Food security social enterprises:

MaRS has partnered with funding from the Provincial Government to offer an accelerator program supporting in-progress social enterprises focusing on food security.

Do you think social enterprises can improve food security? Should the government take this approach while allowing incomes lag and poverty to rise? Can a business model be provided that can profit while providing low-margin, healthy food?

There are a few success stories.

Can MaRS find these future successes without being rooted in community?

Applying groups need fully developed pitch decks or business plans, ready to scale up. Although targeting marginalized groups affected by food insecurity, the program may struggle to find those at the level required.

Nonetheless, if ready to apply, see below for more details. An attachment with more info is available. Send me a note through the contact form.

Are you an Ontario-based enterprise focused in food security looking for capital and opportunities to scale your business or organization?

The Government of Ontario and the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing are offering a spring social enterprise accelerator (SEA) program for social enterprises working in the food security sector, providing organizations with supports to develop capital raising capacity to scale their impact.  Designed to increase investment readiness, the accelerator will feature an in-person intensive education program complemented by a set of webinars, pitch preparation with experienced experts, and an opportunity to pitch your enterprise to impact investors.

Program Features and Benefits

The program has the following features and benefits:

  • Capital Raising Education: The program will offer high quality content including value proposition, impact frameworks and measurement, financial models and forecasts, options for financing your enterprise, hunting for investors, and pitch preparation;
  • Investors: Access to interested impact investors at the capstone investor pitch event;
  • Connections: Connect with and learn from fellow impact entrepreneurs focused on food security in Ontario; and
  • Travel Bursary: Travel bursary supporting travel for the in-person accelerator program in May 2017 for entrepreneurs outside the GTA or Golden Horseshoe.  All travel will have to meet requirements of the Government of Ontario’s Travel, Meal & Hospitality Directive.

The program will take place between early May and late June 2017.  All participants must be available to attend the in-person program on May 16 (pm) – May 18 (pm) at the Kempenfelt Conference Centre, which is located south of Barrie, Ontario.

Venture Profile

The program is designed to support early and growth stage food security ventures (including for-profits, non-profits and charities) that will be seeking investment capital in the next 12 months, ranging from food hubs to food production and processing (including aquaculture), to food distribution to employment and training that supports or advances food security. This may include Indigenous food enterprises, Northern Ontario food enterprises, and any food security enterprises increasing access to healthy food for individuals and communities that are food insecure.

At this time, we are not recruiting ventures at ideation phase, or those ventures looking to develop a business plan or business model.  Please read the attached summary document for more information on our detailed enterprise and impact criteria.

Application and Deadline

Applicants should provide the following: a complete online application form and a pitch deck.  If you do not have a pitch deck, please provide a copy of your complete business plan.  Ventures should send any documents to the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing via email at by Friday, April 21st at 12 pm.  Please reference “Social Enterprise Accelerator” in your email subject line.  We thank all those who apply. However, only those who are selected for review or participation will be contacted.  Up to eight (8) ventures will be selected for participation in this program.

For more information on the program, please review the attached Call for Applications.