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Wrapping Up the Ethnic Food Incubator: A Reflection by Program Lead Allison Gibson

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Wrapping Up the Ethnic Food Incubator, A Personal Reflection by Allison Gibson

We’ve just wrapped up our Ethnic Food Incubator Program in partnership with the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, and I’m filled with all of the feelings! The 12-week program was the first of its kind in Canada and involved collaboration and mentorship support from partners and sponsors such as BDC, Uber Eats, and Sobeys.

I feel honoured to have been trusted with the tasks of facilitating our weekly sessions and supporting the amazing entrepreneurial group of Black women from all over Canada who are launching new food and beverage products.

I feel proud when I reflect on the progress and the milestones achieved, knowing how challenging it is navigating the world of food entrepreneurship while balancing all other aspects of life. 

I feel hopeful that this program indicates that more opportunities for equitable access to food mentorship and business resources are on the horizon. 

Most importantly, I feel inspired to continue with the momentum this program has created, and am excited about what is next.

I am confident that the success of this program is a result of the programming, guest speakers, and mentor opportunities being curated to specifically address the needs and challenges that Black female entrepreneurs face.

A cookie-cutter approach to business incubation does not work, and holds little to no value for those who face unique systemic barriers. Successful programs are tailored to address the needs of the audiences they seek to engage, and that is something that the team at Spring does best.

I had the full support of an amazing team that consistently checked in with me and on the program to see how they could help. Most notably Heena, our dedicated Impact and Engagement Coordinator, coached me on facilitation best practices and was by my side every step of the way. 

Our final Demo Day was a hit and showcased new and innovative food products that many have never seen, and I couldn’t think of a better way to end Black History Month.

Congratulations to the winners of the Demo Day showcase, Fusion Fit Foods, 116 Kitchen, and Craving Is Served! Your products are all unique and delicious and I can’t wait to see them on retail shelves everywhere soon.

Congratulations are also in order for all program participants who accomplished great things during the 12-week program: Street Food World, Dinaka Food & Drink, J&B Kelwells, Baccanalle, Eight 50 Coffee, Gosiora Greens & Grains, Sunshine T Catering, Sweet Homage Confections, PNB Caterers, KLEEN Tea, Karoo Snacks, and Seasi’s Custom Spices.

The Ethnic Food Incubator is the perfect example of why programs and services designed for Black women by Black women are the future, and an important step in the right direction of ensuring food entrepreneurship opportunities are accessible to all.

Stay tuned for what is next as this is just the beginning of what Spring and I have in store for supporting food innovation and food entrepreneurs! 

Eat Well,

Allison Gibson,
Food Innovation Program Manager at Spring Activator

Follow Spring Activator and to stay up to date on our food innovation programming. To learn more and explore collaboration opportunities between Spring and your organization, reach out to Allison Gibson.

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