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Management vs. Leadership: A middle manager’s perspective

Posted on September 21 2016 | Author: Jessica Bowes

The organizational structure of a company largely depends on the nature and size of the business. With innovation at the core, entrepreneurial businesses need to promote regular interaction and communication among its internal teams, regardless of how it’s structured, in order to follow through on the founder’s vision for success. For start-ups and early stage businesses that are too small to departmentalize, management resources must be maximized.

Companies need leaders
There’s a fine line between management and leadership, but there is a difference. Managers plan, organize and coordinate whereas leaders should inspire and motivate.  A successful entrepreneur needs to be both a strong leader and manager.

Strong leaders put others ahead of themselves, and the team ahead of everyone.  They make their expectations clear, even when it’s uncomfortable. They push people outside of their comfort zones. And, they hold people accountable while empowering them to learn and grow.

True leadership is like an inverted pyramid, where an entire organization relies on a single leader to support their efforts by providing vision and strategic guidance. This becomes particularly important once your business grows and you hire new staff to carry out your vision for the company.

Leadership and management must go hand-in-hand

“Management is about persuading people to do things they do not want to do, while leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.”

-- Steve Jobs

As a manager, your duty is to implement company strategy in the most efficient way. You’re also responsible for creating an effective working environment, administrating the work process in compliance with organization’s requirements, leading people, and reporting to the highest level of management.

Functions of the role can typically be divided into 3 main categories, all of which can be profoundly impacted by the person’s leadership skills: Technical, Human Resources and Strategic.

In the agri-technology sector, there is almost always an element of technical understanding required to manufacture, market or sell a product or service. Education and/or training of staff in this capacity may then play a significant part of the managerial role.  Relationships with staff that are built through patience, creativity, and supportive collaboration are indicative of good technical leadership.

Human resources:
Managers are also responsible for administering day-to-day routines, monitoring performance and making sure everything is done in compliance with company’s needs. One of the most important functions, directly associated with operational leadership, is motivating and inspiring staff to perform well. This also includes building a cohesive team and supporting team members when necessary.

Strategic functions of a manager may involve analyzing a group in terms of productivity and financial effectiveness, creating a strategy to improve the current situation and reporting to executive management.  Strong strategic leadership is grounded in understanding the relationship between the company and its environment, then thinking, acting and influencing the team to promote success. Strategic leadership is not limited as a task for a few top executives, but is needed throughout the company.

Every employee has the opportunity to lead
Fostering an environment where people feel empowered, appreciated, and genuinely happy to be part of the team will not only allow employees to shape and create their own futures, it will create career progression opportunities for employees to adapt, innovate and ultimately lead your company to success.


Jessica Bowes
Manager, Business & Technology Analyst Group


Management vs Leadership: Five Ways They Are Different
The End of Middle Managers (And Why They’ll Never Be Missed)
The Three Strengths of a True Strategic Leader


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FSMA is Not Just Coming… FSMA is HERE!

Posted on September 15 2016 | Author: Admin

It’s been 5 years since you’ve first started hearing about looming FSMA deadlines. Now that the first deadline for 2016 has arrived, its time for you to understand how this will impact your business.

If your business is simply a retail or restaurant establishment, you initially may feel untouched by this legislation.  This assumption, however, may be very untrue.  Although FSMA is geared to food growers, manufacturers and distributors, businesses in other sectors that are not legally required to comply will still be impacted.  A supplier of ingredients to retail and restaurant business is fully impacted and so as a result, this will inevitably have an impact on all business not directly captured by the law.

It’s quite obvious that one of the main intentions of the new law is to give legislators at FDA more power to regulate and enforce.  The ultimate goal is to shift food industries from a reaction mode to a prevention mode. This shift will initially appear to be very costly and labor intensive, but the reduction in food safety incidents leading to recalls will outweigh all initial costs.

The first FSMA deadlines related to compliance to Preventative Controls for Human and Animal Feed are outlined below:

September 2016: Companies with more than 500 full-time employees
September 2017: Companies with fewer than 500 employees
September 2018: Companies with less than $1 million in average annual sales

Under FSMA each site will be required to have a “Preventative Control Qualified Individual” (PCQI).  A PCQI is required to have successfully completed training in the development and application of risk –based preventative controls.  This individual is responsible for:

  • Performing or overseeing the preparation of the food plan
  • Validating the preventative controls
  • Reviewing records for implementation and effectiveness of preventative controls
  • Appropriateness of corrective actions
  • Managing the required reanalysis of a food safety plant every three years or whenever changes occur

Being FSMA ready will mean moving from HACCP to HARPC as reviewed in previous articles.  While HACCP involves Critical Control Points (CCPs), HARPC involves controls that are not CCPs.

Supply chain control is essential and is obvious from the Foreign Supplier Verification Program.  This program has compliance deadlines in 2017, but has a huge impact on ingredients and foods coming into the U.S. from outside the country.

