Empire Company and its family of grocery chains is supporting Canadian food and beverage entrepreneurs by partnering with District Ventures ‘ Accelerator program and District Ventures Kitchen, run by renowned entrepreneur and investor, Arlene Dickinson.
Through this one-of-a-kind partnership, Canadian food entrepreneurs in the District Ventures Accelerator program will receive support from Empire, including coaching from local development managers and opportunities to bring their products to the grocer's store shelves within a region or across Canada.
"Empire has a rich history of meaningfully investing in local growers and suppliers across Canada," says Jana Sobey, vice president of merchandising, Thrifty Foods, Community and Field for Sobeys Inc. "Supporting local is at the heart of everything we do, and we are incredibly proud to stand side-by-side with District Ventures as we continue to nurture the countless innovative food entrepreneurs in communities large and small right across our country."
Sobeys actively sources local products through a dedicated team of local development managers who are specifically focused on seeking out and building partnerships with local suppliers. Since the establishment of the Local Development Team in 2018, Sobeys has partnered with more than 800 local suppliers.
The partnership comes on the heels of District Ventures' acquisition of commercial kitchen, Food Starter in late 2019. Now operating under the name District Ventures Kitchen, the 20,000 sq. ft. commercial kitchen in Toronto provides local food and beverage entrepreneurs with access to a broad array of equipment and programming to help build and grow their businesses, including production spaces, packaging facilities, and business advisory services. Both the District Ventures Kitchen and District Ventures Accelerator facilities will don the Sobeys logo.