Accelerating circular businesses across southern Ontario

Forty food and environment businesses will work with COIL to reduce or transform waste

Guelph, Ont., November 25, 2021– Today the Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities Office announced that 40 circular businesses, social enterprises and other organizations will participate in the first cohort of business programs under the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) by the end of December.

This summer, COIL collaborators including Innovation Guelph, 10 Carden Shared Space (10C), the Smart Cities Office and Provision Coalition launched four business funding programs aimed at incubating and accelerating circular businesses, developing new circular products and supporting circular economy innovation within a supply chain.  

“We received a very positive response to our call for applications,” says David Messer, Manager, COIL. “We’re seeing some fantastic local organizations that want to establish or expand their circular practices, and others coming into our region to build out their great ideas within the circular food ecosystem we’ve built here over the last few years. It’s been amazing opening Guelph-Wellington’s circular economy testbed up to companies from across southern Ontario.”

COIL’s first cohort of programs include:

  • Ten scaleup and five start-up businesses are participating in the Activate Accelerator and Evolve Pre-Accelerator programs. These participants will work with Innovation Guelph to grow their businesses to be investor-ready.
  • Twenty-one organizations are participating in the Circulate CoLab, an innovation process where each of five team receives $20,000 to prototype a circular supply chain innovation over 12 weeks. All teams will then compete for an additional $100,000 in funding to scale their idea up. Several teams are developing or testing new technologies to help reduce food waste or upcycle food waste into new products.
  • Six companies ranging from large processors to local farms are participating in the Re(PURPOSE) Incubator, a program that provides expert consulting from Provision Coalition to help companies develop new ways to turn food waste into new circular products and collaborations.

As with Our Food Future, also run by the Smart Cities Office with a mandate to create Canada’s first modern circular food economy in Guelph and Wellington County, COIL programs focus on creating social, economic, and environmental benefits. Several social enterprises are participating in COIL programs to develop innovative ways of addressing access to nutritious foods for people experiencing food insecurity.

COIL Advisory Council of Industry Experts

Along with local collaborators like 10C, Innovation Guelph and Provision Coalition, COIL has convened an expert advisory council of industry leaders that are providing guidance on funding decisions as well as the overarching COIL initiative strategy. All advisory council members are volunteering their time and expertise in a personal capacity.

“We feel very fortunate to have this team of people with exceptional talent and expertise to help guide our programming and look forward to learning from them as this work unfolds,” adds Messer.

Advisory council members include:

  • Melissa Annett, Principal, Senior Project Manager, Strategic Advisor Manufacturing, RWDI
  • Pierre Courtemanche, Sustainability and Supply Chain Strategist
  • Bryce Diagle, Director, Market Strategy and Planning, Instacart
  • Tim Faveri, VP Sustainability and Shared Value, Maple Leaf Foods
  • Karen Flamand, AVP Claims Shared Services, National Claims, The Co-operators
  • Catherine Leighton, Senior Environmental Consultant, Sustainability and Environment, TELUS
  • Sourabh Malik, Vice President CPG, Restaurant Brands International
  • Dana McCauley, Chief Experience Officer, Canadian Food Innovation Network
  • Joe Solly, Partner, Sustainability and Climate Change, Deloitte
  • Bruce Taylor, President, Enviro-Stewards

Quotes

“We couldn’t be happier with the interest and enthusiasm we’re seeing from businesses and organizations in our region that want to inject a more circular approach to their operations. Given recent global commitments to put our food system in the centre of strategies to address climate change, this announcement reinforces that Guelph-Wellington is a leader in this important work.”
Anne Toner Fung, Executive Director and CEO, Innovation Guelph

“This is an exciting development that supports the City of Guelph’s Strategic Plan: Guelph. Future ready. The work of COIL, the Smart Cities Office, and all those involved will help accelerate Guelph’s unique position in the innovation corridor, establishing this community as a leader in the fast-growing global circular economy. I can’t wait to learn more about the companies and ideas that this work will accelerate.”
Scott Stewart, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Guelph

About COIL

Launched in April 2021 with $5 million in funding from FedDev Ontario, COIL is an innovation platform and Launched in April 2021 with $5 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), COIL is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions across the food and environment sectors in southern Ontario that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy.

