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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

Sources:
http://www.startupist.com/2015/01/06/entrepreneurship-in-coursera-three-courses-you-should-sign-up-for-this-january/
http://articles.bplans.com/11-excellent-free-online-courses-for-entrepreneurs/

 






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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 

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

Click here to view the original article. 


 






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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

Sources
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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Cultivating Creativity and Inspiring Innovation

Posted on June 15 2016 | Author: Mary Dimou

Entrepreneurship has emerged as a feasible and exhilarating career for many millennials and provides an opportunity for baby boomers seeking change. In fact, the support of this community is absolutely overwhelming. Governments are offering non-dilutive funding and grants for new research and development; while, sophisticated investors are seeking to diversify their portfolios with high-risk opportunities in exchange for equity, control, and hopefully, large returns.

You’ve likely given some thought to joining the ranks of entrepreneurship; and have asked yourself: Where do you go and how do you start? 

First things first, a great idea can manifest in a multitude of ways, can be thought of anywhere, and can transcend into a variety of industries. It generally starts with a state of mind and a helpful reminder that anyone has the potential to be “creative”; and therefore, “innovate”. 

So let’s talk about two of the words you’ll hear in your early stages – “creativity” and “innovation”.  What are they? Can we define them? And, why do so many definitions exist? To be honest, there are many schools of thoughts pertaining to bolstering creative thinking and implementing innovation into business practices.

Here are two basic definitions to start with:

  • Creativity is a “mental characteristic that allows a person to think outside of the box, which results in innovative or different approaches to a particular task”1.
  • Innovation is “the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay”1.

In the start-up and small business network, an inordinate level of creativity and novelty are expressed through a variety of outlets and avenues; for instance: a new idea, a novel process, or an original solution to an existing problem. Your support can start at an academic institution, can be housed in an Incubator, and/or be nurtured holistically at an Accelerator.

In the early stages of entrepreneurship, developing creativity into a habit is critical.

Robert Epstein, PhD, a psychologist focused on the concept of “routine creativity” has conducted research that correlates high creativity and innovation into four core skill sets2.

  1. Capturing new ideas2 – be equipped with a notebook and writing instrument; or, even record new ideas on your phone or tablet.
  2. Seeking out challenging tasks2 – brainstorm different solutions to tasks you’re familiar with, or as a brain teaser, take on tasks deemed impossible and offer just as improbable solutions.
  3. Broadening your knowledge2 – read articles in unrelated fields, watch a documentary on a subject of interest, explore international business practices.
  4. Surrounding yourself with interesting things and people2 – stimulating conversation with interesting friends or family with diverse backgrounds, travelling to new places, or altering your workspace with new gadgets and memorabilia.

Most importantly, don’t get frustrated – although researchers have just started scratching the surface of creativity; most will agree that an optimistic frame of mind and cheerful attitude are fundamental. Stress, lack of sleep, and disarray inhibit the creative process and new idea generation. Perpetuating an environment conducive to creative thinking will come in hand through many of life’s challenges and will only aid in positive mental health. Whether, you’re heading down the path of entrepreneurship or perhaps seeking to improve existing processes in your own workplace – a creative outlook is always your alley.

 

Mary Dimou
Senior Analyst, Regulatory Affairs & Sustainability 

 

Sources

1. BusinessDictionary.com
2. American Psychological Association. The Science of Creativity. 






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Feeding The World Requires A Surprising Ingredient

Posted on June 08 2016 | Author: Admin

National Agriculture Day is set aside in America to recognize and celebrate the abundance of food provided by the agricultural sector. The date this year is March 15, so now seems a good time to celebrate how far agriculture has come and think about how far we still need to go in order to feed the world.

The Great Food Divide
The Green Revolution of the 1970s was one of the most transformative times global agriculture has seen. We dramatically increased the availability and reduced the cost of basic grains, which made many foods less expensive. With more disposable income, because families didn’t have to spend so much on rice and wheat, people could enjoy a more diverse diet with more protein.

Today in the developed world, food diversity and security are so taken for granted that attention has turned to premium-priced, specialty foods, sometimes sardonically called “food for the 1 percent.” Examples include non-GMO and organic foods; free range poultry and eggs; locally sourced “artisanal” meats, vegetables and dairy products; gluten-free and lactose-free foods, among many others. These trends get media and consumer attention for their purported health benefits; but realistically, they are out of reach in terms of cost or availability for most of the world’s population.

