Entrepreneurs—and those aspiring to be entrepreneurs—gathered virtually and in person from October 19-23 for an intensive workshop hosted by Ag-West Bio called Building a Winning Plan: Agricultural Business Plan Training. The event was Module 1 of the new Beyond Entrepreneurship: Building an Agri-Value Business training program, funded through the ABIC Foundation. 


The one-week program was developed by Brad Bly, Ag-West Bio’s Director of Commercialization, and targeted new entrepreneurs in the agricultural value-added processing sector focused on manufacturing ingredients for food, feed, and health markets. Corey Keith of Keith & Associates was instrumental in the success of the program, serving as instructor and facilitator; and the program included seven guest speakers throughout the week:
  • Trevor Pizzey, President, anCeres Processing Solutions
  • Brad Bly, Director of Commercialization, Ag-West Bio
  • Jenelyn Ong, Senior Advisor, Entrepreneurship, Square One
  • Stephanie Yong, Design Thinking Specialist
  • Erin Bokshowan, Partner, MLT Aikins
  • Devin Dubois, V.P. Legal and Regulatory, Blue Sky Hemp Ventures
  • Courtney Milne, Dominos Franchise Owner
The entrepreneurs went through an application process to determine if the program was right for them. Only Saskatchewan based entrepreneurs could participate, and companies had to be early stage: at ideation, business planning/ feasibility stages; or pre-revenue and market entry stage. (A second Ag-West Bio program called “Building Entrepreneurial Leadership” offered training to companies that are more advanced in development.) 
Workshop topics included:
  • Ideation fundamentals, assessing feasibility, and communicating your plan
  • Creating a Strong Company
  • Understanding Financial Statements – what do they tell you? (NOT an accounting class)
  • Financial Statement Keys and Ratios, and Introduction to Business Modeling
  • Develop an initial Business Plan with Impact!

Brad Bly says, “Participating entrepreneurs were as diverse as the Saskatchewan value-added agriculture industry itself, and I was impressed with the energy and engagement of all of them.”

Lindsay Janzen took part in the workshop, and offered this comment: “I wanted to once again thank you for the extraordinary workshop last week. Each of you did an amazing job and I feel so lucky to have been able to come and take in all that valuable information (and yummy food). You haven’t seen the last of me!”


Photo: Corey Keith, Keith & Associates


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