COIL builds on the Our Food Future smart cities initiative which is close to meeting its goal of creating 50 new circular businesses and collaborations.

Funding for COIL program participants is provided in collaboration with 10C’s Harvest Impact Fund, a community social finance fund developer with Our Food Future aimed at supporting impactful projects to strengthen the Guelph and Wellington communities.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build a regional circular food economy that will achieve a 50 per cent increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50 per cent increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Resources

Example of some of the companies involved in COIL programs

Media contacts

David Messer, Manager COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]  

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066
[email protected]

Businesses begin unlocking the value of food waste through upcycling

Re(Purpose) Incubator ready to support six businesses in Ontario

Submit your application today at coil.eco/repurpose.

Guelph, Ont., September 10, 2021–Today the Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities Office and Provision Coalition Inc. are launching the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad’s (COIL) newest business support program, Re(Purpose) Incubator – the food and beverage industry’s new home for upcycling commercialization.

This commercialization project received funding through the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative.

The Re(Purpose) Incubator provides food and beverage companies a simple pathway to ingredient and product commercialization for their unavoidable food waste.

“In Canada, 68 per cent of our food waste is “unavoidable” and most of this waste comes from by-products created during food and beverage manufacturing,” says Cher Mereweather, President & CEO, Provision Coalition. “The good news, most of these wasted by-products are high in nutrients and by upcycling them we can capture that value and transform them into ingredients or new products that keep these valuable resources in the food system.”

Six companies from across Ontario will be selected by a committee over the next six months to participate in the Re(Purpose) Incubator. The selected companies will be guided through Provision Coalition’s step-by-step methodology to create a new upcycled ingredient or product so that their by-products can start generating revenue. In the end, companies will reduce their unavoidable waste and keep nutrients in the food system, aligning their business practices with circular economy principles and the growing demands of eco-conscious consumers.

The three-stage upcycling methodology involves food waste quantification, nutritional and economic analysis and product commercialization. Within each phase, companies will work with a network of experienced food scientists, engineers and marketers to analyze the financial, operational and market potential of the upcycled product.

Applications are being accepted and reviewed as they come in. Interested businesses can apply at coil.eco/repurpose.

“The Re(Purpose) Incubator is a great addition to the growing number of programs and resources available through Our Food Future and COIL,” says David Messer, Manager, COIL. “By reimagining food waste within the manufacturing process, businesses will keep more nutrients in our food system, reduce waste and increase their economic value. We’re excited by the interest in businesses to become more circular and the support by partners and funders such as Provision Coalition and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to make these programs a reality for Ontario businesses.”

“Agri-food research is key to building a stronger agri-food sector in Ontario,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Repurposing what would otherwise be considered food waste into useable products is an innovative way of building more sustainable and viable food system that will benefit the food manufacturing industry, our environment and economy.”

About COIL

COIL is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy. COIL funds a range of programs that accelerate circular enterprises, launch innovative demonstration projects and help inspire new circular collaborations across the food and environment sectors. 

The initiative was launched in April 2021.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build a regional circular food economy that will achieve a 50% increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50% increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Media contacts

Cher Mereweather, President & CEO
Provision Coalition
519-822-2042
[email protected]

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066
[email protected]

David Messer, Manager COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]  

COIL Circulate CoLab opens to support transformational supply chain innovation in Ontario

Funding available to design and test inspirational ideas which will reduce waste and increase circularity

Access the full challenge brief and submit your application today at coil.eco/colab.

Guelph, Ont., August 31, 2021– Today Guelph-Wellington’s Smart Cities Office, 10C and Innovation Guelph launched the COIL Circulate CoLab, an innovation program that will help organizations collaborate to design and test transformative circular supply chain approaches that reduce waste and increase material reuse and recycling in the food and environment sectors.