In order to import food from foreign suppliers, importers need to ensure they have:

#1. Determined known or reasonably foreseeable hazards with each food they are handling
#2. Evaluated the risk posed of the food they are importing based on the hazard analysis, and the foreign supplier’s performance
#3. Used the risk evaluation connected to the food and the supplier’s performance to approve suppliers and determine appropriate supplier verification activities
#4. Conducted supplier verification activities
#5. Conducted corrective actions

Since importers are responsible for their own food safety plans, they are expected to reevaluate these plans every three years. This involves conducting a Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls, or HARPC assessment on each item of food being imported, and verifying each supplier being used. Importers are also responsible for keeping detailed records of all data and analyses.

Under the Third Party Certification rule, FDA will be choosing accreditation bodies to implement the certification of qualified organizations who will confirm that the requirements of FSMA are being met.

This rule establishes a voluntary program for the accreditation of third party certification bodies, also known as auditors, to conduct food safety audit and issue certification of foreign facilities and the food for humans and animals they produce.  These certifications may be used by importers to establish eligibility for participation in the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) which offers expedited review and entry of food.  To prevent potentially harmful food from reaching U.S. consumers, the FDA can also require in specific circumstances that a food offered for import is accompanied by a certification from an accredited third party certification body.

This article has not dealt with every aspect of the FSMA requirements, but it will hopefully give you an understanding of the areas in your business that need to change in order to come into compliance with the new expectations.

Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

Click here to view the original article. 

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Business Networking: Tips and Results for Sustainable Growth.

Posted on September 07 2016 | Author: Elisha Amar

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.
Margaret Fuller
(1810-1850, Journalist, Critic and Women’s Rights Activist)

Expanding your networks and building strategic partnerships play an integral role in successful and sustainable growth, especially in today’s society. The new economy - also called the digital economy has had, and continues to have, a remarkable impact on businesses and how they are creating awareness amongst others.

Nowadays, growing and maintaining business relationships have become much simpler thanks to technological advancements like cell phones or GoToMeeting and social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Building a network for your business is an important way to leverage different assets, create exposure, and ultimately learn in a mutually beneficial manor.

Prior to engaging in networking activities, it’s important to understand your strengths, weaknesses and what you are trying to gain from this experience. For example, if you are excellent at carrying conversations and enjoy large groups of people, consider participating in larger networking events, conferences or trade shows. If you are more the one-on-one type, meeting for coffee or smaller seminars may be more suitable for you to begin.

Take advantage of the different social platforms effectively, and make networking more efficient. For example, webinars are virtual learning sessions you can attend with others on a specific area of interest. These can be useful for a quick lunch-break networking. Another technological advancement that has impacted networking is GoToMeeting or conference programs via the Internet to communicate with people in different cities or even across the world. This makes it easy to decrease travel costs and increase connectivity.

Before choosing your networking event, it’s also important to take into consideration and determine the value in attending. What would you like to gain from this experience? Make new connections? Keep up to date on the latest industry trends? Strengthen existing relationships?

Here are several suggestions to consider, prior to engaging in a networking event:

  1. Research the organizations and key players who are attending. It demonstrates you’re prepared and keen to become connected. This can also help identify shared areas of interest, making it effortless to carry out a conversation. This can be done simply through searching LinkedIn profiles or company websites that contain employee information. After all, the information is there to be read!
  2. Make sure you’ve read about the event and know the details: time, place, what you should bring etc. It’s never a good feeling to be rushed or arrive late.
  3. Be prepared! Bring business cards, company handouts, pens, a notebook, etc. It is strongly recommended to prepare ahead of time, and decrease your chances of forgetting something.
  4. Dress to impress. This is an obvious one however there are always a few people who tend to overlook dress codes. Remember that it’s better to be slightly over dressed than under dressed. To simplify: Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. –Rachel Zoe
  5. Consider preparing a list of people you’d like to talk to, questions or topics you may wish to discuss or what it is you want to gain from the event.
  6. Don’t go into a conversation expecting something. The best interactions are genuine and on the basis of goodwill. 
  7. Be kind, polite and sincere to everyone because you never know who could be joining in on a conversation or passing by.
  8. Keep an open mind. Opportunities arise quickly and you never know whom you’re going to meet or how you may be able to help one another.
  9. Make sure you’re rested! Sleep is obviously very important.  

Let the Networking Begin
When you’ve reached your networking event, it’s always important to be alert and aware. You don’t want to miss out on any potential opportunities. Keep your goals in mind and if necessary, take frequent breaks to ensure you’re on track.

Try to avoid hesitation when intimidated by someone you wish to speak with. We all can learn from one another so take the opportunity to seek what you are looking for, stay optimistic and keep your head up. Don’t forget to hand out your business cards or information and vice versa. Collecting others information will help with the follow-ups. Go for it and take a few risks! 

Post-networking is crucial for truly harnessing those relationships. This is the time for follow-ups and next steps. It’s important to make the effort to email or call the connections you’ve made to thank them for their time or ask any additional questions. This can further open the relationship up to future interactions and opportunities for collaboration. Add your new connections on LinkedIn to broaden your network and to stay in touch through a social media platform targeted specifically towards networking!

