Whether the idea comes sitting in the tractor, around a boardroom, or in the middle of the night, actually converting an idea into a viable business can be a daunting task. To help move ideas forward, a non-profit company in Saskatchewan is focused on streamlining that process for food- and beverage-minded entrepreneurs.
The Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre, based out of Saskatoon, offers a full-service approach to bringing an idea into a full-fledged final product. Their expertise is vast and includes everything from product development, extrusion, ingredients, food safety, processing, and more.
Carmen Ly, communications director for Saskatchewan Food Centre, says they work with everyone from mom-and-pop shops to multinational companies and provide services based on the specific needs of the business.
“We have a dedicated product development team that will be able to work with the entrepreneur, with the business owner, to fine-tune their product formulation,”says Ly. “Then once the formulation is developed, then we have a manufacturing facility, federally inspected manufacturing facility, that can help them scale up that operation or scale up their production, and be able to manufacture thousands of jars of jams, or whatever that they can sell in the marketplace. We’ll help them with packaging, labeling, manufacturing, food safety, all that sort of thing that needs to be in place before you can actually sell it in the retail stores”.
Ly says most of their clientele is from within Saskatchewan, including Three Farmers Foods, however, they do work with business owners across Canada and even internationally.
Entrepreneurs are able to meet with the Saskatchewan Food Centre and have a free initial consultation to discuss their product, where they are at in the process and what their goals are. From there, a plan can be formulated and fees discussed for services rendered by the centre.
On top of the regular services offered to entrepreneurs by the Saskatchewan Food Centre, they are also home to the AWESOME Program, which is to Advance Women Entrepreneurs through Skill-development, Opportunity-identification, Manufacturing-advice and Export-marketing.
Through this program, which is available in Alberta and Manitoba as well as Saskatchewan, helps women entrepreneurs develop and grow their business through development consulting, skill development training, coaching, networking and other related services.