Our Clients

The Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre offers a unique suite of services to help food entrepreneurs grow their business in a number of insightful and innovative ways.  With a dedicated team excited by innovation and passionate about entrepreneurship, the OAFVC has successfully helped launch 74 food businesses and brought nearly 200 new Made in Ontario products to market between 2018 and 2020.

Entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs.

Two staff in hair nets & lab coats filling bags of chipsThe OAFVC was built explicitly to support agri-food entrepreneurs and has a leadership team of entrepreneurs in spirit and practice.  With a keen understanding of challenges faced by start-up businesses and healthy respect for businesses that are always working to be more sustainable and to grow, the OAFVC team offers a suite of unique services to help.

Restaurants can manufacture and package unique sauces and spice blends

Are you a food and beverage business known for a special sauce or spice blend that you struggle to make and package while cooking for your inhouse customers?

The OAFVC offers clean spaces and mechanical fillers that allow clients to focus on production in one location, without losing operational capability in another.
The Pizza Factory’s success story https://globalnews.ca/video/5896517/the-pizza-factory-now-selling-caesar-dressing-in-stores

Special event prep with no onsite business interruption

Every year bakers gather from across the province to compete for Ontario’s Best Buttertart!  How can you run a bakery when you’re trying to make 10,000 butter tarts for a festival weekend?

OAFVC production space offers clients a well-equipped offsite location to ramp-up production of  products in preparation for major sales opportunities like festivals and showcases.  Let your second in command run the shop as usual while you come out to the OAFVC to run an extra production shift or two to ensure you have enough product to sell at the big event. 

Develop and trial a new product without interrupting your current co-manufacturing contract

You’ve been in the food industry for a while and your product is being regularly produced by a reputable co-manufacturer, but you have more ideas and they don’t have time right now. 

The OAFVC supports more than agri-food start-ups, businesses working toward sustainability and growth are equally important. Some clients have had their product on the market for years before they come to the OAFVC to increase production and grow the business while negotiating co-manufacturing contracts elsewhere.  While clients leave the OAFVC to produce elsewhere and return later with a new product to test-market while their co-packer continues production on the rest of their SKUs. 

Build your business from retail-focused to something new

Entering the food industry requires entrepreneurs to be ready to respond to changes in the market, and explore new opportunities even when they’re a little offside from where you thought you were heading.

The OAFVC provides a safe space for clients to explore opportunities to take their business in different directions.  Collaborate with members of OAFVC’s Food Entrepreneur support network, connect with industry experts, and try new recipes, processes, and products in a safe confidential manufacturing space.

Soups2Go growing their retail business in new directions: http://www.cobourgnow.com/?p=16519 

Increase frozen storage capacity without investing in more freezers

While holding overstock in frozen storage is a great way to manage cashflow, adding freezer capacity to your business means investing in equipment, upkeep, and electricity. 

The OAFVC can often assist clients with low cost, easily accessible, freezer storage for short and long term needs.  Offsite frozen storage allows clients to buy ingredients when in-season and freeze them for later use, taking advantage of a abattoir booking secure that you have a place to store those frozen roasts and turkeys until customers are looking to buy their Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas dinners.  The OAFVC can receive, store, and ship products for clients, helping clients take advantage of more opportunities to grow their business.  Call for storage availability and further details.

Host a meaningful and memorable fundraising venture

Does the idea of another chocolate bar fundraiser feel a little disconnected from the cause you’re trying to support?

The OAFVC is a great partner for schools and non-profit groups excited by unique fundraising ventures that offer participants meaningful engagement, tangible outcomes, and a taste of entrepreneurship.  Participants must be at least 16 years old to work in the manufacturing spaces.

Campbellford District High School’s super salsa fundraiser: https://trenthillsnow.com/2018/12/01/hot-new-product-cdhs-salsa-hits-the-shelves-in-trent-hills-come-taste-the-flame/  

Plant-Based Friendly

Plant based food products on shelfThe OAFVC is available for fruit and vegetable processing, and now some dairy too.
Built with farmers and food entrepreneurs in mind, the OAFVC is all about sustainability – in business and in the environment. OAFVC clients produce all kinds of foods, including vegetarian burgers, non-dairy frozen desserts, sauces, salad dressings, soups, spice blends, snack food, and bakery items. As innovation continues the OAFVC recently began working with clients in partnership with Dairy Farmers’ of Ontario (DFO) to produce some innovative dairy products.

While OAFVC clients produce and process many kinds of foods, please note that raw meat processing is not permitted on-site.

OAFVC is built for purpose

The OAFVC was designed and built as a result of a Regional Local Food Business Retention and Expansion project led by Northumberland County Economic Development in partnership with nine distinct jurisdictions including the separated cities of Kawartha Lakes, Prince Edward County, Belleville, Quinte West, and the Counties of Northumberland, Peterborough, Hastings, Lennox and Addington, and Frontenac.

Nearly 400 local food businesses located within in the geography of those upper tier municipalities participated in interviews and a survey to identify their business successes, challenges, and opportunities within the region. Participants across all jurisdictions recommended building a shared-use value-adding food manufacturing facility. Demonstrating a strong commitment to agri-food entrepreneurship, and belief that entrepreneurship is a key driver for Ontario’s rural economy, Northumberland County built the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre in response to those requests and recommendations.

Located just one minute south of highway 401 at exit 497, clients and freight haulers enjoy easy access to Ontario's transportation  corridor for movement of goods across Ontario. While Northumberland County residents and business owners enjoy discounted fees when engaging OAFVC services, the facility regularly engages clients from across the province including locations as far away as Windsor, Ottawa, and Thunder Bay.

OAFVC by the Numbers

Diagram showing clients by region  OAFVC Number Statistics