SEE-LA INCUBATOR HELPS FERMENT BUSINESS
Meet Atsushi Nakagawa, former aspiring rock star and founder of Amazake Co. Atsushi moved to the United States after obtaining his degree in electrical engineering from the University of Tokyo. While working in the automobile industry, he started experiencing skin eczema, which did not go away with traditional treatments. This led him to experiment with alternative wellness practices and rediscover the health benefits of Japanese fermented foods.
Driven to experiment further, Atsushi (pictured above) started to make homemade Japanese rice bran pickles (nukazuke), miso, amazake, and koji. He returned to Japan to become an apprentice at a miso/koji microbrewery, where he worked side by side with great fermenters. In May 2019, he established his fermented healthy food business Amazake Co. in Los Angeles.
His first challenge was to find a way to scale his production. He joined the Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA) Seasoned Accelerator program, which is funded by EWDD through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. The program helped him grow his business.
“Aside from the program providing weekly webinars where I learned what I needed to prepare and do in order to increase my portfolio of local buyers and from the support that I received from both of my coaches, my coaches also gave me some great self-care tools that helped me to prioritize myself more and not only on driving my business,” he said.