Food Accelerator

Scaling food and beverage companies.

In partnership with The Regional Municipality of York Region and the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, we have relaunched our five-month Food Accelerator program helping scale high growth food and beverage ventures through customized workshops, expert mentorship and peer-to-peer circles. The program will provide founders with the tools, skills and connections they need to scale and thrive in the consumer-packaged goods industry.

Please note, there is a reduced program fee of $1,000 for program administration. This program is subsidized by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

 

Program Components

The York Region Food and Beverage Accelerator is a five-month accelerator focused on supporting high-growth consumer packaged goods ventures in scaling up their operations and acquiring new distribution channels. Our customized educational workshops and dedicated team of mentors and advisors works closely with the founders for both personal and professional growth. We believe that at the core of all successful ventures are it's founders and our program provides the key foundational elements needed to help build up our founders.

Please click here to read some profiles of our 2020 cohort.

Develop industry knowledge through hands-on workshops from industry leaders and influencers.

Dedicated industry mentors from creating operational efficiencies to develop branding and sales strategies.

Access to private and exclusive networking sessions to grow your network within serial CPG entrepreneurs, investors, and retailers.

Gain constructive feedback on both your retailer deck as well as your investor pitch through monthly peer to peer and expert feedback sessions

On-demand office hours with industry experts as required creating unique engagements by listening to the company needs.

Program Timeline

Accelerator Criteria

1
Product is in the market through a minimum of 10 points of sales

Points of sale can include independent stores (i.e. coffee shops, convenience stores, etc.), grocery, retail, online, etc.

2
Full-time founder(s) can commit 5-months to YSpace programming

The program includes a varity of workshops, fireside chats with investors, serial entrepreneurs and mentorship sessions. It is key that the founding team stays committed to the program to get the most out of it.

3
Venture active for over a year with Monthly Recurring Revenue of $4,000 - $10,000

If ventures are under the age of one, we will review the monthly recurring revenue and growth accordingly.

4
Focus on growth and scaling to achieve high impact

Our primary goal is to help ventures scale, therefore a growth mindset is key.

5
A driven, coachable and collaborative leadership team.

Drive and coachability is a major factor as our team of dedicated mentors and advisors are leading experts from the industry.

Application Form

Please use the link below to access our application form.

Our Entrepreneurs in Residence

Brett Wills

Founder at GEM Inc.

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Brett brings over 20 years of experience in Sustainable Business Management. As a former Plant Manager, Brett has first-hand experience driving organizational performance through a focus on operational excellence. Brett’s experience combined with a passion for integrating Sustainability into business strategies delivers tangible and quantifiable results that drive performance now and into the future.

Expertise:
Business Strategy/KPI | Innovation development | Financial | Inventory Control | Production Optimization | Co-packing | Culture Development | Sustainability | Manufacturing | Operational Excellence | Supply Chain | Employee Engagement.

Mangala Rao-D'sa

VP, Marketing, Category & Digital Experience at Second Cup

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Mangala Rao-D'Sa has a reputation for building iconic brands through fully integrated marketing and bringing marketing, innovation, and digital product teams together to build great businesses that deliver a superior customer experience. In the past, Ms. D’Sa held leadership roles in marketing at Roots (2018), Pepsico Canada (2016-2018), and Post Consumer Brands (2005-2016). Ms. D’Sa also worked at Reckitt Benckiser (2002-2005) and started her career at The Nielsen Company (1998-2002). She recently served as an independent strategy consultant for Indigo Books & Music Inc, and is currently the Vice President of Marketing, Category, and Digital Experience for Second Cup Coffee Canada.

Expertise:
Marketing | Innovation | Business Strategy | Value proposition | Creative content | Advertising | Insights

Chris Rodkin

President of BritOn Solutions Group Inc.

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Chris Rodkin, President of BritOn Solutions Group IncChris is a Toronto native who has an extensive CPG based sales and marketing background. A passionate architect and builder, Chris loves the challenge of collaborating with his customers to help them sustainably overachieve and outperform.

Expertise:
Business Strategy | Pricing | E-commerce | Channel Strategy | Category Management | Consumer Research

Julie Bednarski

Founder/CEO at Healthy Crunch

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Julie Bednarski is a dynamic and energetic entrepreneur with almost ten years of experience in the food and nutrition industry. In July 2014, Julie started Healthy Crunch – as a way to satisfy her craving for super crunchy kale chips that were BIG in size and BIG in flavor. With Julie’s ambition for success Healthy Crunch grew to have over 25,000 points of distribution within Canada within the first 2 years in business. Healthy Crunch now distributes their products throughout the world including Canada, USA, Europe, and the Middle East. Since the start of her business, Julie continues to expand Healthy Crunch’s product lines to include coconut chips, trail mix, granola bars, rice crispy squares, chia jam, seed butter, instant lattes, kale chips, and dark chocolate fruit bites.

Expertise:
Business Strategy/KPI | Pricing | Category Management | Sales (Broker/Dist rel’n) | Innovation development | Marketing | Social Media | Financial | Inventory Control | Production Optimization | Co-packing

Iram Blajchman

Founder & CEO of MAAV Inc

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Iram Blajchman, founder & CEO of MAAV Inc, leverages almost 20 years of experience working in all facets of CPG sales to deploy resources that help brands both large and small execute growth strategies at retail. His experience, including leading sales teams for brands like Nivea and Philips, and running go to market strategies for Heinz, allow him to bring a wealth of knowledge to early stage brands, and he takes great pleasure in helping founders understand the marketplace, how to fund growth at retail, and avoid the pitfalls that can prevent brands from achieving their goals.

Expertise:
Business Strategy/KPI | Pricing | Category Management | Sales (Broker/Dist rel’n) | Leadership | Team-building | Negotiation | Retail Strategy and Execution | Commercial Strategy

Raffi Sethian

President at Hush Brands Inc.

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Raffi is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with a unique combination of operational and financial skills. In his 25 year career, he has started two consumer products businesses (Natural Health & Beauty and Personal Care) and a technology business (Location Based Marketing). He has turned around struggling businesses in challenged sectors, worked on large financing/M&A deals as a senior investment banker at Morgan Stanley and consulted on large public/private infrastructure projects at KPMG.

Expertise:
Business development and growth strategies | New product development and launch | Marketing strategy and execution | Restructuring and turnarounds | Debt and equity financing | Mergers and acquisitions

Mark Venton

Principal at Levelfour; Co-owner at Fire in the Kitchen Spice

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Mark Venton has over 35 years of CPG experience Including Sales and Marketing executive roles at Procter & Gamble and ownership of a small food business (Fire in the Kitchen Inc). In 2012 he founded Mark Venton Consulting that provides sales, marketing and operational strategy advice for small to medium sized companies. He has supported over 50 different companies during that time frame. He also supported the Ella Program at York with fractional executive work. He also does executive coaching for CEOs of entrepreneurial companies.

Expertise:
Business Strategy/KPI | Pricing | Category Management | Sales (Broker/Dist rel’n) | Marketing | Financial | Inventory Control | Negotiation Skills Training | Leadership Training | Recruiting