Helping small businesses in Kalamazoo.

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Can-Do Kalamazoo

Can-Do Kalamazoo has been building foundations and removing barriers to food business ownership since 2008. We provide commercial kitchen space, food business incubation, workshops, and scholarships to entrepreneurs. We work collaboratively with our members and partners and are a hub for food business networking. Starting and growing your food business with the Can-Do Kalamazoo increases the likelihood of success by providing a lower risk environment to test your ideas. We’ll show you a roadmap, help you identify your next steps, and guide you in developing your business model. We’re aware of the regulations and challenges you will face along the way and are there to support entrepreneurs.

In 2020, donors made it possible to reach so many in our community—entrepreneurs who need us to continue to build foundations and remove barriers to food business ownership through experiential education and access to commercial kitchen facilities and other resources. Here are some milestones to be proud of in 2020:

  • We’ve had 56 incubation support meetings with members, campers, and graduates.
  • Monthly Group Tour & Info Sessions provided free business guidance to 39 entrepreneurs.
  • Can-Do Camp provided step-by-step food business startup support to 23 entrepreneurs.

Commercial Kitchen

Our 1,800-square foot kitchen facility has prep and production space that suits makers of packaged foods, meal deliveries, direct-to-consumer meats, beverages, acidified canned goods, and catered foods. Cold, frozen, and dry storage, a blast chiller, 60-quart mixer, and dish washer are also available. The kitchen is available for hourly rental, eliminating the need to sign a lease and all the overhead that comes with it.

Group Tour & Info Sessions

Our free monthly tours allow interested food producers to see our kitchen and rates, learn about our services and licensing, and develop next steps.

Can-Do Camp

Our 16-week startup food business incubation course helps new food entrepreneurs develop their ideas. It also supports cottage law food businesses and existing businesses step back and build foundations so they can go to the next level. We provide guidance via presentations, resource guides, mentors, industry connections, tastings, and incubation meetings to help with:

  • Market research strategies
  • Target customer and brand development
  • Business entity, structure, insurance
  • Food licensing guidance
  • Food packaging and labeling
  • Budgeting and product pricing
  • Online marketing and webpages
  • Sourcing ingredients
  • Business Model Canvas
  • Feedback from peers and Chefs
  • Transitioning to commercial production

Plus, we have incubation support, Can-Do Crate, mentor mixers, scholarships and more!  You can learn more about our values, our programs, and our Family of Businesses.

Contact Information

  • Can-Do Kalamazoo
    3501 Lake St
    Kalamazoo, MI 49048
  • Lucy Dilley
  • Executive Director
  • (269) 492-0261

Congratulations to Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry for receiving his first loan through Northern Initiatives. With help from his SCORE mentor, Cheri Bales, Gregory did a fantastic job on developing his business plan and showing real entrepreneurial spirit. We wish you much success, and look forward to your upward movement. You are a wonderful role model.

—Gregory Shelton of Grand Unique Laundry

I appreciate your ears for listening, your eyes that see my vision and your heart that makes you who you are.  I thank you for your time. You are making a difference.

—Shawntel Lindsey, Director, The Artbor Community Connections Center

The WMed Innovation Center is a perfect environment for innovation to grow and become a successful commercial enterprise.


WMU Business Connection logo

Whether you are seeking a research partner or want to enlist the help of student groups in developing business plans, or just looking for ways to engage with WMU, the Business Connection office can find the resource to help move your business forward.


A loan (from Local Initiatives Support Corporation) helped expand our cafe to triple our seating, add a kids space, increase much needed staff work areas, and make other improvements to the space.


MEL logo

The Michigan eLibrary (MeL) is the State of Michigan’s digital library. It has excellent resources available to Michigan residents at no cost.


Western Michigan University’s Starting Gate helped me take an idea and transform it into a much more attainable reality. Whether providing talks with investors and business owners or accountability, the ultimate goal is helping your business succeed.

—Peter Shutt

Kalamazoo County Land Bank logo

The Kalamazoo Land Bank did robust community engagement around the vision and gave us something to work with that was solidly desired by people in the neighborhood. Having a vision meant we had to protect it. That’s something I thank the Land Bank for. It was difficult. It didn’t make anything faster or easier, but we got a better project in the end as a result of it.

—Matt Hollander

Buy Local logo

Buy Local Greater Kalamazoo is a hard working grassroots group focused on the greater Kalamazoo community and its small businesses. Their events and networking opportunities are the best!

—Cheri Bales

SBDC logo

Michigan SBDC is a great company providing top notch service to local businesses all over Michigan. The consultants are professional and the student workers contribute with excellent work!

—Martin Herman Sorensen