‘Mini-MBA’ for Food-Related Businesses: Santander Opens Applications for Free Cultivate Small Business Program

Santander's signature philanthropic program connects early-stage entrepreneurs with the key ingredients needed to succeed in the food industry.

Have questions? Dallas-area program partner Dallas College can help.

Santander announced that applications are open for Cohort 8 of its Cultivate Small Business program for small food businesses in Dallas, Philadelphia, and Miami.

Santander said the program is “like a mini-MBA for food businesses” and is fully funded by Santander Bank. For Cohort 8, the program is virtual and open to small food-related businesses in Dallas, Philadelphia, and Miami. The application deadline is June 15.

 The 12-week, fully virtual program is free to entrepreneurs and provides them with industry-specific education, networks, and mentoring, as well as the opportunity to apply for capital grants. Santander aims to connect early-stage entrepreneurs with key ingredients needed to succeed in the food business, including food-service related business management skills, technical assistance, and access to a local network of established food-industry experts.

“Entrepreneurs play a critical role in creating jobs and strengthening the communities where they do business,” Patrick Smith, head of consumer and business banking at Santander previously said. “We’re proud that, along with our program partners, we can help entrepreneurs and small business owners who traditionally lack the necessary resources to grow their businesses with the skills and guidance to build their companies and take them to the next level.”

Dallas-area partner Dallas College is here to help

Cristin Thomas

According to Dallas College’s Cristin Thomas, it’s an innovative program from Santander designed for food entrepreneurs. Thomas, who is senior director of small business and entrepreneur innovation at the college, says Santander’s Cultivate Small Business signature philanthropic program is designed to support the growth of early-stage woman-owned, BIPOC, and immigrant-owned food businesses in emerging neighborhoods.

Dallas locals with questions about the program can contact Dallas College, Thomas says.

Other partners include Babson College, ICIC, CommonWealth Kitchen, Temple University’s SBDC, and America’s SBDC of Florida at FUI.

Eligibility and learning more

Program participants should represent a business that meets the following criteria:

  • Participants should reside in or represent a business located in a low-to-moderate income, urban area in Dallas-Fort Worth.
  • Gross/net revenues of $25,000 to $1,000,000 in the most recent full calendar year.
  • Minimum of one year in operation as of March 1.
  • Between one and 10 full-time equivalent employees
  • Food-related industries including processing, technology, manufacturing, and food services

Two information sessions will be held (May 16 and June 7) in which participants will:

  • Learn about the program structure and timing
  • Hear from a program alumnus about their experience
  • Share details about the qualifications and application process
  • Question and answer

To apply for the program, go here. To register for one of the two information sessions, go here.

Santander Consumer USA is a Dallas-based consumer finance company affiliated with Santander Bank. It focuses on vehicle finance and unsecured lending.

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