The benefits from networking are very helpful to sustainably grow your company. These outcomes can benefit you in a range of ways. You could meet investors who show interest in your company, professionals who want to join your team or even gain new clients. You will also continue to grow and learn as an individual. While all of this is happening, you are simultaneously creating exposure and establishing a reputable image for you and your company!

So my advice to you is to keep calm and network on!

Elisha Amar
Corporate Program Assistant

5 reasons networking is necessary for start-ups
Business quotes for sharing knowledge
Tom Farley networking tips


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Category Specific Guidance Finalized: Temporary Marketing Authorization for Supplemented Food

Posted on August 31 2016 | Author: Admin

Supplemented Food guidance document has been finalized by the Food Directorate with an extension for Supplemented Food TMAL holders

In addition to the Caffeinated Energy Drink (CED) guidance document that was finalized in 2013, the Food Directorate has published the long awaited final Temporary Marketing Authorization for Supplemented Food Guidance Document this past February. This guidance document has been long awaited by both companies currently developing new formulations, since it provides guidance on acceptable quantities of vitamins and minerals that may be added to a supplemented food, but also by companies whom currently hold TMALs set to expire August 31, 2016.

A few interesting highlights of this new guide are as follows:

  • Definition: Supplemented food has been defined as “a pre-packaged product that is manufactured, sold or represented as a food, which contains added vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbal or bioactive ingredients. These ingredients may perform a physiological role beyond the provision of nutritive requirements.” A key point here is that it is now permissible to submit a product through the TMA process that contains only herbal or bioactive ingredients (with no vitamin or mineral fortification) for review. Additionally, the guide provides a subset of novel ingredients that are being permitted in the TMA pathway as per Appendix 2 of this guidance document, see more on this below.
  • Extension: TMALs set to expire on August 31, 2016 have received an extension to comply with the new guide until February 22, 2017. Although to maintain market access beyond February 22, 2017 you must be compliant with this guide, as well as any other applicable Food and Drug Regulations provisions and provide an updated copy of the TMA and label with a letter outlining the revisions to the formula by August 31, 2016. Acceptable products will then be extended until December 31, 2021.
  • 2 Pathway system: Supplemented foods will now be categorized into a pathway system based on the potential for adverse effects. In short the 2 pathways are as follows:
    • Path 1 – Intended for a general subpopulation (children ≥4 years old) with maximum levels of addition of ingredients based on a per serving
    • Path 2 – Intended for a subpopulation  ≥14 years old with maximum levels of addition of ingredients based on a per day. This pathway will also have a threshold for vitamin and mineral fortification which when exceed will trigger specific cautionary labelling statements.
  • Revision to vitamins and minerals not accepted for addition: Consistent with the feedback that Health Canada provided in several regulatory sessions, they have amended the list of ingredients not permitted for addition. Importantly calcium and manganese have been removed from this section and are now permitted in Path 2 (products not intended for children) supplemented food products in quantities specified in this guide.
  • Novel Ingredients: Appendix 2 of this guidance document has now been populated with specific novel ingredients that are eligible for consideration in a supplemented food product. Although, it is worth noting that when an ingredient from this Appendix is added, the Food Directorate cannot commit to the timelines outlined in their performance standards guidance document, and it could delay the TMAL significantly.
  • Unique Identifier: No definitive guidance has been provided yet, but Health Canada has indicated that they are exploring the possibility of a front-of-pack identifier on the label of supplemented foods so that consumers can easily identify them. Health Canada has currently developed several options, which have not yet been disclosed, and will test them with consumers.
  • Market Research Protocol (MRP): For companies that have already received TMALs they may be aware that they are required to provide data in the form of a MRP on their product to address data gaps to aid in the development of specific regulations for supplemented foods. While TMAL holders of Caffeinated Energy Drinks have been advised that they are expected to prepare a MRP and collect data in accordance with this protocol, supplemented food holders had not yet been advised that they must begin this requirement. Once a TMAL holder of a supplemented food receives their final extension, as discussed above, they will be advised of their expected research requirements to fulfil this obligation in their Letter of Agreement.

In summary, the finalized Supplemented Food guidance document is an overdue, appreciated guidance regarding the requirements of a fortified food (outside of foods that are already permitted to be fortified in the Food and Drug Regulations). This guidance should help many companies develop unique and novel products that have a legal path to market without worry of Health Canada reformulation requests.

Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

Click here to view the original article. 


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The New Age of Advertising

Posted on August 24 2016 | Author: Rebecca Reynolds

Facebook, Twitter and many other channels have millions of users, so why not take advantage?

Social media advertising is dramatically shaking up the marketing industry. With lower costs, higher returns and available reporting metrics, it seems obvious why countless organizations are focusing on this outlet. Social media advertising allows you to deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time.

