The Tehama County Economic Development Team hosted the second annual collaborative business owner meeting where USDA Rural Development California State Director Kim Dolbow Vann announced Tehama County has been awarded a $40,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study to turn the Red Bluff Community Center kitchen into a kitchen incubator.
“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to the economic development challenges rural communities face,” said Vann. “Through USDA’s Rural Business Development Grant program we are assisting Tehama County with the tools they need to build new workforce opportunities and strengthen the local economy.”
Amanda Jenkins, the Tehama County Economic Development liaison explained, “A kitchen incubator is a licensed commercial space available for rent that is certified for food production and fosters entrepreneurship. This allows food entrepreneurs to produce food while staying in compliance with regulations and without having to spend capital to build or lease their own facility. It reduces barriers to success for start-ups in the food industry.”
Rachelle Gould from Field to Fork Tehama, LLC and Orle Jackson from Tehama Together spoke to the group in support of this project and on benefits a kitchen incubator would have on Tehama County.
During the meeting, business owners also discussed workforce attraction, retention and development, including barriers to success, solutions and best practices. Common themes were boosting employee engagement, attracting the right candidates for your business and investing in our future workforce. Best practices included, creatively promoting company culture to find the right candidates, fostering relationships between schools and businesses and a campaign to combat negativity and tell our story in Northern California.
The group also heard from speakers from NoRTEC and GO-Biz on workforce programs and incentives available to businesses.