• Innovate Newport’s Food & Beverage Industry Spotlight Series Draws Over 125 Attendees

    Innovate Newport’s Food & Beverage Industry Spotlight Series launched with resounding success on February 15th, attracting over 125 attendees. The event, designed to foster collaboration and innovation within Rhode Island’s vibrant food industry, featured networking opportunities, product showcases, and a dynamic panel discussion.

    Lisa Raiola, Founder & President of Hope & Main, remarked, “Advancing the food industry is a team sport in Rhode Island. Innovate Newport brought us together in the best way to create new energy and ideas where our interests intersect. And, of course, the food was epic!”

    The event commenced with a networking session and a showcase highlighting innovative products and services from emerging food and beverage startups. Exhibitors included Bootblack Brand, Air Tea Company, Betta Bakes, The Mosaic Table, Granny Squibb’s Iced Tea, Hopscotch Foods, and Lil’ Rhody Coffee Company.

    Following the showcase, attendees engaged in a panel discussion on the industry landscape, exploring investment and growth opportunities. Led by Jamie Schapiro of Chef’s Life, the panel included insights from Juli Stelmaszyk of Commerce RI, Lauren Abda of Branchfood, and CEOs Kelley McShane, Brendan O’Donnell, and Carlos Ventura.

    This successful event kicks off a bi-monthly series aimed at connecting entrepreneurs with experts to foster visibility, networking, and growth opportunities. The next spotlight on March 14th will focus on Rhode Island’s burgeoning MedTech industry, with a panel moderated by Aidan Petrie of NEMIC and featuring Neil Steinberg of the RI Life Science Hub, among others.

    “In my 25+ years within the food and beverage industry, this event was a career highlight for me.

    The sold-out event provided such an engaging audience with rich discussions across a dream team panel of experts,” Schapiro commented.

    Mollie Frazer Williams of The Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce highlighted the series as a unique platform for entrepreneurial collaboration and innovation across various sectors, with upcoming events covering Energy Tech, Defense, Material Science & Composites, and Software & Business Services.

    For more information on participating in these events, visit innovatenewport.org or contact Mollie Frazer Williams at mollie@newportchamber.com.

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