The most revolutionary and unique aspect of social media advertising is the number of target selections available to focus on a specific group of individuals. Below are just a few examples of the possible target options:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Education
  • Interests
  • Friends
  • Relationship Status
  • Actions Taken
  • Occupation
  • Location
  • Friends of Friends
  • Job Title

Advertising budgets can go a long way over social media. With the benefit of spending as much or as little as you’d like, it helps enhance the quality and reach of your campaigns, to promote your brand to the right audience. Primarily, targeted advertisements should be your focus, but also note that it is important to create blanket-marketing messages that appeal to a wider group of people as well.

Determine An Outcome
Before creating your campaign; outline your goals and objectives to best tailor your advertisement. Monitor and analyze the channel’s metrics frequently to determine if these goals are being met.

The three most important metrics are below and they display how your campaign is performing:

  • Click through rate (CTR): Measures the number of clicks on your advertisement VS. the number of impressions received (clicks divided by impressions). This shows how relevant your content is to your audience as well as traffic quality. Higher is better.
  • Conversion Rate: Tracking the landing page visits from your campaign provides an idea of the quality of clicks it is receiving, which can help to better develop content for future campaigns. Calculate by dividing conversions by number of clicks. Higher is better.
  • Cost Per Conversion (CPC): Each campaign should have a clear goal or call-to-action (ex. Newsletter signups, sales, web traffic, etc.). To calculate the return on investment of your goal, divide the amount of money spent by the number of conversions (provided in your metrics). This assesses your campaign’s profitability and also helps determine a potential future budget. Lower is better.

Choose A Channel
Each platform offers various tools and reporting outcomes. Therefore, analyzing which is the most appropriate for your marketing objectives is essential for success.


  • Pro: Facebook is a great option for small businesses because it has the largest audience and can easily boost visibility for the company and its advertisements. Also, it has many targeting options such as: gender, location, education, workplace and relationship status that help reach the right individuals more accurately.
  • Con: Compared to other channels, Facebook provides minimal information for reporting on the performance of your campaigns.
  • Cost: This is one of the most cost effective channels, with the option to spend as little as $1 per day.


  • Pro: Twitter has the target option to reach people based on their current interests. Using hashtags helps target the advertisements more specifically, similar to Google Adwords.
  • Con: Despite the convenience of hasthags, other Twitter advertising options do not offer the same ease, with a limited selection of targets to choose from.
  • Cost: There are three different options, but the most frequent and least expensive is promoting tweets.  For approximately $0.5-$2.00 per engagement (retweet, favourite, click, etc.), you can boost the reach of a tweet you wish to promote.


  • Pro: The best aspect of LinkedIn advertising is the user base, which are mainly business professionals. Similar to Facebook, you have the ability to target specific groups through location, titles and demographics, for example.
  • Con: Although there is a higher conversion rate, this platform provides a very low click through rate. Generally, the users behind the clicks are much more qualified than compared to other social media networks.
  • Cost: LinkedIn is one of the more costly networks, averaging of up to $4-5 per click.  However, since it hosts a greater audience quality, your campaign reaches only those who are immediately interested, which may be worth the extra cost.

Create an Advertisement
Now that you’ve determined your campaign goals and the appropriate channel to use, you can begin to create your advertisement. Consider the following when developing the campaign:

  • Be consistent: Create the ad so its parallel with your company message and culture
  • Be informal: Use language that is similar to how your audience converses over social media
  • Be honest: Display your brands uniqueness and culture so your advertisements appear genuine
  • Be concise: You only have a few moments to grab their attention so be sure to make a good impression
  • Be obvious: Incorporate a call-to-action, make it clear what you want them to do
  • Be visual: Always include images for a greater impact and the potential to increase click through rates

Advertising through social media has created endless possibilities. To use it effectively, you need to be frequently engaged, create quality resources for your audience and analyze the metrics provided. Only by analyzing your outcomes and productively utilizing the appropriate channels, will your company be able to refine its voice on social media and truly communicate with the right audience.

Rebecca Reynolds
Marketing & Events Assistant




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Nurturing Relationships with Sponsors

Posted on August 10 2016 | Author: Kelly Laidlaw

Congratulations! You created an attractive service offering that provides great benefits to corporate sponsors.  Next, you entered into formal business partnerships with corporate sponsors. But how do you nurture these relationships so that they last? Below are some ways to ensure long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with your valued sponsors.

Know your sponsors. Take the time to truly understand their short-term and long-term strategic business goals in order to help them succeed. Also, learning their preferred communication style (phone, email, face-to-face, etc.) will help to enhance communication and strengthen your partnership.

Don’t play favourites. Make it a priority to treat each sponsor fairly regardless of company size or sponsorship level. Maintaining a list or chart to track the benefits that each sponsor has received will ensure that everyone is presented with equal opportunities. Also, it’s important to set clear expectations about how you’ll approach competitors.

Set clear expectations. This will help minimize disappointments and misunderstandings to ensure that both parties are in agreement of what the partnership entails. Manage any conflict that should arise with grace, and your relationship could grow stronger because of it.

Be thoughtful. Seemingly small things such as pronouncing names correctly and remembering birthdays go a long way to show that you value and appreciate your business relationships.

