It’s not easy to run a business, especially if it is a start-up. It becomes especially frustrating when your business runs into a brick wall that you just can’t seem to get past. Is your business stuck and you have no idea how to get ‘unstuck’? Every business runs into this issue, regardless of industry. The question always comes down to: ‘How do I fix this and take my start up to the next level?’
Thankfully, there are resources and organizations willing to help entrepreneurs and small business make that big leap.
The Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator (APBI) in Alberta is one of those organizations. This facility is a branch of the Food Processing Development Centre (FPDC) and their expertise involves helping support any new or existing companies looking to branch out or launch any locally produced product. Opened in 2007, the APBI is a 75,000-square-foot facility that helps support growth and diversification in the Alberta Agri-food sector and the provincial economy.
The FDC provides product and process development support to the processing industry and the APBI offers food processing suites for medium term lease. These leases allow food processing companies to further develop and grow their business in a federally inspected environment.
Both facilities provide many different services and programs, each with its own acceptance process. The FPDC and the APBI base their acceptance standards on recommendations by selection committees.
Looking at the overall selection process, let’s take APBI, for example. Their selection is based on a two-fold system. Not only does it involve an application, but also a solid business plan. After the business is vetted, then an ad hoc committee reviews the application and business plan.
Any successful candidates then go on to sign a 3-year contract with APBI for use of their facilities.
The FDPC bases their acceptance on their ability to assist their client as well as the soundness of the client’s idea (i.e Product, process, the likelihood of economic success). Their committee meets on a weekly basis to review applications.
In early 2017, the APBI and the FPDC facility was granted the ‘Designated Business Incubator’ status by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IIRC). This essentially means that business groups with this status have been approved to support possible start-ups. One of the new services that the APBI has is a start-up visa program. The organization chooses what business proposals it wants to review and once the idea is chosen, then APBI will provide, what is known as a Letter of Support. This letter is a very important piece of documentation for entrepreneurs or startups looking to apply for a grant.
The APBI is looking at $10 million expansion that the Alberta government just recently announced. Scheduled to be completed as of mid-2019, the APBI will have 3 new business incubator suites and food product development space, which totals to another 2,500 sq.m.
The LeDuc facility is the largest of its kind in North America and it works with approximately 80-100 companies every year!
Check out their website!