On March 3, 2017 - Greenbelt Fund, in collaboration with Food Starter, Agri-Management Institute (AMI), Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre and other food and beverage organizations, held a panel discussion on Building the Industry: Pathways to Commercialization at the 2017 Food and Beverage Convention – Scaling Up to Grow Your Business, hosted by AMI and Innovation Niagara.
The panel focused on the strategic opportunity of fostering collaboration among food and beverage organizations in Ontario, particularly organizations that support or are involved in ‘food incubation, acceleration and commercialization’.
Some of the themes echoed by the audience were collaboration, partnership, inclusivity and cooperation as key ingredients to fostering growth within the industry. Other notable comments included the importance of highlighting Ontario as a leader in agri-food development and innovation, “food-preneurship” and SME development.
Participants also discussed some of the barriers faced by both food and beverage organizations that support food businesses (e.g. strategic alignment, long term vision, identifying / consensus-building definitions within the sector, efficient resource-sharing, leveraging funding opportunities) and also barriers faced by food entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises, such as start-up costs and diverse funding opportunities.
Illustrator Erica Bota captured the day’s discussion and audience feedback.