Promote your sponsors. You partnered with your sponsors because you believe in their company, so let your network know how much you value the partnership. This could lead to mutually beneficial relationships between those in your network and your sponsors. Promoting your sponsors on social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) websites, newsletters, blogs, events, and by word of mouth will provide your sponsors with recognition and industry visibility to a target audience that they may otherwise not have the chance to reach.

Be honest and transparent. Let your sponsors know what you’re up to by sharing your success stories, sending them your company newsletters, and inviting them to attend industry events with you. All of these are opportunities to build your relationship while letting your sponsors understand your mission. Plus, sharing this information with your sponsor may spark new ideas for collaboration.

Ask for feedback. Check in with your sponsors frequently to ensure that they’re getting what they need from the partnership, and ask if there is any room for improvement. This may develop into a great opportunity to discuss new ideas or to discover additional ways that you could collaborate. 

Treating your sponsors with honesty and respect, while returning value to the sponsors, is a surefire way to ensure your valued relationships last.


Kelly Laidlaw
Program Manager, Corporate Relations

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Maximizing Online Entrepreneurship Education Opportunities

Posted on July 27 2016 | Author: Carolyn Dowling

There are numerous online educational opportunities that can be accessed to enhance your personal or professional aptitude beyond the textbooks and lectures of conventional school learning. The demand for online courses is rapidly increasing due to the shear increase in accessibility to and reliance on high-speed Internet, the explosion of “convenience culture” fostered by Generations X and Y, and the rise of “Do-It-Yourself” and entrepreneurship. Since entrepreneurship is the name of the game for Bioenterprise, maximizing free online education is critical for our entrepreneurs from where to begin with a concept for a new technology, product or service all the way down the commercialization pathway for how to secure retail shelf space and investment.

Although a number of Canadian colleges and universities have started to offer in-class and online entrepreneurship training and education, there may be limited industry-specific case studies, examples, and resources available through these academic routes. It is often beneficial to test-drive these programs through a free online portal and create your own curriculum that you can then complement with other industry sources. If you discover some courses with fees, be sure to investigate if an “audit” option is available, so that you can determine what works for you without necessarily investing your hard-earned dollars.

One of the most popular online platforms is massive open online course (MOOC) provider, Coursera. Although the options range from business to data science to engineering, all courses are based on a professional compilation of short video lectures, interactive quizzes, some peer-graded assessment, and virtual forums for connecting with fellow learners and instructors from top universities and colleges. For example, the University of Maryland offers an Entrepreneurship Specialization composed of three top-ranked courses: “Developing Innovative Ideas for New Companies: The First Step in Entrepreneurship”, “Innovation for Entrepreneurs: From Idea to Marketplace”, and “New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs”.  These courses provide a general introduction to entrepreneurship, industry, markets and capital.

EdX is another virtual MOOC provider founded by Harvard University and MIT to offer courses from the world’s best institutions covering most of the same topics as Coursera. Again, EdX offers a number of programs in the entrepreneurship stream. Specifically, “Entrepreneurship 101: Who is your customer?” is a good place to start to identify the right direction to take your business in.

Aside from the virtual classrooms offered by Coursera and EdX, the enterprise-learning portal, Degreed, offers a curated collection of articles and videos from online resources. Specifically, Degreed’s “Entrepreneurship Learning Pathway” includes a series of lessons from a foundational overview of entrepreneurship to practical applications of entrepreneurship in action.  Some of the advanced topics include “Women Entrepreneurs”, “Economic Development” and “Global Perspective”.

MaRS Discovery District is a notable Canadian hub connecting entrepreneurs with resources, talent, and tools necessary to succeed. One of their flagship resources is the “Entrepreneur’s Toolkit”, which include a library of resources, hands-on workshops, as well as Canada’s largest live and online entrepreneurship course, “Entrepreneurship 101”. MaRS also offers a Certificate in Entrepreneurship in collaboration with the University of Toronto if you want to take your online learning to the next level. More recently, MaRS introduced the online portal “Bizsmarts”, which is a joint project with Futurpreneur Canada and Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) that provides a wealth of resources from basic start-up costs up to raising investment dollars.

Whether you are considering starting a business on your own or expanding your current business, knowledge is an invaluable tool in the entrepreneur tool belt. The examples above are but a few of the online education forums available for entrepreneurs. Keep in mind the same theory applies to all free online programs – you get out what you put into it. Ongoing engagement with peers and instructors, studying real-life scenarios and case studies, and finding programs that are relevant to your company, stage, product/technology, goals and even tailored to your learning style will be critical success factors in maximizing your online education experience.

Carolyn Dowling
Senior Analyst



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What’s the Difference – HACCP vs HARPC?

Posted on July 22 2016 | Author: Admin

There is some confusion over HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) and the more-recent food-safety plan, HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls) that is part of FSMA.

Just to recap, 6 out of 7 rules of FSMA have now been published, and if you are a U.S. based food operation, you need to be actively working out how to comply.  One of the key questions that food processing companies are struggling with is how to use HACCP to shift to HARPC. So what’s all the fuss about?  What are the main differences between these two systems?

