Southern Ontario Businesses Celebrate Success after Agri-Tech Seed Funding

October 11, 2017


Innovation Showcase Highlights the Impact of Seed Funding Program by Bioenterprise Corporation and Innovation Guelph

GUELPH, October 10, 2017 – Fifteen small businesses from across southern Ontario gathered in Guelph yesterday to showcase their successes in agriculture and technology. All 15 are recipients of the first round of seed funding awarded in July 2016 by Bioenterprise Corporation and its delivery partner Innovation Guelph.

The event, which took place at Cutten Fields in Guelph, highlighted notable achievements and impacts of the funding, including sales growth, job creation and economic development.

Roothams Gourmet Preserves, a small, family-owned business that produces a line of gourmet jams and condiments, was one of the businesses that shared their success story at the event. “We are an exemplary case where funding, coupled with mentoring and support, has made a significant difference to our organization. We’ve see our sales double in just one year and we’re not so sure that would have happened without this seed funding,” says Roothams owner Will Rootham Roberts.

Also on hand was Mirexus Biotechnologies, Inc., a biomedical company that extracts a patented safe and natural nanomaterial from Ontario sweet corn for use in natural cosmetics, human and animal nutrition, and advanced pharmaceuticals. “Since receiving seed funding we have grown our staff from four to 18 and attracted $16 million in private investment. Our material is now being sold around the world for advanced cosmetics applications, and we have started construction of a manufacturing plant in Guelph,” says the company’s President and CEO, Phil Whiting.

"We are delighted to showcase 15 of the 32 recipients from the first round of Bioenterprise’s Seed Funding program and Innovation Guelph’s Fuel Injection program.  As a result of the support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the 32 recipient companies have raised more than $21 million in follow-on private investment, generated more than $6 million in revenues, created more than 45 jobs, and launched more than 50 products, processes, and technologies. These innovators, along with more recent recipients of these programs, continue to create new and exciting opportunities for economic development in Southern Ontario," says Jessica Bowes, Manager, Business & Technology Analyst Group, Bioenterprise Corporation.

 "This seed funding program has enabled participants to make great strides in scaling their companies: launching new products and services, reaching new markets, on-boarding new employees and attracting millions of dollars of additional investment. We are especially proud of the support we’ve given to female founders and cofounders, who represent 40% of Innovation Guelph participants over the life of the program so far. We are confident that this partnership between Bioenterprise and Innovation Guelph is driving innovation for the province and generating sustainable economic growth throughout the region," adds Anne Toner Fung, Executive Director, Innovation Guelph.

 “Congratulations to Bioenterprise Corporation and Innovation Guelph, and to all of the first round recipients, on reaching this important milestone. The Government of Canada is proud to invest in smart, collaborative partnerships such as this one,” said Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph. “This project is opening doors for a number of small- and medium-sized businesses, and is leading to the discovery and development of innovative products here in southern Ontario.”

 The Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has provided Bioenterprise with up to $4.84 million to deliver the Bioenterprise Seed Fund and Innovation Guelph’s Fuel Injection program. These programs support innovative southern Ontario businesses in the agriculture and agri-food, sustainable and environmental technology, advanced manufacturing and social innovation sectors.

 Since the seed funding program began in 2016, 63 businesses across Ontario have received up to $30,000 each, accompanied by coaching and mentorship. Overall, this project is expected to help up to 110 early-stage companies, create up to 230 full-time jobs, maintain up to 500 jobs and strengthen economic development.