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Press Release

EDWINS with support from the Cleveland Browns to empower aspiring restaurant owners from disadvantaged backgrounds with "Pathways to Ownership"

JumpStart to also lend entrepreneurship expertise during immersive six-week program that offers support and funding opportunities for aspiring restaurant owners


BEREA, Ohio – Today, EDWINS, in partnership with the Cleveland Browns and support from the Cleveland Foundation, announced the launch of its groundbreaking program, "Pathways to Ownership." The initiative aims to empower business owners from disadvantaged backgrounds by leading them through a comprehensive six-week accelerator program toward establishing successful restaurant ventures.

Through the guidance of EDWINS, participants will learn everything needed to understand the complex process of opening a restaurant. JumpStart, a Browns Social Justice partner and nationally recognized venture development organization dedicated to providing capital, services, and connections to help entrepreneurs grow will teach sessions as part of the "Pathways to Ownership." The program will focus on every detail required for success, including securing a suitable location, executing capital improvements, abundant networking opportunities from like-minded culinary aficionados, cultivating invaluable mentorship, menu mastery, and achieving success from concept to grand opening through real-world examples, case studies, and practical exercises.

"Small businesses are vital to our community and require determination and unwavering belief," said Brandon Chrostowski, Founder of EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute. "We are grateful to have the Browns and other community partners like the Cleveland Foundation and JumpStart, back us to help small business owners with essential resources and extensive training. Together, our support will offer the necessary tools to guide our participants through this journey, where their business grows and adds value to Northeast Ohio."

Pathways to Ownership is structured to craft participants' understanding of restaurant management through multiple engaging sessions per week—each lasting three to four hours. The curriculum ensures a deep dive into crucial topics such as business planning, funding strategies, location selection, layout optimization, licensing, staffing, and effective marketing. The items are encompassed by receiving hands-on learning experiences led by industry experts. The application process opened on May 13 and closes on June 20.

"Our partnership with EDWINS represents some of the most meaningful work we do here at the Browns," said Peter John-Baptiste, Chief Communications Officer of Haslam Sports Group. "Brandon's efforts to provide opportunity for those that aren't granted many because of their background is an inspiration. We believe Pathways to Ownership will make Northeast Ohio a better place because it will provide the tools necessary for more successful small businesses."

Upon conclusion of the program, select participants will have the opportunity to pitch their concepts to a panel of industry leaders, competing for the chance to receive seed capital in the form of no-interest loans from EDWINS and its esteemed partners, including the Cleveland Browns, the Cleveland Foundation, JumpStart, and private benefactors. With $300,000 secured and nearing the goal of $500,000 for the program's first year, EDWINS is committed to fostering the development and achievement of all its participants. Through detailed planning and personalized support, EDWINS ensures that every aspect of their journey is thoroughly addressed, equipping them with the essential tools for lasting success.

For further details about the EDWINS Accelerator: Pathways to Ownership program, visit

About Browns Give Back:

The Cleveland Browns are committed to championing youth football, education, and social justice in our community and throughout Ohio. Browns Give Back is the Cleveland Browns initiative dedicated to supporting our fans and neighbors. For more information,

About EDWINS Leadership and Restaurant Institute:

EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization provides formerly incarcerated adults with a foundation in the culinary and hospitality industries and the support network necessary for long-term success. Founded by Brandon E. Chrostowski, a 2016 CNN Hero and 2020 IFMA Silver Plate honoree, James Beard Award finalist for Outstanding Restaurateur, the Cleveland-based training program ensures that participants are equipped with basic culinary skills from its fine French eatery, Butcher Shop and Bakery & Diner, and sister restaurant, Edwins Too, The Family Center, Family Housing, Employment assistance, as well as free housing, legal services, basic medical care, clothing, job coaching, literacy programs and more are offered. As the subject of the 2018 Academy Award nominated documentary, Knife Skills, EDWINS graduates nearly 100 students a year, with a 95% employment rate and less than 1% recidivism.

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