Developing value-added products and services is critical to Canada’s knowledge economy and competitiveness. More than ever, startups and early-stage businesses are being called on to support innovation and respond to new consumer/market preferences. Because of the rising demand for new consumer products, Canadian startups should focus on finding and establishing themselves within this market.
Thankfully, a new startup incubator in western Canada is supporting the growth of consumer product startups. District Ventures is a Calgary, Alberta-based startup accelerator providing mentorship, commercialization support, and venture capital access to early-stage food and beverage/ health and wellness sectors.
District Ventures is led by business mogul and television personality Arlene Dickinson. Since leaving the hit CBC show Dragon’s Den, Arlene has readjusted her focus to growing entrepreneurism in Canada. District Ventures’ startup services include providing access to product development/commercialization space and creating collaboration opportunities with packaged goods entrepreneurs, mentors, and support staff.
Why Use the District Ventures Startup Incubator?
If your Alberta startup or early-stage business is in the packaged goods sector, District Ventures has resources to assist your growth. From dedicated on-site staff to industry-leading mentors, District Ventures members have unparalleled access to advisory services to guide your company in the right direction.
Some of the mentors currently involved with District Ventures include:
- Peter Fenwick: A healthcare executive driving technological innovation in Alberta’s health system. Peter’s knowledge of the public and private sectors makes him a valuable leader in the field.
- Kieren Beltram: A technology development expert among startups and established businesses. His background in software and social media marketing make him a go-to choice for business development mentoring.
- Jennifer Carlson: Jennifer’s company, Baby Gourmet, has evolved from being a farmer’s market favourite to an internationally successful brand. She is a great example of what it takes to launch and grow your business.
- Bill McKenzie: A leader among the beer and bottled beverages industry, Bill has managed a range of beer manufacturers, from startup brewers to Molson-Coors.
- Stéphane Gagné: One of Canada’s most prominent health and wellness industry experts, Stéphane has over 20 years of experience in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and nutritional supplements.
Members Currently Using District Ventures’ Startup Accelerator
District Ventures chooses to work with innovative consumer goods producers from across Alberta. Some of the startups currently engaged with District Venture’s startup incubator include:
- All Clean Natural creates sustainable, environmentally-friendly chemicals including all-natural cleaning products.
- Norma-Jean’s Honest Foods is embracing the new, growing market for children’s organic snacks. Their Lil’ Nibbles snack bars are suitable for toddlers aged 1 year and older.
- Bow Valley BBQ Inc. is obsessed with making gourmet sauces and condiments for commercial and personal use. The company sources natural, high quality ingredients to formulate sauces, spices, and salsa.
- Farafena seeks to bring delicious, nutritious grains harvested in Mali to consumers across the world. With a range of products created from grain superfoods, Farafena supports international farmers while delivering nutritious foods to an underserviced section of the market.
- Wild Sparkling Tea brews kombucha, a fermented tea beverage that is rising in popularity among North American consumers. Kombucha is a health product that aids digestion and neutralizes the body’s PH levels.
Startup Funding and Resources for Early-Stage Businesses
Startup incubators, such as District Ventures, are an excellent way for startups and early-stage businesses to achieve sustainability. With mentoring, funding, and a variety of support services at their disposal, startups can flourish and make valuable, lasting connections.
Incubators and accelerators can provide access to capital and help entrepreneurs prepare pitches to access additional financing. This is critical to the growth of small businesses, since most Canadian government funding programs are not available to startups or businesses incorporated for less than 3 years. To discover all the eligibility criteria you need to meet to be eligible for grants and incentives, please download a free Startup Funding Checklist.