“Reducing and creating more value from waste is common sense for every business,” says David Messer, Manager, Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL). “However, if we want to create a more circular economy, we need innovators to blaze the trail with new ideas and solutions. Through Circulate CoLab we hope to give innovators space and resources to test big ideas that can inspire and transform their industry or even create new ones.”

The COIL Circulate CoLab is hosting a series of three open challenges to identify and prototype circular economy innovations and collaborations that could scale up into industrial-scale demonstration projects with the potential to transform or disrupt their industry. The challenge series, which starts today, will run through 2022 with a total of three challenges and provide a total of $800,000 in project funding to participating businesses.  

“Sustainability practices like waste reduction are top of mind for many companies. The Circulate CoLab is an exciting opportunity for businesses to collaborate and co-create new and innovative solutions together,” says Shakiba Shayani, President and CEO, Guelph Chamber of Commerce.

Circulate CoLab Challenge details

COIL Circulate CoLab will issue challenges focused on a particular element of the food or environment industry supply chain calling for teams of three to seven organizations (private businesses, social enterprises or not-for-profits) in the supply chain to come forward with an innovative way to reduce/recycle waste, reduce emissions or create additional social or environmental benefit.

The top three teams will participate in a twelve-week CoLab process where they are provided $20,000 in funding and other supports to test and prototype their idea. Each team will then pitch their idea to an expert committee.

At least one team will receive an additional $100,000 funding to scale their idea up into one of COIL’s five flagship demonstration projects.

Additional funding may be provided to other teams to expand their ideas.

The Circulate CoLab Challenge is open to businesses operating in southern Ontario. Although teams can include a mix of organizations, funded elements of a prototype must be directed towards Canadian-owned firms. More details are available on the Circulate CoLab website.  

Challenge 1: Circularity in the food processing and manufacturing chain

The first Circulate CoLab Challenge is focused on increasing the reduction, reuse or recycling of waste in upstream food systems: packaging, processing, manufacturing, distribution and retail sales.

The Food Waste Flow study, and other research conducted through Our Food Future, show that upstream elements of the food system account for the largest volumes of waste across the supply chain. 

“By focusing on the area where we know there is the greatest volume of waste, we hope businesses can find innovative solutions that will have the greatest impact at home and eventually around the world,” adds Messer.

Applications are being accepted until October 15 at coil.eco/colab where users can download the full challenge brief. Semi-finalists will be announced October 29.  

About COIL

Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL) is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy. COIL funds a range of programs that accelerate circular enterprises, launch innovative demonstration projects and help inspire new circular collaborations across the food and environment sectors. 

The initiative was launched in April 2021.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build a regional circular food economy that will achieve a 50% increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50% increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future is one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Media contacts

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066
[email protected]

David Messer, Manager, COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]

World-class circular economy business accelerator program is launching in Guelph-Wellington

Businesses in southern Ontario can apply today at activate.coil.eco.

Guelph, Ont., August 16, 2021– Today the Guelph Smart Cities Office, 10C and Innovation Guelph are launching the COIL Activate Circular Accelerator program, a new circular business accelerator initiative that will help scale businesses in the food and environment sectors.

COIL Activate is focused on growing 49 businesses by 2024 through circular economy training and mentorship. The 49 businesses is in addition to the 50 circular economy businesses and collaborations launched through Guelph-Wellington’s existing smart cities project, Our Food Future.

“In Guelph-Wellington, we’ve created an incredible urban-rural testbed for circular economy businesses, says David Messer, Manager, COIL with the Smart Cities Office. “Through COIL Activate and other initiatives, we will bring more businesses from across the province into this ecosystem and together advance the transition to a more sustainable, circular economy.”

COIL Activate is open to existing businesses that are either operating or transitioning toward circular economy business practices such as finding new uses for materials that are typically considered waste or using unique operational approaches to reduce waste and carbon emissions. The focus is on businesses operating in the food or environment sectors, and especially at the point where those sectors meet. The program helps these businesses refine market strategies and scale up their operations putting them in a position to seek and secure additional venture capital investments.