HACCP is a global standard that was developed in the late 1950’s by a team of engineers from Pillsbury, the U.S. Army’s Natick Research Labs and NASA which joined forces to make a global food safety standard in line with Codex Alimentary. Originally the point of developing a HACCP System was to ensure quality and food safety, specifically for the manned space program.  In 1974, the U.S. FDA incorporated its concepts into its low acid and acidified food regulations, and by the end of 1980’s, McDonald’s started requiring all of its suppliers to adhere to HACCP in order to ensure the food being served in its restaurants were safe. The key motivation for implementing HACCP was not the requirement to meet regulations.  The real motive for implementing HACCP was simply to gain more market share.  Most large companies followed McDonald’s lead and HACCP became the standard to measure food safety. Later, in 1989, the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) published the first official HACCP document, which standardized the process by presenting seven principles as follows:

  1. Hazard Analysis
  2. Critical Control Point Identification
  3. Establishment of Critical Limits
  4. Processes for Monitoring
  5. Corrective Actions
  6. Record Keeping
  7. Establishment of Verification Procedures.

At this point in time, the standard for food safety was very clear, and HACCPs use spread globally. In contrast, HARPC is not a global standard, but an updated U.S. standard that was incorporated into the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) on July 4th, 2012. HARPC applies to almost all-food processing facilities in the United States.  The only facilities not required to comply with HARPC are those subject to the Standards of Produce Safety, those already governed by HACCP and those facilities regulated by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for Dietary Supplements. Small and very small businesses, as defined by FDA are also exempt.  HARPC requires facilities to:

  1. Conduct a hazard analysis for all food processing procedures
  2. Develop and implement preventative controls, and then monitor their effectiveness
  3. Provide a detailed plan in writing, describing how the hazards will be controlled, the preventative controls, and a schedule and method for monitoring the controls
  4. Verify the effectiveness of the controls and maintain written records of the verification
  5. Re-analyze the HARPC Plan at least every three years; more often as new product lines are added or changes are made to equipment or process.

HARPC takes HACCP a step further and includes planning and assessing risk that might occur as a result of contamination from the environment.  Even though cleaning and sanitation are not CCPs under HACCP, in HARPC cleanliness and sanitation become key preventative steps that need to be controlled.

Finally a very key difference in these two systems is that HARPC also includes risk assessments resulting from potential terrorist acts, intentional adulteration and food fraud. Under HARPC, it is expected that a food processing facility has a food defense plan that includes security, visitor access and control.

In summary, six out of seven FSMA rules are already passed with compliance deadlines for larger companies coming up as early as November 2016.  It’s important for you to understand what your organization needs to have in place in order to meet these new requirements.

Rule Final Rule Published  
Compliance Non Small    
Compliance Small  
Compliance Very Small   
PC Human Food    11/16/2015 11/16/2016 11/16/2017  11/16/2018
PC Animal Food    1/26/2016 1/26/2017 1/26/2018 1/26/2019
FSVP 11/27/2015 3/17/2016 9/17/2017 9/17/2017
Produce Safety 11/27/2015 1/26/2017 1/26/2018 1/26/2019
Sanitary Transport 4/6/2016 4/6/2017 4/6/2018 N/A
Food Defense 5/27/2016 5/27/2017 5/27/2018 5/27/2019
Third Party Certification                           11/27/2016 01/26/2016 01/26/2016 


Article provided by dicentra

About dicentra
dicentra provides sought-after food safety guidance, compliance consulting services and scientific guidance for food and health-related products sold in North American marketplaces. Since 2002, dicentra has been helping clients resolve complex scientific and safety issues, develop safe and effective market-leading products and facilitate timely regulatory approvals. To learn more about dicentra, please visit www.dicentra.com

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What's The Number 1 Driver of Shareholder Value

Posted on July 20 2016 | Author: Admin

Quick: Name the most important driver of shareholder value in your organization: a) products, b) technology, c) timing, d) talent.

Talent is the correct answer. The caliber of your leaders drives shareholder value. But when seeking to hire and develop leadership talent, many companies encounter two problems: 1) failing to make hiring and developing leaders a top priority, and 2) setting fuzzy requirements when recruiting leaders to the organization.

“Many companies put off dealing with talent issues because people are ‘messy,’” said Jon Leafstedt, managing partner for Kincannon & Reed. “But if you don’t focus on the “soft” issues around people, then ultimately you won’t deliver the hard financial results you want for your shareholders.”

So how can your company tackle these talent issues to achieve greater shareholder value?

1) Make talent acquisition and development a priority

According to a McKinsey & Company survey of 410 corporate officers at 35 large U.S. companies, the organizations who hired a top performer into a general management role saw a 49 percent increase in profits, versus companies that hired an average performer into the same role. In operations, the effect was a 40 percent increase in productivity; and in sales, hiring a high performer produced as much as a 67 percent increase in revenue.

