Food Venture Program Pilot Project to Support GTA Food Sector Entrepreneurs

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This article was authored by Josie DiFelice and originally appeared on the Golden Horseshoe Food and Farming Alliance (GHFFA) website  It has been reprinted with permission from the GHFFA.

Food Starter and CaterToronto are working with the City of Toronto to launch a Pilot Project, titled Food Venture Program, in an effort to help nourish and grow the GTA food sector by supporting the area’s entrepreneurs.


The program will assist entrepreneurs focusing on food processing and catering, providing a number of valuable resources:

Training – participants will undergo four-weeks of intensive business training
Mentoring – participants will have access to food sector mentors
Grant – participants will have the potential to receive a grant of up to $5,000
Ongoing Advisory Services – throughout the program participants will have access to advisory services to help them launch and scale their business.

cater TorontoWe’ve previously highlighted  Food Starter’s role in assisting food entrepreneurs (Food Starter was also at our annual Queen’s Park Day held earlier this week); Dana McCauley, Program Manager with Food Starter, shares with us:

“We’re very excited to be working with CaterToronto to deliver programming and mentorship for the new Food Venture program! The response to the information night showed us that there is no shortage of dedicated food entrepreneurs working to bring innovative locally prepared foods to market. We expected 40 people to attend the session but ended up having well over 60 attend. In the end, over 90 applications for the grant were received!”

Congratulations to the entrepreneurs whose applications have been accepted for the first round of training:

  • The Chufa Co.,
  • Munch Foods Inc,
  • My Little Dumplings,
  • Spreadquarters Inc.,
  • 9182748 Canada Inc.,
  • King Catering,
  • Mnandi Pies,
  • Hol Food,
  • The Brazilian Confectionery,
  • Nutrisense,
  • Whole Living Revolution,
  • Desserts Studio,
  • Let’s Nom Inc.,
  • Healthy Genie Inc.,
  • Rich & Beautiful Dessert Co.,
  • Indian Sweets and Samosas,
  • PG Harvey Events Inc.,
  • The Duke Brothers,
  • Shotberry,
  • When the Pig Came Home,
  • Red Fife by Rowe,
  • Roselle Desserts,
  • Canadian Foods Distribution and
  • IF Ltd.

“These recipients began their training this week. We look forward to following up on the entrepreneurial growth that will come from this program!”

The City of Toronto has listed the requirements food entrepreneurs must have met to qualify:

  • Applicants must be a food company – either delivering a food product for market or a catering business
  • Applicants must be aged 18 or over. However, there are restrictions on the location of applicants and their businesses. Applicants that are between the ages of 18 and 29 are only eligible if they are located in the City of Toronto (must have a postal code that starts with a M); while applicants that are 30 and over can be from Toronto or the broader Greater Toronto Area (must have a postal code that starts with a L)
  • Applicants must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Ontario
  • Applicants must not be in a full-time education program
  • Applicants must be starting a new food business or expanding an existing food business
  • Applicants contribute at least 25 per cent of the grant amount – this can be in-kind contributions, such as equipment, or cash contributions towards the business’ operations. This 25 per cent can be waived in circumstances where there are special needs or financial pressures

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