Toronto, Feb. 09, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — TORONTOFriday, February 9th, 2024: With the launch of their latest cohort, food ecosystem disruptor Foodpreneur Lab is looking for Black entrepreneurs in southwestern Ontario who are interested in starting or scaling a packaged food business. Applications are now open at until March 1, 2024, at 11:59 am ET.

Now in its fourth year, the Advisor-Led Start and Scale Support Path project provides free access to industry experts ranging from accountants and branding professionals to chefs and food scientists throughout its guided nine-month program. More than a traditional incubator accelerator, the paths focus on removing systemic barriers, increasing access, forging community and centring the lived experience of BIPOC individuals.

‘It is through food that communities connect and foster a sense of belonging,’ says Foodpreneur Lab founder Janice Bartley. ‘We believe that shared experiences provided by our support paths will help Black food entrepreneurs thrive and conduct business that honours their unique lens.’

Foodpreneur Lab alumni have gone on to achieve significant success thanks to opportunities provided by the non-profit. Recent alumni include Patrice McCreath, founder of Patreats, who won the New Product Award in 2023 at the Annual Canadian Grand Prix from the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) and Kenesha Lewis, founder of One More Cocoa, who was the only Canadian business to make the list of Oprah’s 2023 Favourite Things.

‘The network, the experience, and the results have all been amazing,’ says Start Support Path participant Robert Robinson of Robinson Sauces. ‘It’s helped me understand and map out success for my business, connecting me with the right people.’

Applicants from the following regions are eligible for support: the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton, Niagara, Simcoe, Wellington, Frontenac, Dufferin, Prescott and Russell, Stormont, Renfrew, Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, Dundas & Glengarry. Information sessions for cohort four will be held in English on Monday, February 12th, at 6:30 pm ET and again on February 22nd, at 6:30 pm ET. The French session will be held on Thursday, February 15th, at 6:30 pm ET. Registration for both sessions is available at The Government of Canada funds this project through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

About Foopreneur Lab

Established in 2019, Foodpreneur Lab is the only Canadian Black woman-founded and led nonprofit with a fierce national mandate to advance racial and gender equity in the food sector. Its mission is to level the playing field for underserved communities and forge Paths where Black foodpreneurs can leverage their cultural insight and lived experiences in food product innovation.  We don’t want to just break beyond the grocery store’s ‘ethnic food aisle’; we want to celebrate new food products that connect with a community’s sense of belonging.

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