FOOD ENTREPRENEURS: PRODUCING ECONOMIC GROWTH IN ONTARIO S LAKE COUNTRY. Monday, Oct. 26, Georgian College Orillia Campus

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1 FOOD ENTREPRENEURS: PRODUCING ECONOMIC GROWTH IN ONTARIO S LAKE COUNTRY Monday, Oct. 26, 2015 Georgian College Orillia Campus

2 FOOD ENTREPRENEURS: PRODUCING ECONOMIC GROWTH IN ONTARIO S LAKE COUNTRY A COMMUNITY SEMINAR FOR FOOD ENTREPRENEURS SUMMARY Date: Monday, October 26, 2015 Time: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Location: Georgian College Orillia Campus 6825 Memorial Ave., Orillia, ON L3V 6S2 The Orillia Campus and the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre of Georgian College, in partnership with local municipalities and economic development partners, the County of Simcoe, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, are hosting Food Entrepreneurs: Producing Economic Growth in Ontario s Lake Country, a community seminar for food entrepreneurs. This one-day event will take place on Monday, October 26, 2015 and will include panel discussions by successful food entrepreneurs and industry experts on topics such as, raising capital, scaling up your business, marketing, distribution, and much more. Featured at the event, will be an exhibition of approximately 25 local food producers and processors who will showcase and sell their locally made products, provide samples and be able to share their unique entrepreneurial stories with attendees. This event addresses the growing need for education and training in the area of food entrepreneurship development. Local, sustainable food has increasingly become a priority for consumers and, in response, municipalities recognize the benefit of value added agriculture/product development as a strategic imperative for economic growth. The seminar capitalizes on these agricultural and economic development trends and will offer tools and resources so agri-food businesses can position themselves advantageously to meet new consumer demand. The seminar will focus on what is needed to further develop the local food economy and particularly what local entrepreneurs need to bring their food and beverage businesses to higher levels of productivity and profitability. Learning will take place through plenary and breakout sessions which will present successful local food entrepreneurs, expert panels and a lunch catered by a local chef. Participants (target 150), including aspiring artisan food processors and producers, will learn how to cultivate a successful food business from existing entrepreneurs and industry experts. The event is expected to stimulate the regional agrifood economy through the development of a more comprehensive food business support system that may include business/kitchen incubation, distribution tools, programming, mentoring and more. Georgian College and regional economic development partners are committing time and resources to ensure the seminar has a significant and lasting impact on the regional food economy. This was the experience of the first Community Seminar for Food Entrepreneurs held in February 2014 by Georgian College South Georgian Bay Campus in Collingwood in partnership with the counties of Grey, Bruce and Simcoe, entrepreneur support agencies and The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). It targeted businesses in South Georgian Bay. The initial call for 50 participants immediately Page 1

3 grew to 150 and the event was extremely well received with overwhelmingly positive evaluations. The network and training opportunities were productive and worthwhile and several operations have reported an increase in capacity and sales. Similar success was had this year at the well-attended Food Entrepreneurs: Preserving our heritage; creating our future in Orangeville on February 25, 2015 and Food Entrepreneurs: Growing Innovation in Owen Sound on April 20, This kind of impact on the food business community is exactly what Simcoe County and neighbouring municipalities need to propel the local food economy to the next level and realize economic and tourism development as well as job creation. The success of the event will be measured through formal surveys completed by the attendees that will capture information on the participants ongoing support requirements and identify future opportunities to develop the regional agriculture community. Results will be shared with organizers and will help determine next steps and potential new programs that could support local food producers, processors and retailers. One avenue for development may be a partnership with Georgian College's Centre for Applied Research and Innovation to conduct some primary research to better understand the feasibility and viability of a food business incubator to support the region. Primary contacts for event Barb Shopland Strategic Projects, Georgian College , ext Mary Whittaker Project Assistant, Georgian College , ext Event partners and advisors Barb Shopland Becky Breedon Catherine Oosterbaan Crystal Sarantoulias Donna Hewitt Jennifer Stong Joanne Campagna Laura Thompson Louise Cohen Sara Bentham Suzie Addison-Toor Georgian College County of Simcoe Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Georgian College Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre Township of Oro-Medonte Township of Ramara Georgian College City of Orillia Orillia Food Council Georgian College Conference and Event Services Georgian College Expected audience Target of 150 participants, including 25 exhibitors; committee members and sponsors; panelists and presenters; local food entrepreneurs from Simcoe County, the City of Orillia and neighbouring regions; pre-commercialization food start-ups; food incubator experts; farmers' market retailers; growers and producers; economic development officers; entrepreneur support services; and municipal officials. Page 2

