Earlier this month, FedDev Ontario announced an investment of $7.2 million towards London’s The Grove, a food hub located at the Western Fair District. The allocated funding, combined with an additional $10 million from private and public-sector investments, will leverage close to $17 million over the next five years to help London’s new and existing agriculture and food businesses to reach their full potential.
“London has considerable strength in food production, and it is growing. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial importance of Canada’s agri-food processors. We want to foster the potential of this sector to grow and bring more products and services to market.”
– Kate Young, London West Liberal MP
The investment is estimated to help maintain over 100 jobs and create over 550 new jobs through supporting 40 existing businesses and creating new ones as 20 innovative products are brought to the London market. Overall, there are about 90 agri-food-specific businesses located in the London region, employing about 7,000 residents. London is also home to other food sector powerhouses including the Cakerie, a dessert business, Dr. Oetker, a frozen pizza maker, and a Nestle factory.
How is FedDev Ontario Government Funding Helping London’s Agri-Food Sector?
The investment has already begun to help with the current renovation of The Fritter Shop, a business that has a stall at The Market at Western Fair District. The Grove location will use the FedDev Ontario investment to continue helping the company expand so that it can start selling its baked goods at more locations across Ontario.
Mainly, the FedDev Ontario investment will be divided between two initiatives at the Grove:
- Offering financial support and resources for startups to accelerate growth in new and existing small businesses while providing training and educational programs.
- Renovating a 9,300-square-metre space to accommodate more local businesses and purchasing machinery and equipment for these food businesses to succeed.
To help meet the objectives of the first initiative, Fanshawe College and Western University are offering research and innovation support to small businesses, and the London Training Centre is offering skills training courses. To meet the expansion of the second initiative, the Western Fair District will spend about $3 million of the government funding investment in renovating its space. The London Small Business Centre will also receive $200,000 from FedDev Ontario, along with an additional $160,000 from Libro Credit Union, to support entrepreneurs starting agri-food businesses.
As for the additional $10 million from private and public-sector investments, London’s RH Accelerator, a technology business incubator and startup, is endeavoring to get about $2 million in investments from the private sector into food businesses at the Grove.
“The real magic of this collaboration is we have brought together government, not-for-profits, community agencies, education facilities and private industry to provide training and resources and seed investment for all stages of companies in the agri-food and agri-tech sectors.”
– Reg Ash, Chief Executive of Western Fair District
Government Funding for the Agri-Food Business Sector
With more than $39 billion in yearly revenue, 3,000 active food and beverage processors, and 97,000 workers, Ontario is one of the most active and competitive agri-food jurisdictions in North America. Every year, products grown and made by Ontario agri-food businesses help to feed millions of people all around the world.
To learn how to grow, finance, and manage a successful agri-food business in Ontario, download the free Canadian Agri-Business Growth Guide. This extensive white paper offers the most important resources your agri-food business needs to know in order to attain long-term success.