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So you want to be a food entrepreneur? 6 GTA Resources that will kick your start-up food business into high gear!

July 18, 2016

by Lisa Reed, Food Science Intern, Food Starter

            “How do I get my idea to the marketplace?” is a common question we hear from first time food entrepreneurs for good reason- starting a new business without the necessary supports can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there are many resources in the GTA to get your business tracking toward success.

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Here are 6 we recommend:

(1) Start-up Here Toronto:

Start-up Here Toronto is an initiative that connects entrepreneurs to events, business development resources and shared sector specific news. Visit the events tab on their website (http://startupheretoronto.com/) to browse dozens of opportunities to immerse yourself in the GTA start-up network.

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(2) Enterprise Toronto

As part of the City of Toronto’s Economic Development division, Enterprise Toronto is a resource for free and low cost access to business advisors and workshops. To help direct your food business toward success, Michael Wolfson, the City’s Food and Beverage specialist, holds “How to Start a Food Business” seminars periodically. Tailored specifically to food entrepreneurs, this seminar provides insight on important topics including costs, regulatory restrictions and legal requirements for making and selling food. Additionally, guest speakers provide specific information on catering, restaurants and manufacturing food products.

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(3) ProBono Law Ontario:

Need legal advice for your business but don’t have the copious funds? ProBono Law Ontario may be able to help! They provide a full range of legal services as well as informative workshops for small business owners. Additionally, they provide a range of legal documents and templates in the resources section of their website. For information on eligibility requirements and details about the services they offer, visit the following link. https://www.lawhelpontario.org/

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(4) Toronto Public Health- Starting a Food Business:

Time to take your food business to the next stage and open a store front or manufacturing facility? Finding information on municipal regulations for food businesses used to be tedious work. On the City of Toronto’s website under “Food Safety”, there is now an entire section covering topics such as zoning, municipal licensing, permits, and several food safety issues food processors need to understand before they open the doors for business.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 10.33.02 AM(5) Futurpreneur:

Developed by the Business Development Centre of Canada, Futurpreneur provides a range of resources and financing opportunities for young entrepreneurs age 18 to 39. We love their business plan writing tool, business funding database and the access they provide to a business mentors. Futurpreneur’s Food and Beverage business plan template can be found here: http://www.futurpreneur.ca/en/resources/start-up-business-planning/business-plan-examples/food-and-beverage-business-example-business-plan/

(6) Food Starter:

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Food Starter provides an environment where food product entrepreneurs can access cost effective production facilities and learn commercialization skills. Food Starter thrives on collaboration so when you work here you are surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs who are experiencing similar challenges.

Eager to join the Food Starter community? Take our quiz to find out your food business status. Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for one of our weekly tours to see our production facilities and learn about our programming. You can register for tours online using the following link. http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/food-starter-weekly-tour-information-session-tickets-19966173362

Whatever stage you’re at with your Food Business, rest assured that there is a vibrant start up community in the GTA that is here to support you through your journey.