“Through our work with 40 circular businesses and over 70 circular collaborations, we’ve seen how transformative circular business practices can be,” says Anne Toner Fung, CEO, Innovation Guelph. “COIL Activate enables innovative business leaders to take their businesses to the next level through world-class circular economy training, a national and international scaling network, and hands-on support from our mentors.”

Under COIL Activate, each participating business will:

  • receive up to $30,000 in grants and financing to support a particular business operation ($20,000 grant and $10,000 as a 0% interest loan through 10C’s Harvest Impact Fund),
  • contribute an additional $10,000 themselves in  cash or in-kind resources (e.g. funding, staff time),
  • receive a tailored program of support and mentorship to meet their particular needs, including a new leading-edge circular economy business training curriculum that will connect companies with strategies, experts and networks from around the world, and
  • be able to leverage the extensive network of experts and contacts in the public, private, academic and not-for-profit sectors from the Guelph-Wellington Urban-Rural Testbed, the ReSource Exchange material marketplace, and Circular Economy Digital Passport.

Apply today!

Applications are now being accepted through September 19 at activate.coil.eco for the October 2021 cohort of 10 businesses. In order to qualify for the program businesses need to have existing annual revenues of at least $200,000 and have business operations in southern Ontario – anywhere from Ottawa to Windsor.

Any business that applies for the first cohort and is unsuccessful will automatically be considered for the subsequent cohort launching in early spring 2022. A second application is not required.

The COIL Activate program will be looking for a mix of scale up and early-stage businesses, social enterprises and not-for-profits.

About COIL

COIL, the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad, is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy. COIL funds a range of programs that accelerate circular enterprises, launch innovative demonstration projects and help inspire new circular collaborations across the food and environment sectors. 

The initiative was launched in April 2021 with $5 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build a regional circular food economy that will achieve a 50% increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50% increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Media contact

David Messer, Manager COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]  

Helping business build connection and reduce food waste

Smart Cities launches its first two COIL projects

Today the Smart Cities Office, along with partner organizations, is launching the ReSource Exchange and Circular Economy Digital Passport to help food businesses across Ontario join the circular food economy. The ReSource Exchange and Circular Economy Digital Passport are the first two projects coming out of the recently announced Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL).

ReSource Exchange

Designed to be a free business-to-business marketplace, ReSource Exchange enables companies to post their food waste, byproducts and coproducts that would normally be thrown away for other businesses to use. Businesses can also generate new revenue and reduce potential costs by posting excess space, tools and equipment, and donate a particular food product to local food-relief organizations through the platform.

“Food businesses across the supply chain currently spend considerable amounts of money to send waste materials to landfills. ReSource Exchange will help surface these materials and create new business-to-business collaborations in our region that further our goal of creating a circular food economy across our region,” says David Messer, manager, COIL, Smart Cities Office.

“The Guelph Chamber prides itself in providing meaningful opportunities to increase the competitive advantage of its members and increase economic prosperity in the community,” says Shakiba Shayani, president and CEO, Guelph Chamber of Commerce. “If you’re looking to transform a waste stream into a value stream and build collaborations with other businesses in our region, we recommend the ReSource Exchange platform.”

Beyond the website, ReSource Exchange is supported by a dedicated team at Innovation Guelph as well as Provision Coalition and other collaborators that work to actively match materials posted on the platform with other businesses that could use them. The team will also use the platform to help develop new products and companies through innovation challenges.

Circular Economy Digital Passport

Guelph-Wellington’s Circular Economy iHub (CE iHub) connects entrepreneurs and established businesses with funding and innovation opportunities. The digital passport that will help connect businesses with circular economy programs, business resources and experts that can support them on their journey. The passport itself provides digital stamps enabling businesses to share their achievements and be recognized for their commitment to the circular food economy across social networks.

