Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 23, 2021

BrightBridge Capital, Proof Incubator partner to serve food, beverage industry

Tiffany Pauldon-Banks is the owner of Lil Mama’s Chicago Style Hoagy in Chattanooga. She participated in Proof’s business incubator in 2020 to prepare for her launch earlier this year. - Photograph provided

BrightBridge Capital and Proof Incubator are collaborating to serve new and existing businesses in the food and beverage industry.

BrightBridge, a Chattanooga-based nonprofit economic development agency, and Proof will focus on education and acceleration for owners and operators in the restaurant industry.

Proof operates a brick-and-mortar space in which it temporarily hosts restaurant concepts by local chefs and provides a curriculum that guides operators through managing supply chain issues, handling cash flow, pricing menus and complying with health code updates.

Operators receive one-on-one coaching with Proof’s team members, who provide a total of 100 years of industry experience.

Proof works with regional economic development partners, such as Chambers of Commerce, entrepreneur centers and small business development centers to bring programming to businesses in individual markets.

Through the partnership, BrightBridge will instruct Proof’s clients on how to access the different types of capital available from traditional lenders and investors, as well as serve as a provider of non-bank funding for those who cannot obtain conventional financing.

Since March 2020, Proof has hosted courses in Chattanooga, Knoxville, the Tri-Cities area and Cookeville, and plans to launch offerings in North Georgia, Alabama and Central and West Tennessee.

Tiffany Pauldon-Banks, owner of Lil Mama’s Chicago Style Hoagy in Chattanooga, went through Proof’s incubator in 2020 to prepare for her launch earlier this year. Proof assisted her with building out operating procedures for employees and food cost analysis, and ultimately was able to help Banks lower her food costs.

“So many unexpected things come up in the industry, but with Proof, I have someone to call for help,” Banks says. “It gave me a sense of confidence. Now when I’m making decisions for the restaurant, I can reach out to someone who’s experienced and gone through the same things.”

Source: BrightBridge Capital