Of the managers surveyed who said they had worked for an underperformer, 86 percent said, “They (the underperformers) made me want to leave the company.” Still, despite the empirical evidence, talent acquisition and development are often seen as the sole domain of Human Resources.

How can a company better prioritize talent acquisition and development?

The drive for building high levels of talent into the organization must come from the top. “Senior leadership must focus on acquiring and developing talent,” said Leafstedt. “If top leaders fail to do this, they have abdicated a core responsibility — with repercussions within the organization and to the bottom line.”

The tone is set when your senior leadership team advocates and participates in setting high standards for talent acquisition and development, and then measures and rewards success. Similarly, the Board of Directors signals its priorities when talent acquisition and development are fully integrated into Board agendas and deliberations, as well as the metrics for the CEO’s evaluation process.

“Rigorous assessment of top leaders to see how they’re doing with hiring and growing mid-level and lower-level leaders is key to having a ‘bench’ to pull from for future leadership positions,” said Leafstedt. “Management has to be measured and rewarded in these areas. If it’s not measured, it’s not going to just happen.”

To effectively acquire and develop talent, a company must also have a clear, long-term strategy to match talent and cultural fit. Senior leaders have to understand and agree on the culture they want to cultivate in the organization. If you are happy with your company’s culture, ask yourselves as leaders how you are supporting and reinforcing that culture through the recruiting and on-boarding process with new employees.

It’s important to note that it takes time to see the effect of making talent a priority. There are no shortcuts.

2) Be specific on your requirements 

It’s easy enough to come up with a wish list of the qualities you want in hiring leaders across your organization. But the reality is that if you leave needs assessment to the gut feeling of, “I’ll know the right people when I see them,” then you may fall into the second trap: setting fuzzy requirements for leader recruitment.

To separate the “need to haves” from the “nice to haves,” hiring managers should look at the whole organization. Consider questions like:
• How does your organization compare with similar companies and/or your competition across key talent areas?
• Spin the clock forward a few years. What would affirm that you are selecting the right people? What would success look like for the part of the organization they lead?
• What stage is your company in? Start-up organizations often require a different type of leadership style and experience base from established companies

These types of questions will help you recognize the right talent and evaluate each prospective employee’s fit with your organization, needs, and culture. Then you can answer questions about a certain talent search such as:
• Are you looking for someone who has already done this job, or someone ready to step up?
• What are the critical keys for success in a given position: experience, skills, and behavioral attributes?
• In situations where a transformational leader is needed, do you need evolution or revolution? How much change can the organization stand?

Interestingly, the McKinsey study found no correlation between a company’s revenue growth and teams with solid, but unexceptional, leaders all-around. The improvements came with leaders who were exceptional in a few specific areas. That’s why Kincannon& Reed recommends that you focus on a few specific skills or competencies that new leaders must have in order to be outstanding.

“Remember that Superman and Wonder Woman are comic book characters.” said Leafstedt. “So rather than seeking a mythical person who has everything, including superpowers, use your needs and priorities to guide you to the candidates who have the critical skills and experiences to complement your current management team. If you thoroughly understand your strategy, the gaps in leadership to accomplishing your strategy, and the culture you’re trying to reinforce, then you are on your way to building an exceptional leadership team.”

Exceptional leaders = Exceptional results

Making talent acquisition and development a top priority and clearly defining recruiting needs and criteria—across your organization and for specific positions—will result in greater success, both in the satisfaction and contribution of your employees, and in longer-term results.

Leafstedt said: “The marketplace is not going to come along and assess your talent and leadership needs for you. These are not easy issues—they can be messy and slow to reach conclusions, but in the end, addressing them is absolutely worthwhile.”

“We have all worked in an environment with highly motivated, successful leaders who are focused on the right priorities,” he said. “It is exhilarating and rewarding to be part of that type of team. It’s helpful to keep that goal in mind as you find and develop new leadership talent.”

Written by: Jon Leafstedt, Managing Partner at Kincannon & Reed

About Kincannon & Reed
Kincannon & Reed recruits leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy. Their focus is on the interrelated realms of food, agribusiness, and life science. Their clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, as well as investment funds, financial institutions, industry associations, universities, and non-profit and development organizations. This sector knowledge streamlines the search process and enables them to better asses a candidates organizational fit and more compellingly present to them a client’s opportunity. In addition, the principals at Kincannon & Reed are former senior executives from the sectors they serve. This distinctive difference allows them to understand at a personal level, not just at an intellectual level, the environment in which you operate. The result is a quality conversation around your needs and a smoother recruitment process. To learn more about Kincannon & Reed, visit: www.KRsearch.com

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Defining Innovation vs R&D

Posted on July 05 2016 | Author: Doug Knox

In a report from the Canadian Government’s-The Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, Senate, entitled - Innovation in Agriculture: The Key to Feeding a Growing Population, June 2014 , the following excerpt is an attempt to position “Innovation”. Here, we will try to expand definitions to include the global community views.

The follow-on from these definitions and the proposed financial input for innovation is to be able to measure the impact of these investments on the economic health of the nation.

