Cultivate Small Business

Building and sustaining early-stage businesses

Santander’s Cultivate Small Business Program helps early-stage entrepreneurs build and sustain businesses in the food industry, with a focus on woman-, immigrant-, and BIPOC-owned businesses.  The 12-week program is completely FREE to entrepreneurs and provides a food-focused curriculum, mentorship, coaching, and small capital grants.

The program, fully funded by Santander, began in 2017 with an inaugural group of 30 entrepreneurs from the Greater Boston area.  We have offered the program each year since and are now supporting 180 entrepreneurs annually in six major markets: Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Dallas and Miami.

The program runs two cohorts each year and targets businesses that:

  • are woman-, immigrant-, or BIPOC-owned businesses in the food industry
  • have been in operation for at least one year at the time of application
  • have revenues between $25,000 and $1,000,000 in the last calendar year


Applications for businesses in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts are closed for Cohort Five (Spring 2022) and will reopen for Cohort Seven (Spring 2023) in November.  You can view our Cohort Five entrepreneurs here.

Applications are being accepted for businesses in Philadelphia, Dallas and Miami (Cohort Six) until June 15, 2022.   Classes will run from September through November 2022.

To apply, please visit our application link or reach out to with any questions or to learn about future cohorts.

“It’s just so nice being in an environment where people understand what you’re going through. Because the outside world really doesn’t. Just to talk about things — to look at all the different aspects, to connect with people who have been doing this for a number of years, and to learn the lessons they have learned-has been amazing.”

Mona Ahmad
Owner of Mona’s Curryations and Cohort 2 Alumni


Santander is proud to work with our dedicated program partners: Initiative for A Competitive Inner City (ICIC), CommonWealth Kitchen (CWK) and Babson College.  Our 2022 Local Recruitment Partners include CommonWealth Kitchen (Massachusetts), Columbia-Harlem SBDC (New York), LAEDA (New Jersey), SBDC at Temple University (Philadelphia), Impact Ventures (Dallas) and Florida SBDC at FIU Business (Miami).

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