Culinary Entrepreneurship

Bolivian native Sandra Suarez at the Union Square Farmers Market.

Nibble Entrepreneurship Program (NEP)

Now in its third year, “NEP” empowers members of our local immigrant communities to explore what it entails to launch a culinary career and test food business ideas. Through this unique NEP program, entrepreneurs:
• hone and share their cooking — by teaching classes, receiving critiques from culinary professionals, vending at festivals & pop-ups
•receive business development instruction and mentoring through workshops by industry professionals
• have direct access and guidance from the city’s Inspectional Services Division and new business support from the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development
• receive hands-on experience and training at a fraction of the cost of any community college or Center for Adult Education
• attend bilingual business workshops; translation offered for all one-on-one mentoring


NEP Accomplishments

We are currently working with a group of 12 entrepreneurs who hail from countries including Venezuela, India, Mexico, Colombia, Somalia and Panama. The group has attended our comprehensive NEP workshops (6 in 2015; 4 in 2016; 9 in 2017) and at least half of our NEP participants are now ServSafe certified. Several students are now pursuing getting their own licenses.

Numerous Nibble participants have taught cooking classes and the majority have vended at Farmers Markets or outdoor festivals. Beginning in 2017, our Nibble entrepreneurs are vending twice a month at the Union Square Farmers Market. Since its inception, Nibble has run 12 pop-up restaurants and catered numerous private events.

Carolina Rendón, with her NEP workshop completion certificate.
NEP participants Estela Calzada (center) and Madhu Nene, seen here with her husband Shashank.

Our Rich Immigrant Communities

The Nibble Entrepreneurship Program focuses on serving multicultural communities because: Immigrants fuel the economy and are twice as likely to start a new business compared to those born in the U.S. (every U.S. Census since 1880) — often those businesses are food related. Also, we want to celebrate and preserve the diverse flavor of Somerville and economically support immigrants in the face of intensified gentrification.

Become a Culinary Entrepreneur!

NEP Inquiries

NEP is currently accepting new participants on a rolling basis. Comments or questions: Somerville Arts Council, phone: 617.625.6600, x 2985; Email Rachel Strutt:

NEP Case Study

Carolina Garcia and Carolina Salinas (also know as “Las Carolinas”), natives of Caracas, Venezuela, have been part of the Nibble Entrepreneurship Program since February of 2016. They have attended all of the NEP workshops, achieved ServSafe certification, developed a business plan, and are currently applying for their own food license. They have held successful pop-up restaurants and have vended at numerous festivals, selling up to 200 plates per event. They specialize in arepas— a type of sandwich made of ground maize dough, that is grilled, and then stuffed with a variety of fillings. To read more about Las Carolinas and arepas, see this blog post: Arepa Showdown.

Carolina García and Carolina Salinas vending arepas.