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Media Release: Announcing the City of Toronto’s Food Venture Grant Program: Funds Earmarked to Support Early Stage Food Businesses

January 20, 2017


[Toronto: January 9, 2017] An initiative to support the development of early stage food businesses has been launched in the City of Toronto, Food Starter and the Province of Ontario. The Food Venture Program will offer eligible businesses up to $5,000 to be used to access food safe, small scale production facilities and gain the insight and training necessary to succeed in this highly complex sector.

The Greater Toronto region already has a well-developed food sector; in fact, the area is the second-largest food cluster in North America, beating out Chicago but behind Los Angeles as a major continental centre for the industry. The Food Venture program aims to strengthen Toronto’s position so that we can maintain or better this ranking in the future.
“Currently there are over 700 food producing businesses operating in Toronto,” says Chris Rickett,
Manager, Entrepreneurship Services in the City of Toronto’s Economic Development & Culture Department . “The Food Venture Program will ensure that Toronto’s food sector continues to develop home grown talent.”

Food Venture recipients will be granted funds to be used to access the Food Commercialization Program offered by Food Starter, Toronto’s food business incubator and accelerator. Companies will get four months of access to shared production and packaging facilities as well as training, mentorship and marketing activities so that they can commercialize their products and get them into market.

“Since we opened in November 2015, Food Starter has been flooded with inquiries from innovative people who have great ideas for food businesses,” notes Food Starter Executive Director, Dana McCauley. “Although our weekly tour is always full, we see many great ideas go undeveloped because these innovators lack the funds required to commercialize and launch their ideas. Food Venture will make a big difference for these under-capitalized food entrepreneurs.”

Applications for the Food Venture program are now available online and programming will begin in April 2017.


About Food Starter

Food Starter is a Toronto located not-for-profit corporation operating a 20,000 square foot, shared food production space that houses a commercial bakery, hot and cold fill lines and a full suite of packaging equipment. Food Starter incubates new food businesses and helps to accelerate the growth of early stage food businesses as they ladder up their sales. Food Starter provides training, mentorship and consulting services that help entrepreneurs to commercialize new products. Funding for Food Starter is provided by the City of Toronto and Growing Forward 2. For more information about Food Starter, please contact:

Dana McCauley,
Executive Director
Email:[email protected]
Phone 416 249 – 9500 ext. 223