to the public and will include a pitch competition for prize money, as well as networking and an opportunity to meet the entrepreneurs. Tickets for the Food Entrepreneur Pitch Night and event information may be found at:

The food entrepreneurs were selected from a competitive application pool, and this cohort is 100% women and half identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and/or people of color). Since kicking off the Food Incubator program in 2019, reSET has helped 79 early-stage food businesses launch and sustain their growth, including the current class. Business concepts being developed by entrepreneurs in the 2023 cohort range from bakeries, food trucks, frozen food, Latin and Spanish focused food, vegan food, snack foods, and even pet treats!

“This cohort is focusing on more early stage companies than we have in previous Food Incubators, which provides an opportunity to focus the material on the specific needs of early stage food businesses,” said Stefanie Robles, reSET Food Catalyst. “By participating in the reSET Food Incubator, entrepreneurs have a chance to start their business on a strong foundation, and we’re excited to showcase their wonderful business ideas to the community at the Pitch Night.”

The Food Incubator program provides expertise and time for entrepreneurially-minded food people to take the seed of an idea and create a new business. Over the course of three months, the entrepreneurs are developing their food businesses through exploring customer acquisition, market development, financing, business plan structuring, sales channels, and other topics on general business planning and food-specific topics. The program is facilitated by Katrice Claudio, reSET’s Food Program Manager, with assistance from Stefanie Robles, reSET’s Food Catalyst, and members of the Hartford Culinary Collaborative.

2023 Food Business Entrepreneurs are:

Patienet Carter, founder of RUMi Cakes, wants all to enjoy the delicacy of Caribbean treats as much as she enjoys making them from her heart and from her roots.

Whitney Evans, founder of Zone Ziyonne, a vegan food business working to educate eaters on how delicious vegan food can be.

Julie Gauthier, Snack Engineer and founder of Snackaroo Review, an early stage snack purveyor offering snack packages of fruit leather, juice caviar and sweet gems with produce that would otherwise go to waste.

Cherelle McDaniel, founder of Nicy Pies, which offers sweet potato pies based on a beloved family recipe and exploring business opportunities.

Beth Murphy, founder and sugar artist of BAM’s Sweet Treats, is a self-taught baker for over 20 years, she takes pride in creating custom treats that make your celebrations memorable.

Danielle Rasheed, founder and head baker at Whisked by Dani, who delivers and ships premium, baked to order cookies.

Lizzette Rodriguez, founder of Momma’s Boy Empanadas, an early stage business exploring infused and creative empanada flavors to be sold at Farmer’s Markets near you.

Ketevan Rogava, founder of Keti’s Kitchen, which uses regional southern influences to create dishes for a weekly meal delivery service with healthy, fresh and delicious meals for busy families.

Rachel Smith Walsh, founder of The Cookie Maven, a cottage food baker making handmade, craveable cookies with playful and unique flavor combinations, available at pop-up events.

Becky Tkacs, founder of Charlie’s Traveling Treat Truck, a home-based bakery for dogs that uses all natural ingredients, plastic-free and compostable packaging and supports local animals in need.

Ani Widham, founder of Secret Salad, a health food business that sells pre-made frozen food with whole food ingredients, starting with pancakes.

Tomorra Williams, founder of Southern Bell Soul Food, a successful food truck owner with offerings at Yard Goats baseball games, looking to expand.