4 Marketing venues blasts through partnership databases Electronic signage (Georgian College) Website links Social media Press release Community calendars Local food associations Federations of Agriculture Farm Fresh Association Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance Food incubator network Chefs' associations Public Health Local entrepreneur network Radio spots (if needed) Page 3

5 Appendix A FOOD ENTREPRENEURS: PRODUCING ECONOMIC GROWTH IN ONTARIO S LAKE COUNTRY WORKING AGENDA Monday, October 26, :00 a.m. Registration and Showcase 10:00 a.m. Opening Ceremony 10:30 a.m. Morning Breakout Sessions 11:45 a.m. Plenary Session: Marketing and Distribution 12:45 p.m. Lunch and Showcase 2:00 p.m. Afternoon Breakout Sessions 3:15 p.m. Interactive Workshops 4:15 p.m. Wrap Up Showcase (During registration and lunch) Twenty to twenty-five local food producers will set up exhibits of their businesses/products and will offer samples. Participants will have the opportunity at lunch to view the exhibits, sample and purchase products. Exhibitors will receive an honorarium to compensate them for providing samples. Entrepreneur support services and other food related organizations will also be on hand to answer questions, provide information and will be able to distribute information through a booth/trade show format. Opening Ceremony (30 minutes): Representatives of host organizations welcome you to the seminar. Concurrent Breakout Sessions: (60 minutes each, morning and afternoon) 1. Funding and Resources Most start up food businesses require funding and investments to operate. This panel will present funding models and examples from bootstrapping, equity investments to crowdfunding. What does every food entrepreneur need to know about the need for investments before they cash in their savings? A-1

6 2. Entrepreneurial Innovation Most successful businesses have a vision for growth or find themselves with market demand that exceeds their current capacity. Hear about some of the steps for scaling your business. What pitfalls can be avoided and where can you seek help. Innovation is the name of the game for food entrepreneurs. It may be the reason you started a business and the result of having an innovative product, idea or processing technique. This panel will discuss how innovation goes beyond the start-up idea of your business and is one of the most important success criteria in the long term. Plenary Session: Local Marketing and Distribution (60 minutes) Marketing and distribution are two of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing any size of food entrepreneur. Gain an understanding on the marketing channels available to entrepreneurs. Learn from retailers about what they look for when sourcing new products and what s required to get your product into their stores. Lunch (75 minutes) A local chef or collaborating chefs will cater lunch featuring local food products. Students will assist. Concurrent Interactive Workshops (60 minutes) 1. Ideation Explore new ideas for your business through guided conversation in a small group setting. Share ideas and get feedback from your peers. 2. Perfect Pitch Practice your pitch before a small group of your peers and get feedback to improve your presentation. 3. Facilitated Networking Introduce yourself with a short elevator speech about who you are, what you do, and what you need. Learn who else is in the room and build your network. A-2

7 Appendix B WHAT ATTENDEES LIKED ABOUT PREVIOUS COMMUNITY SEMINARS FOR FOOD ENTREPRENEURS Expert panel and tradeshow area. Event was awesome! Really really impressed with event organization. Panels provided practical information. Very interesting. Local, interesting and educational Hearing from those that are on/done the journey. Industry experts sharing their entrepreneurial experience Real stories from entrepreneurs Expert knowledge, panels, speakers, networking Good opportunity to meet old friends and customers (existing and future) Creative, energetic, well organized Advice & encouragement from local food business entrepreneurs. Good job of organization by the college. The open and humble presenters Diversity of experience & presenters Wonderfully well rounded group of speakers on panels. Loved the facilitated networking session. Just a quick note to say WOW...and thank you for spearheading an extremely successful seminar for food entrepreneurs. Take a bow! Having likeminded people tell their stories/experiences The ability to sample the quality of products & purchase them The whole experience was incredible! Hearing stories about struggles we face as start up entrepreneurs Friendly, knowledgeable, fantastic networking Networking & Success stories shared Personal insights/stories - Q&A session Getting to meet & speak with vendors Learning new things and steps to take The openness & availability of information Stories from people who ve been where I am Loved stories from the front line great groups. Very well organized/great group of hosts. I thank you for a great job. I attended a paid expo (cost me $600). You beat them hands down. Thank you again. Keep up the good work. Networking with other attendees Hearing from the business themselves! Thank you for organizing this event. It is the beginning of our search and was VERY helpful. The conference was wonderfully organized and with any luck will be fruitful for us! What an action packed day. It was nice to be reminded that yes, I am an entrepreneur and need to think about that side of things I hope your whole team is glowing in the success of such a fine event. B-1

8 Appendix C SELECTED SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY FROM PREVIOUS COMMUNITY SEMINARS FOR FOOD ENTREPRENEURS C-1

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