was launched in April 2021.
In the coming months and years, we will be featuring stories from a diverse array of entrepreneurs, people who have pursued their vision with passion and courage.
We hope you find value in the programming offered here, and maybe one day, we can share your story!
While the Foodpreneur Advantage initiative is new, the partners on this collaboration are not. They have been helping entrepreneurs start and grow businesses for many years!
“In 2018, Joanie’s Pastries started off by participating at butter tart festivals and local markets, showcasing our amazing gluten free butter tarts. As word spread and the need for delicious gluten free treats became more evident, our need for space and equipment increased. Our brick and mortar space opened in September 2019 and with our ever growing list of products, we now employ 5 staff and continuously add to our menu. Our Maple Bacon Tarts, Carrot Cake and Cinnamon Buns are among some of our best sellers! I would tell businesses just starting out to use the resources around them. All of those first steps have been walked by past entrepreneurs, so ask the questions, seek advice and learn from those around you. Focus on what you are good at and look for those around you who can help fill in the gaps. The London Small Business Enterprise Centre has been a tremendous support to our business. They have helped us apply for grants to help us work more efficiently. They have generally been a great resource and happily answered all the questions I’ve had.”
Joan Hepburn, Owner of Joanie’s Pastries Gluten Free Inc.
“The Elgin/St. Thomas Small Business Enterprise Centre has been an integral part of our business, from launching to expansion, they have been with us every step of the way. After launching our business in 2011, I was able to receive invaluable advice which included but was not limited to: Writing and fine tuning a business plan, creating spreadsheets to best understand our projected income and costs, as well as just having someone to bounce ideas off of. This guidance kept us on track. From there, we had ample help with our marketing, networking, and community building through their resources, connections and events. During the Covid 19 pandemic, we were again able to lean into the business advisors on matters such as website updates, marketing and online assistance to take our business virtually. The expansive skill set within the SBEC team created a diverse support system, and one we are so grateful for. We feel truly lucky to have such fantastic support for small businesses!”
Jane & Chuck Magri, Owners of Wildflowers Farm
“I’ve been operating for about two years selling premium, Fairtrade, small batch coffee roasted right here in London, infused with energy boosting herbs, but no jitters! The food industry is a tough one. With low margins, high expenses, and heavy regulations, it can seem daunting at first. But if you love your product and are passionate your chances of making it improve tenfold. The London Small Business Centre has helped my business by providing me with the information I didn’t know I needed to know. Traceability, labelling requirements, employee best practices, merchandising best practices; these are only a few of the incredibly useful topics that were presented in their Food Scale Up! program. This information was invaluable to me and my business!”
Natalie White, Owner Cafézia Coffee
The Hot Sauce Co.
“The Hot Sauce Co. is a straight up, premium hot sauce company. We officially broke onto the scene in March 2020 at the Heatwave Hot Sauce Expo, alongside side dozens of established hot sauce companies. Currently our operations have 1 full time employee and two part time contractors who assist with production of the sauces. We’re a small batch producer and we make all-natural hot sauces with 3 flavours available year-round and new monthly limited-edition flavours to keep things spicy. The London SBC provided my company with access to industry experts and curated education resources one would otherwise have to search for in the sea of information we call the internet. My advice to new businesses would be to trust the process, and stay hungry for more.”
Jesse Long, Founder of The Hot Sauce Co.
Cedar Valley Selections
“Our business was launched in 2015 when my son and co-owner, Ameen Fadel, took his idea through the Student Ventures program, administered by the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre (SBC). The SBC’s amazing staff, along with participation in tradeshows, were key to our growth in the industry. Knowing that SBC always had our back was the most reassuring feeling that kept us going. Obstacles? Call SBC. Need to network? Call SBC. Need any business advice, leads or information? Call SBC! We can’t thank the staff enough for all of their support. Every entrepreneur who has reached out to us since our beginning has received the same advice: Contact SBC!”
Surria Fadel, Co-owner of Cedar Valley Selections
“Elgin/St. Thomas SBEC has been vital to not only my business in the beginning but continues to support me toward growth and success. From hosting Starter Company programs, to writing a proper business plan, to connecting me with grants, to including me in events and promotions, my business would not have taken off and wouldn’t continue to succeed without their assistance and mentorship.”
Genevieve Scarfone, Owner of Seed Confections
Rose and Daffodil Bakery
“We started our business in June 2020 online primarily, but we also participate in the Port Rowan Farmers Market. We supply a few stores with products such as entrees, meat pies and soups, and have a custom cake side to the business, making wedding and celebration cakes.
A big challenge was navigating our start-up once Covid 19 hit. We were able to pivot our original ideas and make different products that were more in demand, such as homemade meals rather than wedding and celebration cakes. The Small Business Enterprise Centre in Oxford county has been fantastic in guiding us through the start-up of our business, offering workshops focusing on important areas of the business that we were needing help with, as well as supporting us achieving success in their start-up grant application.”
Angela Thompson and Debra Sampey, Owners of Rose and Daffodil Bakery