The City of Barrie, in partnership with Georgian College and the Agri-Food Management Institute, is bringing SPROUT to Simcoe County.

SPROUT is a business development program designed to assist food-based entrepreneurs take their product ideas to market. Registration for the course is open now. It runs for 10 weeks starting Feb. 22. The program is comprised of weekly seminars, kitchen time, panel presentations, mentorship and a final presentation to the public. It’s ideal for early-stage food entrepreneurs who have a food idea that they have begun to develop (but are pre-revenue) or for those who are currently selling at farmer’s markets and festivals.

“Food businesses represent a high proportion of small businesses in our city,” said Zvi Lifshiz, Invest Barrie executive director. “In fact, 30 per cent of Barrie’s downtown businesses are culinary-based, with a 19 per cent increase in specialty food stores from 2010-2015. These statistics demonstrate the importance of the city supporting food entrepreneurs with programs like SPROUT.”

Participants in the course will learn: introduction to food production and training with production kitchens; understanding the regulatory environment of food; understanding costs related to developing a food product; recipe and food product development; and sales distribution, pricing, marketing and selling.

For information or to register, visit SPROUT at www.investbarrie.ca/programs.