Food Starter, a Canada-based startup food incubator and accelerator, and Fiera Foods, a Canada-based food manufacturer, launched The Women in Food Rise Up Fund, a 3-year startup growth fund designed to provide Food Starter's women-led enterprises with a $5,000 grant to start and scale food businesses.

“We see day in and day out through our interactions with partners, employees and clients that women can lead and excel in our industry," says Boris Serebryany, president and CEO of Fiera Foods Co. "The concerning reality is that women are still underrepresented in food manufacturing. We're proud to work toward a solution by partnering with Food Starter to remove barriers, creating a more open and inclusive environment for female entrepreneurs and innovators in Ontario's food industry."

Grant recipients will receive a $3,500 check within two weeks of announcement plus $1,500 in Food Starter production hours or accelerator fee credits. The grant will be used for purchasing new equipment, supplies or ingredients required to fill orders, production labor and marketing expenses.

"We strongly believe in working to create more equitable playing field for women, and in particular, women newcomer entrepreneurs. It benefits us all creating jobs, advancing equity and building resilient communities," says Petra Kassun-Mutch, executive director, Food Starter.

To qualify, ventures must be 51% women-owned and women-led, revenue-positive, an active hourly or accelerator 2018 Food Starter client and a registered for-profit, social enterprise.

"We will continue to educate the food and beverage business community about the need for funds for women-led enterprises,” adds Kassun-Mutch.