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New Seafood Program designed to support fishermen and farmers in B.C.

A new accelerator program will help self-employed fishers and farmers become more self-sufficient in their businesses and in providing food to the community.

Led by the Centre for Seafood Innovation at Vancouver Island University and in partnership with the BC Commercial Fishing Caucus, the Seafood Business Accelerator program will provide a four-month, sea-food specific, and intensive training program to help 20 small-scale seafood harvesters find their niche within the global food system.

This includes early business stage coaching, food industry training, and project implementation services.

With the lack of business support and coaching, as well as the growing consumer demand for transparency in the food system, increased awareness of supply chain fragility, and the importance of supporting local, the program comes at a crucial time, according to Island Coastal Economic Trust.

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Debra Hellbach, Manager of Vancouver Island University’s Centre for Seafood Innovation says the program is a great opportunity for the seafood sector.

“There is tremendous opportunity in the seafood sector with growth expected to double over the next 25 years,” says Hellbach.

“At the same time, there is low consumption here in Canada due, in part, to lack of preparation knowledge and limited access to Canadian harvests. Our program aims to enable seafood entrepreneurs to tap into the growing demand for seafood through innovation.”

Those participating in the program will take workshops and seminars, where by the end of the four months, all participants will have a completed innovation plan and a product or marketing prototype to present to potential buyers and interested parties.

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