Hannah Airey is what you might call a “necessity entrepreneur”. Driven by a need to provide for her family and a desire to support others who needed a helping hand, she started baking and selling gluten free and vegan goodies. Bad Ass Brownies was born. Now after graduating with honours from the Start Me Up accelerator, the sweet treat maker is joining the Thinclab Canterbury – FoodSouth pilot programme.
FoodSouth is the South Island hub of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network, an initiative that supports growth stage food and beverage businesses to innovate, commercialise and scale upwards. The goal is to evolve new product ideas right through to the multi-million dollar manufacturing investment stage, says FoodSouth business development manager Tracey Sheehy . The network is government funded and is open to both startups and more established businesses.
Food startup entrepreneurs not only receive business coaching, but can also whip up trial production runs in the modern custom built commercial kitchen, whilst larger firms are welcome to perform research and development activities and test new equipment onsite. Based on the Lincoln University campus, FoodSouth has worked with emerging brands such as Ananda and Otis Oat Milk whose products already grace our supermarket shelves.
Creating and growing a food or beverage business remains hard work however, so having the support of dedicated business advisors and industry experts on tap is a huge bonus. That’s where the ThincLab Canterbury advisory team comes in. Companies are hand selected for the pilot programme and generally meet with the advisors on a fortnightly basis. Of course one of the bonuses of working with our wonderful food and drink businesses is that we advisors do get to sample the merchandise occasionally. It’s tough work, but someone has to do it!
Got a new food or beverage enterprise that’s taking off? Contact ThincLab Canterbury to discuss eligibility.
Start Me Up and the FoodSouth-ThincLab pilot programme are co-funded by ChristchurchNZ