To be clear, we have nothing against “food for the 1 percent” trends, especially if it means more money for growers and producers. But by 2050, the United Nations estimates we’ll need to feed an additional 1 billion people, an expected global population of 9.6 billion. By some estimates, this will require us to produce as much food in the next 25 years as has been produced in the past 10,000 years.

To address the need, a new Green Revolution is underway, one that combines biotechnology with smarter agricultural practices and equipment, to take the next step toward higher crop yields in the face of declining land available for farming. However, for us to succeed in the face of expected population trends, another, less visible ingredient is needed: infrastructure.

The Critical Ingredient: Infrastructure
If farmers are to provide all strata of society with the fresh, healthy foods – while also ensuring that farming continues as a livelihood for many around the world, the logistical costs inherent in the global food system must be reduced. Infrastructure is just as vital to the success of the newest Green Revolution as seed and crop nutrients are.

Roads and Rail
Roads and rail link farmers to crop inputs and offer access to competitive markets, where they can sell their crops for a better price than what may be available locally. Yet in many countries, roadways and rail transportation are antiquated, or worse, non-existent. The U.S. State Department estimates that nearly one-third of global agricultural production either arrives in poor condition or never makes it to consumers at all. This is waste the 99 percent cannot afford.

In Brazil, the world’s ninth largest economy continues to struggle because its transportation infrastructure isn’t keeping up with its economic progress. Many Brazilian highways cannot support the largest, most efficient tractor-trailer units; instead, smaller, less efficient vehicles navigate dusty or gravel roads.

In Africa, less than 50 percent of the rural population lives close to adequate roads, making it difficult for farmers to advance beyond feeding their own families and local villages.

Proper Storage
Proper storage is another critical component of infrastructure. Governments and the private sector can help here by providing incentives and financing for farmers to band together to build the kinds of storage facilities that will enable them to keep their crops dry and available year-round to markets, not just in season. Refrigerated storage is needed to make fresh, healthy foods available to urban populations. This takes financing and electricity.

Infrastructure: Key to Food for the Future
Strong infrastructure – such as roads, rail routes, storage, and refrigeration, which the developed world takes for granted – is hugely important to keeping smallholder farming profitable and to ensuring that fresh, healthy foods reach the billions of the earth’s inhabitants. National governments and international development organizations recognize the need and are taking steps. But in the race against hunger in the face of a burgeoning population, ever more creative and entrepreneurial talent will be needed to develop infrastructure solutions.

 

Written by: David Turner, 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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How To Invest In Your Employees Beyond Giving A Raise

Posted on June 01 2016 | Author: Admin

When it comes to retaining your team, money isn’t everything.

Sure, salary increments are always going to be an employee’s top concern, but there are other ways to show value that doesn’t equate to another zero on the end of a paycheque. Personal investments are often more valuable and effective than financial increases, and will set the path for a mutually beneficial relationship.

Everyone wants to earn more, but increasing an employee’s salary doesn’t address other issues that often equate to a high turnover. By approaching your staff as people first, and employees second, you will be creating a company that cares about its team on a deeper level. In many cases, it will motivate the team further.

Whether you’re a small business owner or a Fortune 500 company, there are several ways to advance an employee without a title change or payment increase:

Offer flexible work schedules A study by Millennial Branding shows 45 per cent of this generation prefer workplace flexibility over higher pay. And with 75 per cent of the workforce expected to be made up of Millennials by 2025, managers can often attract and retain their team by foregoing the traditional 9 to 5. Implementing flexible hours can be a huge perk for working parents who are juggling their children’s schedules and daycare on top of their professional duties.

Offer staff the option of working from home a few days a week, or allow them to start and end the work day any time between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. The key for managers to adapt this approach is to first establish trust, set measurable targets and expectations and communicate effectively.

Say thank you It’s amazing what these two little words can do for your company. Yet despite it’s simplicity, so many managers forget to say it. Appreciation and acknowledgment are  pillars of any successful relationship, whether it be with your spouse, friends, or staff. It is amazing what a simple Thank You card, or even a quick email can do for the morale. It can even propel an underperforming employee to step up her game, as the reason for her slump may be due to feeling taken for granted.

