Food Starter partners with Fiera Foods to empower female entrepreneurs with grants
TORONTO—Food Starter, a start up food incubator and accelerator in Toronto, has partnered with globally-successful Canadian food manufacturer Fiera Foods Company, to launch The Women in Food Rise Up Fund.
The three-year start up growth fund, Rise Up, presented by Fiera Foods, will provide Food Starter’s women-led enterprises with access to a grant of $5,000 to quickly start and scale food businesses in an effort to recognize women entrepreneurs playing a leading role in innovating Ontario’s food industry.
“We see day in and day out through our interactions with partners, employees and clients, that women can lead and excel in our industry,” says Fiera Foods Company president and chief executive officer Boris Serebryany.
“The concerning reality is that women are still underrepresented in food manufacturing. We’re proud to work toward a solution by partnering with Food Starter to remove barriers, creating a more open and inclusive environment for female entrepreneurs and innovators in Ontario’s food industry,” he continues.
Grant recipients will receive a cheque for $3,500 within two weeks of announcement plus $1,500 in Food Starter production hours or accelerator fee credits. The grant will be used for purchasing new equipment, supplies or ingredients required to fill orders, production labour and marketing expenses.
Although women entrepreneurs in Canada now represent 47 per cent of Canadian business owners and contribute $148 billion in economic activity, both Fiera Foods and Food Starter say women continuously face barriers to accessing capital to start and scale their businesses, with women newcomers facing additional hurdles.
“We strongly believe in working to create a more equitable playing field for women and in particular women newcomer entrepreneurs. It benefits us all creating jobs, advancing equity, and building resilient communities,” explains Food Starter executive director Petra Kassun-Mutch.
To qualify, ventures must be 51 per cent women-owned and women-led, revenue-positive, an active hourly or accelerator 2018 Food Starter client and a registered for profit, social enterprise. Preference will be given to newcomer and women-led ventures. A review team consisting of Food Starter and Fiera Foods representatives will review applications.
“We will continue to educate the food and beverage business community about the need for funds for women-led enterprises,” states Kassun-Mutch.
Applications for the Rise Fund are now available online HERE and due on August 13, 2018.
About Food Starter
Food Starter is a not-for-profit corporation funded in part by the City of Toronto and Growing Forward 2 and Canada’s premier food business commercialization centre. As the only facility of its kind, Food Starter operates a 20,000-square-foot shared-use food safe production space in Toronto complete with manufacturing equipment including commercial bakery production spaces, hot and cold fill lines, and a full suite of packaging equipment. Food Starter offers new food businesses expert training and mentorship as they prepare to commercialize their product and launch their business.
By supporting companies such as Jaswant’s Kitchen, Good Food for Good and Fressy Bessie, to name just a few, Food Starter has helped Toronto area businesses launch over 80 product lines and served over 300 food and beverage enterprises since November 2015. Visit www.foodstarter.ca for more details.
About Fiera Foods
Fiera Foods is a Toronto-based baked goods manufacturer supplying its wares to many of the largest grocers and restaurant chains in North America. Founded by two refugees in 1987, Fiera Foods has been committed to perpetually innovating and adapting to serve its valued customers for over three decades. Providing opportunities to underrepresented groups like women, refugees and recent immigrants is at the heart of Fiera Foods’ DNA. Its strong employee base has helped make it a leader in quality, innovation, customer service and food safety. Company information at www.fierafoods.com.