Two regional companies have made the top 20 ventures entered into the inaugural Canada-wide Impact Investor Challenge. Run by Vancouver-based Spring Activator, the contest offers the chance to win $100,000 in impact investment.
The Farmers’ Truck, based in Edmundston, NB, is the first regional contender. The Farmers’ Truck provides affordable mobile market trucks for organizations to serve food deserts in their communities while also creating a market-style experience that fosters pride and dignity.
In February, the Farmers’ Truck launched a pilot program in California to help non-profits develop financially sustainable programs. The company said it had received funding from an anonymous Californian impact investor.
“Mobile market operators need to consider everything from sourcing food, merchandising, fundraising, marketing, and building community partnerships, just to get started,” Farmers’ Truck Co-Founder and CEO Frederic Laforge told Entrevestor. “Our goal is to remove those barriers and empower these food security efforts both in Central Valley and all over North America.”
Laforge said his company is developing a model whereby some paying customers will sustain the operation and finance the charitable side.
“The goal of this operation is to make food accessible . . . and price is the No 1 concern for most people,” he said.
Halifax-based Earthli meanwhile is a producer of sustainably grown plant-based superfoods. On its site, Earthli says all the hemp it uses is grown by farmers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and P.E.I., and that it has a zero-waste, hemp-only facility in the Annapolis Valley.
Earthli says hemp provides protein and nutrients in a sustainable fashion that is superior to the equivalent nutritional yields available through animal-based products.
The Spring Activator is a global incubator and accelerator for social entrepreneurs and entrepreneur ecosystem organizations. In a statement, it said it has helped more than 700 entrepreneurs create 350 companies and raise more than $22 million in funding.
Spring Activator said the Farmers’ Truck and Earthli will face competition in orientation, pitch nights and a 7-week program where investors and entrepreneurs learn side by side about the ins and outs of impact investing and fundraising.
On April 20, the chosen 20 will pitch to the program’s investor cohort and their number will be whittled down. Once a Top 5 are selected, the venture cohort -- the companies that will complete the core program alongside the investors -- will be announced.
The newly trained impact investors will award $100,000 to one winning company at the National Impact Investor Challenge Finale on June 17.
Register free to listen to the Top 20 pitch here.