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Women in Food Rise Up Fund Food Starter and Fiera Foods are pleased to announce a new three-year startup growth fund, Rise Up, which aims to quick start food starter client enterprises which are both women-led and ready to grow.

Although women entrepreneurs in Canada now represent 47 percent of Canadian business owners and contribute $148 billion in economic activity, they continuously face barriers to accessing capital to start and scale their businesses. Women newcomers face additional hurdles. Combined, this means lost opportunity—and unleashed potential. Something today’s economy cannot afford. Working to create more equitable playing field for women and in particular women newcomer entrepreneurs benefits us all. It creates jobs, advances equity, and resilient communities.

Food Starter, a start up food incubator and accelerator in Toronto, and Fiera Foods, a globally successful Canadian food corporation recognize that women entrepreneurs play a leading role in innovating Ontario’s food industry. Thus, Food Starter and Fiera Foods are pleased to announce a new three-year startup growth fund, Rise Up, which aims to quick start food starter client enterprises which are both women-led and ready to grow.

Eligibility

To qualify, ventures must be:

  • 51% women-owned and women-led (meaning Founder, Co-founder, CEO or COO needs to be woman /woman identified)
  • Revenue-positive, which means the venture must already have product out in the marketplace and be generating sales.
  • To qualify, the venture must be an active hourly or accelerator 2018 Food Starter client. This means the venture has used the facility within the past six months for production purposes.
  • Venture must be a registered for profit, for profit social enterprise.
  • Preference will be given to newcomer + women-led ventures. Newcomer is defined someone who has immigrated to Canada within the last five years.

How To Apply

Applicants will be required to complete an online application form (available on Food Starter website) plus upload their latest sell or pitch deck.  The online form will request information such as the following:

  • Applicant name/contact details
  • Company Name/contact details/Business number
  • Senior Management Team/Founder Bios (150-200 words plus linked in profiles)
  • Date Incorporated
  • Is the Company 51% woman-owned and women-led overall?
  • # of employees (FT, PT, hourly, volunteer)
  • Food Starter Client Information (How many hours per month used, etc)
  • Most recent profit/loss statement including prior fiscal year if available.
  • Product Overview & Image
  • Target Market/Total Addressable Market
  • Current Customers (major ones only)
  • Grant Expenditure Plan (outline how will the $5000 be used)
  • Expected Results within 1 year of receiving grant.

How Will Finalists be Chosen? 

A review team consisting of two Food Starter representatives and two Fiera Food representatives will review applications. Finalists will be selected and contacted. Finalists will be interviewed for 15-30 minutes by the review team before final decisions are made.

Reviewers will be looking for applicants with the greatest commitment, potential to grow in 2018-19 and those who have demonstrated upward sales momentum.

Key Dates:

  • August 13th:  Applications are due.
  • August 28th:  Finalists contacted/interviews take place with review team.
  • September 7th:  Recipients announced.

Grant Disbursement Rules and Eligible Expenses

Grant recipients will receive a cheque for $3500 within two weeks of announcement plus $1500 in Food Starter production hours or accelerator fee credits. The grant must be used by March 1st, 2019.

Grant monies may be used for the following:

  • Purchase new equipment, supplies, or ingredients required to fill orders
  • Production labour
  • Marketing expenses such as social media support, design work, trade shows, website upgrades, or labeling etc.

Grant monies may NOT BE used for:

  • Paying off bank loans, prior credit card debt, or other existing loans.

Accountability

Recipients are asked to submit proof of expenditures via submission of receipts.  Grantees will also be asked to submit a two page minimum report highlighting impact grant has made on the organization’s progress prior to March 1st, 2019.

Media Agreement

Recipients are required to participate in media and press opportunities related to the Rise Up Fund. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Companies may be asked to provide a 150-200 word description plus a founder or team photograph that will be made available to media and may be released publicly, either in part or in its entirety. It will also become part of the literature used to promote the Food Starter and Fiera Foods.
  • Any team may be asked to speak to the media for related interviews when requested by Food Starter.
  • Participating in media and press opportunities in no way, shape, or form requires teams to disclose any proprietary or otherwise confidential information related to their businesses.
  • By participating in the grant program, candidates agree to being photographed and authorize Food Starter and Fiera Foods to use these photographs in future marketing campaigns or efforts.
HOW TO ENROLL

2018’s fund has been awarded. Apply next year!

Program Advantages
  • Grant recipients will receive a cheque for $3500 within two weeks of announcement plus $1500 in Food Starter production hours or accelerator fee credits. The grant must be used by March 1st, 2019.
  • Grant recipients will have opportunities to exposure their brand and product to media.
  • To qualify, your company must be 51% women-owned and women-led (meaning Founder, Co-founder, CEO or COO needs to be woman/woman identified).