Alchemist microenterprise academy (AMA)

Alchemist Microenterprise Academy is a 12-week business training course designed to make sense of the confusing aspects of starting a food business. AMA is generating the next generation of amazing food entrepreneurs in Sacramento!

The next AMA cohort is now taking applications! The cohort will run September 17-December 11. Before applying it is mandatory to attend an information session. We are having four live-on-Zoom information sessions on the last two Tuesdays in July (23 and 30) and the first two Wednesdays in August (7 and 14), click the button below to sign up! We also have the option of watching a pre-recorded, on-demand information session, also available via a button below. The last day to apply is August 18th.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

When is AMA held?

AMA is held every Spring (March-May) and Fall (September-December). Applications open about two months before the start of each cohort.

Where are the AMA classes held?

AMA classes are primarily held on Zoom, but about 4-5 of the 24 AMA classes are done in-person at various locations throughout Sacramento.

What is the schedule for AMA classes?

AMA classes are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6:00-8:00pm. Click here for a sample course outline. 

What types of topics are covered in AMA?

AMA covers the following topics:

  • How to access capital
  • Which permits you need and where to get them
  • Marketing your product
  • Food safety and product development
  • Hiring and managing employees
  • Legal considerations for your business
  • Business entity types
  • Sales and income tax considerations
  • And more!

Click here for a sample course outline.

How much does it cost to participate in AMA?

If accepted into AMA it costs $300 to participate. A payment plan is available if the full amount cannot be paid all at once. If a business completes the AMA program and turns in a completed business plan in the final week of the program they will be returned $50!

How much time will I need to budget for to participate in AMA?

There are four hours of class time per week in AMA (two hours each on Tuesday/Wednesday). In addition to class time a participant should budget 3-6 hours for homework assignments (working on the business plan, costing out recipes, creating start-up costs and projections, etc.).

What will I get out of AMA?

So much! The best way to find out is to join an info session (either sign up above or fill out the interest form to be contacted when the next info sessions are being offered) but here are a few highlights:

  • AMA will equip you with knowledge in a vast array of topics critical to growing a food business
  • AMA will connect you to experts in the industry and a network of peers
  • AMA will walk you through developing a business plan to guide the future of your business
  • AMA will provide individualized feedback
What are things that AMA does NOT cover or provide?
  • AMA does not provide funding to participating businesses. However, we do cover avenues to explore for funding and requirements to be loan ready.
  • AMA is not a culinary program. However, we work with you to cost out your recipe(s) and will cover some commercial production techniques. We are also happy to try your product and give our personal feedback.
  • AMA is not for farmers who solely sell the produce they grow. However, if a farmer makes a value-added product (ie you grow strawberries and make strawberry jam) you would be eligible to join AMA to learn to grow the jam business.
  • AMA is not for food adjacent companies that do not make their own food products for sale (ie an app that allows people to order food from other food businesses). We only work with businesses who are making a food product for sale.
  • AMA is not for people who do not live in the greater Sacramento region. Our program has a focus on the greater Sacramento area and the rules/laws/regulations of this region.
  • AMA is not for food hobbyists. AMA is for entrepreneurs who are looking to seriously grow their food business.
  • AMA does not provide unlimited 1-on-1 consulting. However, there will be some individualized consulting given in the class and if a business is interested in more they should complete AMA and apply to the Alchemist Kitchen Incubator Program (AKIP). AMA is a sample whereas AKIP is the full sundae.
What are the benefits of being an AMA graduate?

There are many benefits to being an AMA graduate! Businesses that graduate from AMA are eligible to apply for the Alchemist Kitchen Incubator Program (AKIP). AMA graduates receive a discount at the Alchemist Kitchen commercial kitchen space. AMA graduates will receive priority for opportunities at the Alchemist Public Market. AMA graduates will also be connected to a network of AMA alumni.

Who are the target participants for AMA?

AMA’s target participants are food entrepreneurs from low-income backgrounds or under-resourced communities. Priority is given to entrepreneurs who meet this criteria, but entrepreneurs not meeting this criteria are also accepted to AMA. AKIP is exclusively for entrepreneurs meeting this criteria or facing significant challenges or barriers.

I already have an existing food business, would AMA be worthwhile for me?

AMA is a fantastic program for all early-stage food entrepreneurs, even if you have an existing business you have been running for a few years. AMA will help you prepare a roadmap to achieve the next steps in your business, it will connect you to community and experts in all areas of the food industry, it will help you understand what is needed to access capital, and more!

If I have a question not addressed here, who can I ask?

If you have a question not answered on this site you can email and we will do our best to answer your question.

Don’t just take our word for it…

The AMA program was able to condense down into their 12-week program what would easily take many months or even years to obtain on your own. Being able to learn from experts in finance, taxes, marketing, and food science along with successful local entrepreneurs was so valuable for learning the necessary steps needed to start up a business in the right direction. I would highly recommend the AMA course to anyone considering starting a food business for the insight and knowledge you gain over such a short period of time.

AMA has given me the tools I needed to confidently start my business. They did only only proved a template for where to start. But, they also address the fears and emotions that come along with that. I am thankful for this program for offering me support and direction. I left the program with a business plan, a network other entrepreneurs and the confidence I need to move forward.

This program is a once in a lifetime experience that is a bounding leap forward in your progress towards realizing your highest dreams. It will expand your outlook on so many aspects that you may have never imagined and provide you with the tools to have confidence in whatever your path may be. The instructors will inspire and encourage the best version of yourself to be brought to the surface. Probably the best way to invest in yourself.

This program is for anyone who is serious about starting a food business but feels overwhelmed by how to. It gives knowledge and tools you will need to be successful.

No matter what state your business is in AMA will help you to build the foundation your business needs to take the next step.

I have had my business idea for more than a decade and always felt like the timing was never right to pursue, upon completing the AMA course, not only do I feel confident in my vision, I feel supported and now have a network of emerging business peers to rely on. I am glad I decided to commit to the course, ready for the challenges and successes ahead.

Businesses have graduated from Alchemist Microenterprise Academy so far!

Graduates of AMA can be found selling their delicious products all over Sacramento. We’ve compiled news articles and stories about AMA graduates.

Graduates of AMA are invited to apply to the Incubator Program and continue developing their business with customized resources. Click here to return to the main Alchemist Kitchen page.