In Canada, there are abundant resources designed to teach and inspire you — and ultimately — help your new food business succeed. So, if you’re starting a food business, here are some of the resources you need to take advantage of:
The Best Resources for Starting a Food Business
Check Out Your Local Library
Many public libraries organize programs and events to help new businesses. These events can consist of experienced entrepreneurs coming in to share their story, and government officials talking about new changes to legislation, or advisory members sharing practical advice.
Check out, for example, Opening a Food Business; a free event at Ottawa Public Library, in which Joanne Cléroux, Ottawa City’s business information officer, talks about different types of business licences.
One of the best things about these events: just like the books, most of them are free! Connect with your local library to see what programs they have available.
Get in Touch With Your Local Public Health Department
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) releases a number of food safety guidelines, but there are also regulations you may need to follow at a provincial level too. If you’re overwhelmed by all the information you need to remember, then try contacting your region’s public health department; they’ll tell you what permits you need and which regulations to follow.
Check out the Ottawa public health site, which has an easy-to-read page on Operating a Food Business, that tells you what kind of approvals and licences you need to run your food business. And while it’s not signposted for food businesses, Vancouver also has the same information on their public health site, which links to permits and resources for food safety in the province.
If you’re having trouble finding one for your city, remember to look at a provincial level. For example, we couldn’t find one for Calgary, but we found one for Alberta (see under Food Facilities). Usually the information is tucked away under headings for Environmental Health or Environmental Public Health.
Contact Other Businesses
You might be tempted to see other businesses as competition, but there’s room for everyone in the food market. Look for networking opportunities with similar businesses. Seeking out a food business network and mentorship program gives you an opportunity for guidance and to learn from other people’s mistakes and successes.
If you live in Northumberland County, Ontario, the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) has informal meet-and-greet nights, as well as group-training sessions where you can start forming a food business network. But you can also contact your local Small Business Enterprise Centre to see if a similar service is offered in your region.
Grow Your Agri-Food Business
If you’re interested in starting an agri-food business, download this e-book today to start learning tips for processing a high number of orders safely and sustainably.