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National Leaders And Emerging Brands Join the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference February 17 and 18

Whole Foods’ John Mackey, KeHE’s Brandon Barnholt, New Hope’s Carlotta Mast, Cleveland Ave’s Andrea Zopp, and S2G’s Sanjeev Krishnan Headline Premier Food Finance Event

Not even the Covid-19 pandemic can stop leaders in the good food and natural products industry from coming together to support emerging brands, minority businesses, and the growth of the industry. The Good Food Financing & Innovation (F&IC), one of the nation’s leading gatherings of thought leaders, innovators, stakeholders and entrepreneurs, will push through on February 17 and 18, 2021— online. Now in its 12th year, the event will take place between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. CST each day on New Hope Network’s Natural Products EXPO Virtual Platform.

A highlight of the event is the Naturally Chicago Pitch Slam, which gives promising and innovative Midwestern entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their businesses to industry leaders and win a prize package of business services valued at more than $100,000. The package includes a complimentary booth and the opportunity to pitch at New Hope’s 2021 Natural Products Expo East in Philadelphia. Previous Pitch Slam participants have raised more than $150 million in capital.

“We are excited to offer national attendees access to amazing panels and chats with industry leaders, an Innovation Showcase featuring dozens of emerging brands, and the Pitch Slam,” says Naturally Chicago Co-Founder Jim Slama. “With New Hope as a production partner, we are excited to bring this to attendees from across the country.”

While maintaining F&IC’s tradition of insightful programming and business-building networking opportunities, the online format allows the organizers to provide attendees with:

  • Two days of robust and impactful programming (instead of one)
  • Access to even more industry leaders and experts from across the United States
  • 24/7 access to recordings of program sessions once they are uploaded
  • Virtual meeting rooms for pre-scheduling networking appointments.

The world-class lineup includes Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey;  Cleveland Avenue Managing Partner Andrea Zopp; KeHE CEO Brandon Barnholt;  former U.S. Education Secretary and now head of a Chicago-based food co-packer Arne Duncan; Presence Marketing CEO Bill Weiland; Retail grocery  legend Bob Mariano; President of Barilla’s Americas Region JP Comte; Managing Director of S2G Ventures Sanjeev Krishnan; CEO of Farmer’s Fridge Luke Saunders; Plenty Inc. co-founder Nate Storey; Managing Partner of 2X Consumer Growth Partners Andy Whitman; Mondelez Head of SnackFutures Brigette Wolf;  FamilyFarmed Chief Operating Officer Shelby Parchman, and Naturally Chicago Co-Founder Jim Slama,along with many more.

F&IC was launched in partnership with the University of Chicago Booth Business School 12 years ago as the first dedicated food financing conference in America. Since then, the conference has grown significantly and has attracted an array of internationally renowned speakers, judges, and innovative food entrepreneurs. 

Presenting sponsors include: Naturally Chicago, Good Food Accelerator, New Hope Network, Presence Marketing, KeHE, Publicity for Good, Esca Bona, Barilla, The Primal Kitchen, Giannuzzi Lewendon, and Ciulla Associates.

To know more, you may visit https://www.goodfoodfinancing.org.

Heather DeSantis is the CEO and Founder of Publicity for Good (PFG) and Good Side News. Former Miss Ohio International, she leads the firm with a mission to partner with companies who are committed to making the world a better place. Heather has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Entrepreneur, iHeart Media, Business Insider, MSN, Forbes and Inside Edition for her life of living and working full time from an Airstream travel trailer with her fiance Austin.

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