Nibble Entrepreneurship Program (NEP)

Now in its fifth year, “NEP” empowers members of our local immigrant communities to explore what it entails to launch a culinary career and test food business ideas. What makes NEP unique is the combination of classroom experience and real-life vending opportunities. Our entrepreneurs:

  • receive business development instruction and mentoring through workshops by industry professionals
  • have the opportunity to hone and share their cooking — by teaching classes, receiving critiques from culinary professionals, and vending at the new Nibble Kitchen restaurant in Union Square
  • 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
  • receive access to further vocational resources

NEP Accomplishments 

Since 2015 we have worked with 15 entrepreneurs who hail from countries including El Salvador, Mexico, Colombia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Brazil and Bangladesh. Each year our NEP participants have attended our culinary business workshop series (6 in 2015; 4 in 2016; 9 in 2017; 5 in 2018, 5 in 2019). 75% of our NEP group are ServeSafe certified. Numerous NEP participants have taught cooking classes and at least 50% have vended at Farmers Markets or outdoor festivals. Since 2015, NEP entrepreneurs have vended with Nibble (festivals, catered events, farmers markets, pop-up restaurants) over 80 times. Now that we have a brick-and-mortar restaurant, our active Nibble chefs are each vending once per week. Nibble graduates have gone on to: teach classes at Milk Street Kitchen; land jobs in restaurants; take further vocational culinary courses; and, open a new restaurant.

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!

Do you like to cook? Are you curious about learning more about what it takes to launch a culinary career? NEP will launch a new series of workshops beginning in winter of 2020. Comments or questions: Somerville Arts Council, phone: 617.625.6600, x 2985; Email Rachel Strutt: rstrutt (at) somervillema.gov

Some NEP Partners

  • Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development
  • SomerViva/City of Somerville Communications Department

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 specialize in arepas— a type of sandwich made of ground maize dough, that is grilled, and then stuffed with a variety of fillings. Garcia and Salinas have: attended all of the NEP workshops; achieved ServSafe certification; held successful pop-up restaurants; and vended at numerous festivals, selling up to 200 plates per event. Over the past year they have worked doggedly to open their own restaurant, which they achieved in September 2019. Read all about the duo’s new Venezuelan restaurant.