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Growing Women-Led Food Businesses with VC-Ready

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Venture-Capital Ready is a new program for women-led food businesses to help them prepare for investor conversations. Farm Food Drink has partnered with long-time colleagues at Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA) to build and launch many components for this initiative. We’re all excited to see these women learn and practise how to optimize investment opportunities so more of them can scale-up their enterprise.

With many supporting partners, SSFPA has created a nation-wide program that trains Canadian women/intersectional individuals from the agri-food space on how to prepare for investment.

“Women-led startups comprise approximately 17.5% of all private-sector businesses in Canada, yet received only 2.3% of total VC funding in 2022.”

This program intends to improve those stats to support the process of scaling up as well as training these women to hone pitches and prepare to overcome obstacles that can arise when pursuing investment or financing.  

The Project

SSFPA was excited and grateful to receive funding for this program through the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneur Strategy. With a successful and ongoing relationship, Farm Food Drink was called in to help develop several aspects of the program. The emphasis on supporting female agri-food entrepreneurs excited their whole team.

The Creative

Many elements had to come together to get this program launched. We’ll take you through a few to get a sense of how we can work with small-scale companies and larger partner opportunities.

Branding

Because this was an SSFPA initiative, we wanted to tie in some of their brand elements to ensure that connection, while giving VC Ready its own strong identity.

Using the SSFPA brand colour palette complemented the relationship. Adding to that, we created a VC-Ready logo that somewhat mirrored the logo and brand elements that Farm Food Drink previously created for SSFPA.

Website

We developed the front end of the website using the newly birthed brand. Working with the SSFPA team on layout and copy, Farm Food Drink evolved the site to what it is today.

Website Now Live!

Program

Putting our heads together with SSFPA, we developed an outline of how the VC-Ready program could be run. We expressed how we thought it should work, how women go through it, and what resources they would receive. Farm Food Drink guided this process creation while considering all aspects of content and technical logistics.

Website Portal

Beyond having a website for information and promotion, Farm Food Drink developed a portal on the site to guide people through various elements of the program along with an ever-growing library of resources. It’s based on a membership model where people create an account, and then complete an eligibility questionnaire to see if their business is a good fit for the program.

Once accepted into the program, their intake form identifies an action plan for what they need to focus on to become investor-ready and how to prepare for an investor conversation.

Coaching

Coaching was an essential part to include in this program. With businesses at different stages and levels of investor knowledge, Farm Food Drink also helps manage the coaching experience by engaging an impressive team of business coaches, venture capital experts, and communications specialists.

Client Reaction

The Venture-Capital Ready program has successfully gone through one cohort with a second one underway. It’s proving to be a popular attraction for our targeted women-led food businesses. There has been great participation at the pitch parties and many of the founders are well on their way to obtaining venture capital investment.

“We love the modern branding and easy-to-navigate website and platform elements that Farm Food Drink developed,” shares Janet Dean, Venture-Capital Training Program Director.

“It’s rewarding to work with partners who are also enthusiastic supporters to help propel these female business owners to more investment and financing opportunities.”.

As with any new initiative we are able to make improvements with each new group and activity. The program and portal will continue to evolve as we increase the success of more women-led businesses.

What’s Next?

This is one of the biggest projects Farm Food Drink has been involved with and the program and outcomes are exciting! This is legacy stuff. This will move the needle of food security and grow our food economy through a segment that is dominant in small scale food processing but very under represented in investment and financing to scale up. We are working to right this ship.

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