Funding for Innovation York’s YSpace will support local food businesses


Innovation York’s YSpace is one of three community organizations named as a recipient of York Region’s 2019 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund (EIF), which supports local innovation and entrepreneurship.

Known as York University’s community innovation hub, YSpace was selected in the EIF non-profit community partners stream recognizing its Food Accelerator program, a five-month program designed to help scale high-growth food and beverage companies. It will receive a grant of $10,000.

YSpace was selected in the EIF non-profit community partners stream recognizing its Food Accelerator program

The YSpace Food Accelerator is Ontario’s first program dedicated to scaling consumer packaged goods ventures into mass retail and global distribution. The program was chosen out of hundreds of applications and will allow YSpace to support a new cohort of ventures starting in August 2020. The new cohort also includes three ventures led by York University alumni:

  • Culcherd, creator of artisanal, plant-based dairy alternatives made with cheese and butter; founded by Elizabeth Gallagher;
  • Choose Life Foods, a plant-based, vegan Jamaican patty made with fair trade ingredients; founded by Carolyn Simon;
  • got Ballz, grain-free, sugar-free, and low-carb snack products including buns and energy bites that are keto friendly; founded by Pooja Rao.

Innovation York also received recognition in the small business and entrepreneurs stream, with an alumni venture in its LaunchYU Accelerator program, Biosa Technologies, being selected as one of the three EIF recipients. Biosa Technologies is a Toronto polymer-based biotech company that specializes in optimizing enzymes. Its technology increases the longevity of and enhances the properties of enzymes.

“Biosa is immensely grateful to LaunchYU for the strategic aid and knowledge which this program provided,” said Nicholas Ledra, founder and CEO of Biosa Technologies Ltd. “We were extremely impressed with the organization of the program especially in terms of mentoring, presentations, and mental health aspects. There is no program available such as this in Ontario and we highly recommend participating if you are serious about growing your small business.”

Read more about the EIF and its recipients in this Betakit article.