4 Access Partners

Our Story

Our Vision

Our vision is a thriving, economically-sustainable food manufacturing industry that elevates the entire local community.

4 Access Partners is an organization dedicated to entrepreneurial and small business success. We work to strengthen local communities by connecting experienced food manufacturing industry professionals with promising local food entrepreneurs. Corporate volunteers from our consortium of world-class food companies work with promising entrepreneurs by offering their expertise, providing training for employees, connecting clients with financial institutions, and offering the opportunity to scale their businesses. 

Our founders, retired General Mills Executives Peter Erickson and John Mendesh, are not new to the Intellectual Philanthropy model. As founders of Partners in Food Solutions, Peter and John connected partner companies such as General Mills, Cargill, and Hershey with promising food companies throughout Africa with the goal of improving food security, nutrition, and economic development. With the founding of 4 Access Partners, our team is building on 13 years of successful implementation of this Intellectual Philanthropy model, which we aspire to bring to local communities throughout the country.​

As was the case in Africa, a number of world class partners have already engaged with us on this journey. This list includes:

What is Knowledge Philanthropy?

Intellectual philanthropy, or Knowledge Philanthropy, became the organizing principle of Partners in Food Solutions and another step forward in corporate social responsibility for General Mills, where approximately 80% of the employees have contributed their time in the service of local charitable institutions, in addition to the company’s considerable financial donations.

From the beginning, volunteers have worked remotely from anywhere in the world, collaborating with local African food businesses on specific, time-bound projects driven by their most pressing needs or challenges, whether developing new products, improving production efficiencies, or ensuring food safety.

These experts devote 1 or 2 hours each week to participate in calls, review blueprints and flow charts, and share their knowledge.

Our Partners

Our corporate partners and their employees volunteer time and resources to help women and BIPOC entrepreneurs thrive within the food manufacturing industry. In return, our partners reap benefits of their own. Corporate partners are offered the chance to pull from a diverse talent base, while their employees and retirees are offered a unique, fulfilling opportunity for professional advancement. Our scale partners appreciate that they are offered access to fast growing, early-stage businesses. The financial institutions we partner with are happy to provide our entrepreneurs capital to grow their business because they know they are “de-risking” their investment; after all, our clients are supported by some of the best minds at leading food companies.

4 Access Partners welcomes new corporate, scale, and capital partners. If you’re interested in learning more about our offerings, or if you would like to become a corporate partner, contact us to schedule a time to talk.