Local Innovators Institute

Local Innovators Institute Logo

Want to start a restaurant? Do you have a new food concept? Overwhelmed? Then you have come to the right place! We are here to help reduce the risk associated with the food industry. Local Innovators is a 7-week educational course that covers business plan development, menu pricing, New Mexico Health Department requirements, and branding; as well as hands-on experience in our food truck.

Lovington MainStreet’s economic transformation goal is to create a dining and entertainment district in downtown. To ensure our success, we have developed a restaurant accelerator pilot program to assist innovative entrepreneurs.

How Does It Work?

The program includes 5 weeks of classroom training and 2 weeks of hands-on training in “Big Blue” (i.e., mobile food truck use).

Restaurant mentors and presenters teach an intensive crash-course on how to open and run a restaurant. Candidates will meet twice a week for 2 hours during March, and training times are selected by the candidates. This program does not interfere with a regular full- time job.

Upon completion of in-classroom training, candidates are given the opportunity to test their concept in “Big Blue” (our mobile food truck) for 2 weeks. During the time they use the food truck, participants will be required to report a weekly Profit & Loss statement, and 3% of profits will be paid to Lovington MainStreet. Participants will keep 97% of the profits made during their time in food truck. Participants will also present to investors and bankers in a “Demo Day” at the end of the program.

Please note that there is a competitive application process and $50 application fee; we will only be selecting 5 candidates.

Tell Me More!

The Local Innovators Institute runs once a year, with applications opening January and closing in February. Applicants must pitch their concept to our selection committee. After the candidates present their concepts, we will select the 5 participants in mid-February and begin in-classroom training in March. Upon completion of 13 hours in required instructional time, each candidate will spend 2 weeks running “Big Blue” in Downtown Lovington. The food truck will be stationary and must remain in the MainStreet District.

How Do I Apply?

NOTE: Applications for the 2022 Cohort are now closed.

There is a $50 application fee and a questionnaire. To complete the application, follow the link below. Once you have applied, we will contact you to schedule your pitch. Applicants will present one at a time on Saturday, February 26th, for a total time of approximately 25 minutes.

  • Applicants will present their concept to a 9 person committee.
  • Presentations can be in the form of a slide deck or a handout. Pitch cannot exceed 15 minutes.
  • Committee will ask questions after pitch; estimated time 10 minutes.
  • Committee will score applicants on a scale of 1-10 in four categories.

Check back in January 2023!