The Team

Introducing the next cohort of ICA Accelerator companies!

Since first launching in 2016 as the first small business accelerator dedicated to the creation of good jobs, the ICA Accelerator has served more than 30 Bay Area-based companies. These small businesses, a majority of which have been led by people of color and women, have continually shown that strong business results and a commitment to equity can go hand in hand. ICA Accelerator companies demonstrate dynamic growth, have scalable models, and share a commitment to wealth creation and job quality. In sum, Accelerator graduates have collectively raised almost $20MM in outside investment capital and paid millions in local wages. In 2019 alone, they employed 327 workers and paid an average wage in excess of $22 per hour.

2020 has undoubtedly been a challenging year for the small business community. ICA companies have been hit hard by the global pandemic and, since March, the ICA team has been working to meet the evolving needs of our entire small business community. ICA has launched a new 0%-interest loan program, created new ways of adding value for our entrepreneurs, and remained committed to the proven impact generated by the ICA Accelerator.

As we help our community along the long road to economic recovery, the work being done in the ICA Accelerator is more important than ever. That’s why we are so happy to officially introduce eight new companies joining the ICA Accelerator.

The logos of the eight new ICA Accelerator companies.

Meet Cohort 6

The companies joining this cohort are Brundo Ethiopian Spices, The Damel, Don Bugito, Global Grub, Nyum Bai, Renewal Mill, Rocky’s Market, and Smoke Berkeley. The eight companies were selected by the ICA Program team earlier this year and their engagement with the Accelerator officially launched last month. Over the course of their sixteen-week engagement, they will be receiving 1-on-1 mentoring, participating in cohort-based workshops, and receiving practical business education. The group will be participating in an online Pitch Event on November 19th as part of their culmination (you’re invited).

Though all eight of the C6 small businesses have been impacted by the pandemic, they employ dozens of local workers and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bay Area wages. You might also recognize three of companies from the prior cohort – C5. Brundo Ethiopian Spices, Global Grub, and Rocky’s Market – are all returning after their prior engagement was cut short by the impacts of COVID-19.

→ We also encourage you to SAVE THE DATE for the C6 Pitch Event (virtual, of course) November 19th at 10:30am!

Brundo Ethiopian Spices

Brundo Ethiopian Spices is an Ethiopian spice and product importer, store-front, and e-commerce shop. Brundo was born in 2011, when owner Fetlework Tefferi found it difficult to source the right spices for her restaurant, Cafe Colucci. She decided to take control of her supply chain by opening a small spice production facility in Ethiopia and a store in Oakland. Brundo’s West Oakland branch is run by General Manager Aderaw Yeshiwas.


The Damel

Chef Oumar Diouf created The Damel, to serve Afro-Brazilian Cuisine take-out and delivery in a chef-owned and family-run restaurant. The Damel is the only restaurant serving West African and South American cuisine, in the US. Based in Oakland, in addition to serving delicious food in quick service setting, The Damel offers catering services as well as wholesale to restaurants, cafes and other food outlets. Chef Diouf’s aim is to create an entirely sustainable food service business with affordable products.


Don Bugito

Monica Martinez is the founder and CEO of Don Bugito, the first edible insect food business and farm in the Bay Area. Monica, a native of Mexico City began her food career at La Cocina Food Incubator program in 2010, since then she has been an advocate and educator about the future of food and sustainable agriculture. Don Bugito has been reviewed by the FAO, Nova PBS, PRI’s The World, WSJ and Wired to mention few.


Global Grub

Global Grub is a simpler way to experience global cooking created by Carley Sheehy. Its global cooking kits allow anyone to make delicious global meals at home. Kits include: DIY Mochi, DIY Sushi, DIY Ravioli, and DIY Tamales. Founder Carley is avid home-cook and traveler; she was inspired to start Global Grub to allow anyone to taste the flavors she has on her travels around the world (to 20 countries and counting so far).


Nyum Bai

Nite Yun founded Nyum Bai with one vision: to preserve and share Cambodian culture through food. The idea to start Nyum Bai came to Yun at a small noodle stall in Phnom Penh. Yun realized a need to bring the beauty of Cambodia back with her to the States and represent for a culture that’s been tainted by war and genocide. She recreated her mother’s recipes from scratch, put together a menu, & set out to introduce Cambodian street food classics to the Bay Area.


Renewal Mill

Co-founded by Claire Schlemme and Caroline Cotto, Renewal Mill is a next generation ingredients company that up-cycles food production byproducts into high-quality ingredients. Claire and Caroline share a deep passion for sustainability and are on a mission to fix a broken food system. Renewal Mill is the result of their shared vision of drastically improving the efficiency of today’s food system, ensuring that 100% of the food we produce is put to its best & highest use — feeding people.


Rocky’s Market

Brady Bellis and his partner Corinne Kinczel run historic Rocky’s Market in Montclair, Oakland offering specialty groceries, prepared food, craft beer, fine wine, a coffee bar, and much more. A neighborhood fixture, Rocky’s Market is currently expanding to a second location in Brooklyn Basin, and seeks to bring its grab-and-go line, Two Local Girls, to a broader Oakland audience.


Smoke Berkeley

Founded by husband and wife team, Jed Riffe and Tina Ferguson, Smoke Berkeley is a Texas BBQ restaurant and catering company serving fresh made food daily at Smoke Berkeley @ Spats Bar in Downtown Berkeley. Smoke Berkeley caters to individuals, CAL, nonprofits and companies in East Bay and San Francisco. For the last eight years Chef Tina has hired and trained many people coming out of prisons and other institutions – an important part of Smoke Berkeley's mission.

→ Interested in Accelerating your business? Check out the ICA Accelerator and get in touch.