HURON COUNTY – A new bakery slated to open in Blyth this spring is one of three businesses who were recently awarded $5,000 in grant money from Huron County.
Brød Bread & Pastry was awarded the county’s grant through the Starter Company Plus program.
Karen Middleton-Meadham and Gerrit Sepers are the owners of the new bakery. The Wingham Advance Times reached out to the pair for their reaction to winning the grant.
“We are beyond excited that we have not only won this grant, but also to have had the opportunity to participate in this program,” they said in an email.
“We came into the program with a knowledge of math and a business plan, but the program allowed us to learn and grow, showing us that our previous business plan was inadequate and that we could do much better. This program not only allowed us to learn, but we were immediately able to put the skills we learned to good use, giving us a big confidence boost.”
The bakery owners added if they had not won a grant, the value of this program is second to none.
“Thank you, Huron County, for not only welcoming us, but for helping us live our dream,” they said.
Starter Company Plus offers training, mentoring, and grant opportunities up to $5,000 for eligible participants to start, expand, or buy a small business.
The program aims to address local and regional economic development needs, and where appropriate, focus on specific industries and sectors.
The other two recipients of the award were a new business coming to Clinton, called Inherit the Earth Clothing, and South Hill Succulents, an existing business in Seaforth.
Starter Company Plus program participants are required to submit a formal application, including a business plan and cash-flow projections.
The applicants must participate in mandatory business training and deliver a pitch to the Grant Review Committee.
The 2021 program is taking a different approach, a press release from Huron County said.
The Starter Plus Program will focus on the food and beverage industry this year. The release said the county is collaborating with the Food Venture Program, designed specifically for food and beverage entrepreneurs looking to start or build their businesses and learn more about the food industry.
The program includes 10 virtual workshops with a question-and-answer period and direct one on one mentorship interaction between the cohort of entrepreneurs and food industry experts.
The food business-focused Starter Company Plus intake is currently underway. The release said, with the five-week training program concluding at the end of April.
Participants will then have approximately one month to submit a formal application and deliver a pitch to a judging panel for the potential to receive a $5,000 grant.
For more information about the Starter Company Plus program, you can visit ecdev.huroncounty.ca or contact Patrick Donnelly, entrepreneur and business coach, at 519-524-8394 ext. 3307 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times