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Agencies team up to launch workshops for small businesses

Happy there was no snow to shovel for the launch of the Winter Survival Workshops for business people were PEC mayor Peter Mertens, Community Development Co-ordinator Grace Nyman, PELA CFDC Executive Director Craig Desjardins and Small Business Consultant Sandy Abbott.

The County’s new Community Development department has partnered with the Small Business Centre in Picton (SBC) and Prince Edward Lennox and Addington Community Futures Development Corporation (PELA CFDC) to coordinate a 2013 Winter Survival Workshop Series to help local businesses expand their market.
The first series of workshops, presented by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) will deal with key aspects of value added food production.
“This area of focus was identified in the Regional Local Food Business Retention and Expansion Survey facilitated by the County of Prince Edward in 2011-2012,” said Grace Nyman, of the Community Development Office. “The food production workshop series will provide ongoing education to help improve the availability of regulations, information or funding – especially for businesses with limited experience and no established contacts.”

“The Winter Survival Workshop Series will provide an opportunity for ‘one stop shopping’ and up-to-date information presented by experts in the field”, says Sandy Abbott, field consultant at the SBC. “Participants will leave with the tools, knowledge and contacts they need to undertake future research and development.”

“We hope that these workshops are the first of many collaborative learning opportunities for our local small businesses”, says Craig Desjardins, Executive Director at PELA CFDC. “This initiative aligns with the goals of PELA CFDC to encourage and support local entrepreneurship.”

“This collaborative workshop series is the first of its kind, and has been created specifically for our local businesses in response to the recognized need for small business to continuously expand their market,” said mayor Peter Mertens. “The initiative demonstrates the Community Development Department’s commitment to working with our community partners to provide assistance to small businesses.”

February 13, 2013
Food Production – Value Chains, Food Traceability, and Who’s Here to Help
A one-day workshop for farm and rural entrepreneurs presented by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. A value chain can be defined as a strategic partnership among inter-dependent businesses that collaborate to progressively create value for the final consumer resulting in a a collective competitive advantage. A highlight of the workshop will be a segment geared to providing resources for education and financial assistance. Each of these events will give participants an opportunity to display their products and network with others in the field. Representatives from various government departments will present opportunities for businesses and information about where they can access the help they need.

On March 13, 2013
Exploring Value Added Opportunities – Selecting Best Ideas, Assessing Potential, Next Steps

On March 13, a comprehensive workshop will be offered for those wishing to produce marketable food and/or beverage products and will cover topics such as Selecting Your Best Idea, Assessing Your Idea’s Business Potential and Next Steps. Presenters will cover the key components of a business plan for farm and rural entrepreneurs. Participants will gain information on sources of government funding, resources and financial assistance available in Ontario, and network with others in the industry throughout the region.

April 10, 2013
Food Production – Labeling, Co-Packing, Distribution, Exporting

On  April 10, specialists from OMAFRA will deliver the day-long workshop geared to those currently operating a business. Topics include labelling basics, regulations, requirements; co-packing short-term and long-term, distribution and logistics to go beyond the local farm market or store front and exporting, what you will need to consider before you decide to export and where to get the help you need.

Space is limited to 25 participants for each day-long workshop being held at the Macaulay Church building, Picton.Cost is $15, plus HST. Lunch and workshop materials included.

To register for workshops, contact:
Sandy Abbott, Small Business Consultant 613.476.4240 or Grace Nyman, Community Development Coordinator, 613.476.2148 x 255.
Detailed information and registration at http://www.pecounty.on.ca/government/community_development/index.php
If you have suggestions for future workshops, contact one of the organizers directly.

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