“The digital passport is a new and innovative way to connect and support businesses as they work to adapt their business models to align with the circular food economy,” says Anne Toner Fung, CEO, Innovation Guelph. “Through this program, businesses will learn what it means to be circular, connect with likeminded businesses and drive change within their own organizations. In the end we want to see businesses thrive and add value to the community through the circular food economy.”

About COIL

COIL is an innovation platform and activation network aimed at creating, proving and scaling transformative solutions that will move Canada toward a more sustainable, circular economy. COIL funds a range of programs that accelerate circular enterprises, launch innovative demonstration projects and help inspire new circular collaborations across the food and environment sectors. The initiative was launched in April 2021 with $5 million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

About Our Food Future

Inspired by the planet’s natural cycles, a circular food economy reimagines and regenerates the systems that feed us, eliminating waste, sharing economic prosperity, and nourishing our communities. In Guelph-Wellington, we are working to build Canada’s first tech-enabled circular food economy that will achieve a 50% increase in access to affordable nutritious food, 50 new circular economy businesses and collaborations, and a 50% increase in circular economic benefit by unlocking the value of waste.

Our Food Future demonstrates one of the ways the City of Guelph and County of Wellington are contributing to a sustainable, creative and smart local economy that is connected to regional and global markets and supports shared prosperity for everyone.

Resource

Our Food Future website

Media contacts

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066
[email protected]

David Messer, Manager COIL
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]

Growing the Circular Economy in Guelph-Wellington and across Canada

FedDev Ontario commits nearly $5 million to support Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad

Guelph, Ontario, April 16, 2021 – Today, the Guelph-Wellington Smart Cities Office received new funding for a far-reaching initiative that will advance its goal to help create and support circular economy businesses and organizations in the region, and across Canada.

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario has committed nearly $5 million between 2021 and 2024 to support the creation of COIL – the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad. The announcement builds on the success of the Our Food Future initiative and strengthens Guelph-Wellington’s growing reputation as a national test bed and launchpad to advance circular economy business models and opportunities.

COIL will provide programs, funding, and platforms to accelerate circular businesses and concepts in the food and environment sectors. The program will also launch challenges and transformative sector-wide demonstration projects. Funding will support businesses affected by COVID-19 to help Guelph-Wellington and Canada recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

“Canada is ready to be a world leader in green recovery, and southern Ontario’s businesses are in a unique position to drive this goal by adopting and advancing circular economy innovations and processes. This FedDev Ontario investment announced today will support the region’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow and strengthen this critical area, bringing their ideas to market faster, while reducing carbon emissions and creating 400 jobs,” says The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

“This is terrific news for our region and for Canadians,” says Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director, Smart Cities Office. “Globally and locally, we have an opportunity to ‘build forward better’. From climate change to inequality, we are now seeing the consequences and negative effects of our ‘take, make, dispose’ socioeconomic model on our communities and the planet.”

Plans include:

  • Develop a Circular Economy Accelerator to support the growth of 45 high-potential circular economy businesses with coaching and up to $40,000 in funding per business.
  • Expand the Harvest Impact social impact investment fund with a goal to raise $3 million and create a community-based lending facility that provides access to capital for food and environment sector companies and enterprising not-for-profits.
  • Lead five flagship demonstration projects that will explore, test and prove circular business models, with up to $100,000 available per project.
  • Launch three innovation challenges that incentivize cross-industry collaboration and surface transformative ideas to redesign supply chains or business models.
  • Expand the Guelph-Wellington Circular Economy Urban Rural Test Bed to provide resources and connections to support innovators and researchers from across southern Ontario.
  • Expand the Circular Economy Data Hub to gather and strengthen access to essential data required to inform research and problem-solving.
  • Launch a ReSource Exchange virtual business-to-business marketplace to match unwanted but still valuable by-products with those that can turn that waste into a new value stream.

Program details and participation guidelines will be released in late summer 2021.