Innovation could be interpreted from different perspectives. Agencies who defined innovation believe that innovation can result from the transformation of knowledge, a new idea, or a technological breakthrough to improve or create new business or manufacturing products, services or processes. However, as one witness pointed out in citing a definition from the Business Development Bank of Canada, innovation can also be stimulated by vision and entrepreneurship.

Innovation is really about responding to change in a creative way. It’s about generating new ideas, conducting R&D, improving processes or revamping products and services. At another level, it’s also about a mindset in your business: one where your staff, whether in the executive offices or on the shop floor, are always focused on continuous improvement and constantly thinking outside of the box. (Mr. Rory McAlpine, Vice-President, Government and Industry Relations, Maple Leaf Foods, 25 April 2013)

According to witnesses, innovation must also create added value. Innovation is not limited to research activities; it is therefore imperative that the innovation continuum include a commercialization stage with prototype development or a pilot project and its transfer to the field. Support activities relating to training and extension are also needed to facilitate the adoption of changes resulting from the innovation continuum. Innovation is also driven by the establishment of an appropriate legislative and regulatory framework as well as appropriate financial support measures. Innovation in Agriculture: The Key to Feeding a Growing Population, Page 37. 

Innovation Definitions (Based on OECD "Oslo Manual", 3rd edition, 2005)
Definitions compiled by: Rajnish Tiwari  20008   Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH)

  • An innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organizational method in business practices, workplace organization or external relations.
  • The  minimum requirement  for  an  innovation  is  that  the  product,  process,  marketing method or organizational method must be new (or significantly improved) to the firm.
  • Innovation activities are all scientific, technological, organizational, financial and commercial steps which actually, or are intended to, lead to the implementation of innovations. Innovation activities also include R&D that is not directly related to the development of a specific innovation.
  • An innovative firm is one that has implemented an innovation during the period under review.

Main Types of Innovation
1) A product innovation is the introduction of a good or service that is new or significantly improved with respect to its characteristics or intended uses. This includes significant improvements in technical specifications, components and materials, incorporated software, user friendliness or other functional characteristics. Product innovations can utilize new knowledge or technologies, or can be based on new uses or combinations of existing knowledge or technologies.

2) A process innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved production or delivery method. This includes significant changes in techniques, equipment and/or software. Process innovations can be intended to decrease unit costs of production or delivery, to increase quality, or to produce or deliver new or significantly improved products.

3) A marketing innovation is the implementation of a new marketing method involving significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing. Marketing innovations are aimed at better addressing customer needs, opening up new markets, or newly positioning a firm's product on the market, with the objective of increasing the firm's sales.

4) An organizational innovation is the implementation of a new organizational method in the firm's business practices, workplace organization or external relations. Organizational innovations can be intended to increase a firm's performance by reducing administrative costs or transaction costs, improving workplace satisfaction (and thus labor productivity), gaining access to non-tradable assets (such as non-codified external knowledge) or reducing costs of supplies.

Defining Research and Development (R&D) (Based on OECD's "Frascati Manual", 2002 edition)
In accordance with the approach advocated by the Frascati Manual, this defines R&D as  "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications". The term "research and experimental development" is used as synonymous to the term "research and development" and both are abbreviated by the expression "R&D".

The term R&D covers three activities: basic research, applied research and experimental development:

  • Basic research is experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily to acquire new knowledge of the underlying foundation of phenomena and observable facts, without any particular application or use in view.
  • Applied research is also original investigation undertaken in order to acquire new knowledge.  It  is,  however,  directed  primarily  towards  a  specific  practical  aim  or objective.
  • Experimental development is systematic work, drawing on existing knowledge gained from research and/or practical experience, which is directed to producing new materials, products or devices, to installing new processes, systems and services, or to improving substantially those already produced or installed. R&D covers both formal R&D in R&D

The boundaries of R&D: Clarification of specific cases
The basic criterion for distinguishing R&D from related activities is the presence in R&D of an appreciable element of novelty and the resolution of scientific and/or technological uncertainty.

  • A prototype is an original model constructed to include all the technical characteristics and performances of the new product. The design, construction and testing of prototypes normally falls within the scope of R&D.
  • The construction and operation of a pilot plant is a part of R&D as long as the principal purposes are to obtain experience and to compile engineering and other data.
  • Those elements of industrial design work, which include plans and drawings aimed at defining procedures, technical specifications and operational features necessary to the conception, development and manufacturing of new products and processes.
  • Clinical trials are divided into four standard phases, three of which take place before permission to manufacture is accorded. By convention, clinical trial phases 1, 2 and 3 can be treated as R&D. Phase 4 clinical trials, which continue testing the drug or treatment after approval and manufacture, are treated as R&D only if they bring about a further scientific or technological advance.


Doug Knox
Vice President of Technology

Innovation In Agriculture: The Key To Feeding A Growing Population, June 2014
Oslo Manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data, 3rd Edition
Frascati Manual 2002: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development


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