Sprout BC awarded $50,000 through Catalytic Investment Award

Volunteers assemble grocery orders on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 at Sprout in Battle Creek, Mich.

Volunteers assemble grocery orders on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 at Sprout in Battle Creek, Mich.

Sprout BC has been awarded a $50,000 Catalytic Investment Award from the Michigan Good Food Fund.

The Catalytic Award is given annually to businesses across the state who work to increase healthy food access and spark economic and job creation in their respective communities.

Sprout, a Battle Creek food enterprise that sells locally-made produce and operates in incubator kitchen, was one of five recipients this year.

“I’m proud of the work of our team at Sprout,” CEO Jeremy Andrews said. “I’m proud of the team I’ve been lucky enough to build.”

Once the award recipients were selected, they met together and gave presentations about their businesses and what they’d use the grant money towards. The recipients then decided among themselves how to divide the money.

“We were thrilled to use a participatory award-giving process to ensure that the people who are most affected are the ones making the decisions for their communities,” said Olivia Rebanal, spokesperson for the Michigan Good Food Fund. “These awards will help the entrepreneurs take their community-focused ideas to the next level.”

Andrews said everyone came out of the meeting with what they wanted.

“It was very friendly,” he said. “Something like that could’ve gone any way, but everybody spread their money pretty evenly.”

Sprout BC connects local consumers to local produce through its incubator kitchen and Sprout Box, a subscription program that delivers a customized box of Michigan-made produce to homes, workplaces or other locations of choice on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

The grant will go toward business-planning efforts that will continue to grow Sprout.

“As CEO, I’m always thinking ahead. What’s the future of Sprout? How are we going to evolve? We’re going to develop a sound plan to answer those questions,” Andrews said.

Andrews said some possible future endeavors include expanding to downtown Battle Creek and creating more initiatives that drive people who work, but don’t live, in Battle Creek to local produce.

When Andrews heard that Sprout was selected as a recipient, he thought of everyone who works at Sprout and the hard work they’ve put in to get the business to where it is now, he said, as well as He also thought of everyone in Battle Creek who has supported the business.

“There’s people who work at Sprout who have made this work. There’s a whole community that has supported this idea. I don’t believe there’s any self-made product,” Andrews said.

First published by the Battle Creek Enquirer on January 27, 2020.