Local entrepreneurs got the chance to pitch their ideas to create a circular food economy earlier this week
The second cohort of graduates from the R-Purpose MICRO program presented their ideas for a more circular economy to a panel of judges for constructive criticism.
The virtual Demo Day event allowed companies to present business pitches and make connections with leaders from various industries.
The program is aimed at micro-companies who have fewer than five employees and is part of Guelph-Wellington’s Our Food Future initiative.
“This initiative is to create Canada’s first circular food economy by 2025,” said Cher Mereweather, president and CEO of the Provision Coalition. “The circular food economy is inspired by the planets natural cycle, it re-imagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, it eliminates waste, it shares in economic prosperity and it nourishes our community.
Each company has an individual idea to create a more circular food economy, from home hydroponic kits to soy-based cream liqueur.
The judges came from various backgrounds:
- Barb Swartzentruber, Executive Director for the City of Guelph Smart Cities office
- Sheri Evans, local development manager for Sobeys
- Marcia Woods, CEO and co-founder for Freshspoke
- Evan Clark, vice-chair of the Golden Triangle Angel Network
“What’s amazing is the one thing we all share,” said Clark. “We’re all optimistic about a world that can be a little bit better and a little bit more environmentally friendly. We’re all here to combat a variety of things related to climate change and how we connect with each other. ”
Out of 13 presentations, the judges picked 5th bean, a soy-based cream liqueur company, and A Friendlier Company, a company that is creating reusable takeout packaging, as the runners up.
However, a unanimous vote crowned Well Baked Box as the winner. The company works on creating sustainably-sourced boxed baking and snack kits that are delivered. The kits are all free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar.
“I think being very niche in baking is a very smart play,” said Woods. “Being able to provide that for folks who have specific dietary requirements is very cool.”
Husband and wife duo Stewart Russell and Courtney Clayson-Russell were inspired by their passions for helping others make healthier choices. Russel said when they created the company, they wanted to make a commitment to running a sustainable and environmentally conscious business.
Russell said the taking the R-Purpose MICRO course shaped the direction Well Baked Box is going to be taking.
“This has been crazy, what we thought we were doing at the being of R-Purpose MICRO and what we’re doing now and planning to do is completely different,” said Russell. “It was very special for us to be part of the course.”