Guelph, Wellington and partners unveil latest initiatives to support economic recovery

Grow Back Better: Our Food Future’s 10-point COVID recovery plan

Guelph, Ont., May 26, 2020 – As part of Grow Back Better, Our Food Future’s 10-point recovery plan in response to COVID-19, the City of Guelph and Wellington County, with their collaborators, are launching two new initiatives this week to foster innovation, promote the circular food economy, educate, and support eligible companies in Guelph-Wellington. The initiatives are part of the City of Guelph’s and the County of Wellington’s overall COVID-19 economic and social recovery efforts.

“Across the country we have seen economies shut down in order to flatten the COVID-19 curve,” says Kealy Dedman, deputy chief administrative officer, Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise. “Grow Back Better, and programs such Seeding Our Food Future, R-Purpose Micro and R-Purpose, will help provide food businesses in our community financial sustainability as they recover and work towards supporting our local circular food economy. With innovation, collaboration and a community mindset we can create a circular food economy that supports the immediate and future needs of Guelph-Wellington.”

Seeding Our Food Future

The Seeding Our Food Future micro-grant program will offer 40 new and existing Guelph-Wellington food system businesses, not-for-profits and social enterprises grants to support sustainable transition and recovery from current economic shocks. The successful applicants will each receive a $5,000 non-repayable seed funding grant through Innovation Guelph’s Circular Food Economy iHub (CFE iHub) – an initiative of Our Food Future that supports new business creation and promotes collaborations contributing to the circular food economy. Additionally, the program will provide up to 30 hours of expert advice with guidance from a lead mentor and industry specialists ($4,500 value). Selected applicants will also receive a guaranteed spot in R-Purpose MICRO, a 12-week educational program focused on building sustainable practices, circularity and business resilience, delivered by Provision Coalition, a food industry advisory firm ($1,200 value).

Successful applicants through Seeding Our Food Future will be eligible to apply for one of 30 interest-free loans of up to $10,000 through the Harve$t Impact Fund and the Waterloo-Wellington and Saugeen Community Futures offices. The $300,000 in total financing will support businesses shifting their practices in a way that contributes to the circular food economy. Details will be announced in June on harvestimpact.ca.

Further information on the program is available from Innovation Guelph and CFE iHub collaborators – 10C, LaunchIt Minto, Business Centre Guelph-Wellington, John F. Wood Centre at the University of Guelph, Wellington-Waterloo Community Futures, and Provision Coalition.

“While we are invested in growing and nurturing Our Food Future for the long-term, we know that action is needed now,” said Anne Toner Fung, chief executive officer, Innovation Guelph. “Providing immediate support to new and existing food systems companies and organizations locally is a critical part of how we are supporting our community’s economic recovery.”

Applications open May 27

To apply for a Seeding Our Food Future micro-grant, visit innovationguelph.ca/seeding-our-food-future. Applications are due by June 30, 2020. Successful applicants will be announced on July 15, 2020.

R-Purpose Micro and R-Purpose

Provision Coalition is launching two “Resiliency with Purpose” support programs as part of Grow Back Better: R-Purpose Micro and R-Purpose. The programs aim to help food and beverage companies increase efficiency, circularity and profits while reducing operating costs and waste.

R-Purpose Micro, the first to launch, is a 12-week virtual program with weekly 2-hour intensive sessions delivered remotely via a suite of specially developed software tools. R-Purpose Micro will be offered three times over the next 18 months, with the first session beginning June 5. Interested companies can enrol today.

In partnership with Our Food Future, R-Purpose Micro will be offered free of charge over the next 18 months for up to 50 small food and beverage businesses based in Guelph-Wellington. Contact Provision Coalition to reserve your spot now and use the code “SeedingOurFuture”.

Applications are also now open for R-Purpose, the full program. As part of Grow Back Better, cost-sharing options will be available for up to eight food or beverage manufacturing companies local to Guelph or Wellington County. Successful applicants will receive 12 to 18 months of one-to-one business support to help them save money and grow faster through purpose, sustainability and circularity. The R-Purpose program is available now, with expressions of interest due June 5. The program can be delivered remotely while physical distance requirements are in place. Contact Provision Coalition for more information.

About Grow Back Better

Grow Back Better: Our Food Future’s 10-point COVID-19 recovery plan is part of the City of Guelph’s and the County of Wellington’s overall COVID-19 economic and social recovery efforts. For information on the City and County response and recovery efforts, visit guelph.ca/covid19 and wellington.ca/en/covid-19.aspx.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reorganizes and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build Canada’s first tech-enabled circular food economy that will achieve a 50% increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50% increase in circular economic revenue by recognizing the value of waste.

About Innovation Guelph

Innovation Guelph delivers specialized business support programs and manages the Circular Food Economy iHub that supports new business creation and promotes collaborations contributing to the circular food economy.

About Provision Coalition

Provision works with Canadian food and beverage companies to help create value, realize savings and positively impact the environment and society, through a lens of purpose, sustainability and circularity.

Media contacts

Our Food Future
Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066
[email protected]
foodfuture.ca

Circular Food Economy iHub by Innovation Guelph
Anne Toner Fung, CEO, Innovation Guelph
519-265-4495 extension 106
[email protected]
innovationguelph.ca

Provision Coalition, a collaborator in Our Food Future
Cher Mereweather, President and CEO
519-803-6395
[email protected]
provisioncoalition.com