A fundamental principle of the project is collaboration and multi-stakeholder participation. COIL partners and collaborators include:

Core partners

 Collaborators

About the circular economy

A circular economic framework provides pathways to a sustainable, inclusive, low carbon economy.​ New business models are being created that are inspired by nature’s circular systems, where there is no such thing as waste. From production to consumption, circular businesses and supply chains anticipate and design for resources and goods to be either safely returned to nature, or back into systems where they can be reused or renewed, creating economic value without comprising the environment.

A circular food system, for example, aims to disrupt current models to eliminate waste by keeping as much energy, nutrients and materials as possible cycling through the system—and generating value as a result. It looks at everything from how we produce food to how we distribute, sell and consume it; and, it looks at how these disruptions can benefit society as a whole – creating sustainable, inclusive communities.

Circularity is proven to:

  • Save and regenerate our natural resources;
  • Reduce carbon emissions;
  • Add material savings for businesses and consumers;
  • Ignite innovation, business and job creation; and
  • Contribute to community resiliency.

Circular principles can be applied to just about every sector of the economy, from textiles to tires, electronics to building supplies. Learn more about the concept of the circular economy through the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a global leader in accelerating circularity across a breadth of industries and systems.

About Our Food Future

Guelph-Wellington has emerged as an international leader in developing and supporting circular economy systems in the food sector. The Our Food Future initiative was awarded $10 million in 2019 from Infrastructure Canada after competing in the Smart Cities Challenge.

The program continues to implement several projects to increase local access to nutritious food by 50 per cent, increase circular economic benefit by 50 per cent by unlocking the value of waste, and create at least 50 new circular businesses and collaborations.

The latter goal will be met by the end of 2021, three years ahead of schedule, and shows no sign of slowing down. In summer 2020, the Seeding Our Food Future program, developed in response to COVID-19 to support the recovery and development of food businesses, provided grants of up to $5,000 to 40 local entrepreneurs or small enterprises to launch new circular food businesses or collaborations or adopt circular practices. The program was heavily oversubscribed, with more than 70 regional applicants and strong interest from entrepreneurs beyond Guelph-Wellington. COIL will provide more support for this demand.

Additional quotes

“Now, more than ever, supporting environmentally-friendly solutions and processes is essential for Canada’s future and economic sustainability. With FedDev Ontario’s funding for the City of Guelph to establish a circular economy-focused accelerator and test platform, we are helping to jumpstart new companies to develop their innovations and bring their products to market, while supporting southern Ontario’s economy, and, more importantly, the health of our communities and the environment.”
Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph

“The Our Food Future team has forged a set of tools they can now extend to others, further strengthening our region. Congratulations to everyone involved with the Our Food Future initiative.”
Kelly Linton, Warden, County of Wellington

“Once again, Guelph-Wellington is at the forefront of innovative, exciting projects that benefit everyone in our communities and beyond. This funding announcement is a testament to the commitment and innovation happening across our region.”
Cam Guthrie, Mayor of Guelph

“This is a proud achievement that is helping put Guelph-Wellington on the map as a leader in sustainability and economic development. Local businesses have shown a huge appetite for this kind of advanced thinking, as do our residents. COIL is an exciting opportunity for businesses and organizations to access funding, connections and expertise that will help them move towards a more sustainable circular economy.”
Scott Stewart, CAO, City of Guelph

“The Smart Cities Office has worked closely with businesses and community organizations over the past two years. We have heard loud and clear that they are ready to embrace the principles of a circular economy and this investment goes a long way to helping us support them.”
Anne Toner Fung, Executive Director, Innovation Guelph

“Social and environmental responsibility is the way of the future. Place-based impact investing ensures that individuals, companies and foundations can invest in positive change happening in their communities. Harvest Impact Fund will also collaborate with a new field of social-first lenders across Ontario to provide support for COIL companies.”
Julia Grady, Executive Director, 10C

Resources

COIL logo (download)

COIL logo

Media contacts

Barbara Swartzentruber, Executive Director
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3066
[email protected]

David Messer, Program Manager Data and Technology
Smart Cities Office, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3661
[email protected]

Justine Dainard, Smart Cities Project Manager
County of Wellington
519-837-2600 extension 2540
[email protected]