Hitting a quarterly target or bringing in new clients are perfectly good reasons to say congratulations and express thanks; however, don’t forget the small actions that lead to those big achievements. Thank someone for showing up to every meeting on time, helping on-board a new employee, or even cleaning up in the lunchroom. Just make sure it’s sincere and delivered authentically so that they understand they’re appreciated.

Provide professional development Investing in your employees’ skills sends several messages. The first is that you want to foster a long-term relationship and cultivate their future. The second is that you’re open to giving them more responsibility by adding to their skill sets. And finally, that you don’t want them to get bored in their current role. Whether it’s a night course, weekend workshop, or in-office training, offering continued education will not only help build loyalty but also propel your company further by advancing your team’s skills. In all, it’s a win-win.

Whether you implement flexible work hours, exercise more appreciation, or offer professional development, these investments will do wonders for your workplace culture and morale. A company that sees their team as people rather than merely staff is an invaluable metric that far outweighs the dollar sign.

 

Provided by: Financial Post
By Mandy Gilbert, CEO of Creative Niche

Click here to view the original article. 






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Navigating Canada’s Public Funding Landscape: Five Tips to Keep in Mind

Posted on May 25 2016 | Author: Jessica Taylor

Public funding is unchartered territory for many, especially entrepreneurs starting their first venture or entering a new market. Often times program guides are littered with unfamiliar vocabulary and requirements can be unclear and confusing. So where do you start? Whether your next steps are contingent on securing funding or you are looking to leverage a private investment, there are few things to keep in mind when navigating the public funding landscape. This blog aims to provide you with tips that will increase your likelihood of receiving public funding:

1. There are different types of public funding; understand what makes the most sense for your project.

Most public funding can be categorized as one of the following:

  • Grants, contributions and financial assistance
    • These programs run on a cost-share basis and require that you report the outcomes of the project; however, most do not require you repay the funding body.
  • Loans and cash advances
    • When dealing with loans and cash advances it is critical that you understand the terms of your specific agreement. Ask questions of the funding partner and seek out a mentor who can review the agreement.
  • Loan guarantees
    • A government guarantee can attract creditors, providing a sense of security in providing financing to an early stage company.
  • Tax refunds and credits
    • Certain activities, such as research and development, are eligible for tax credits and the government offers a number of tax incentives that can help reduce your overhead costs.
  • Wage subsidies
    • Hiring grants and wage subsidies are available for a variety of different roles. In particular, a number of programs focus on new graduate hiring incentives that can make onboarding a new employee or position more feasible.

Canada Business Network provides a great overview of the types of funding that are available in Canada.


2. Demonstrate the benefit beyond your organization.
It is important to show the funding organization that the project will benefit the rest of your industry through increased revenues, job creation or other economic means such as providing equipment or services to other ventures. This can be illustrated by providing letters of support from other organizations or collaborating with an industry partner or academic institution for a project that is mutually beneficial.


3. Know when to apply for government funding.
Timing is critical when applying for government funding. Public funding programs operate in one of two ways:

  • Continuous application intake:
    These programs receive, review and approve applications on an ongoing basis until the program is fully subscribed or the government’s commitment has ended/is completed. This has a “first come first serve” mentality and timing of your submission may be more crucial to success.
     
  • Application intake period:
    Other programs set a “call for proposals” or intake period, which is a specific period of time where applications will be accepted. Once the intake period ends, all of the applications are reviewed and funding decisions are made. If a company does not get their application in during this time, they must wait for the next intake period.


4. Different levels of public funding
In Canada, public funding is available at all levels of government including federal, provincial, territorial, regional and municipal. As a small business it’s a good practice to be aware of the various funding organizations and their programming. A few of the key funding organizations are identified below:
 

Federal
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)     
Agriculture Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)
Farm Credit Canada (FCC)
FedDev Ontario
Western Economic Diversification Canada
 

Provincial
Innovacorp
Innovation PEI
Investment Agricultural Fund  
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)      
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture,
Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
Municipal
Regional Innovation Centres 




 

* Check your city’s economic development website for information about locally available funding. 

Caution: Stacking (using multiple sources of funding for one project or application) is possible, but there are a number of considerations and rules. It is recommended that entrepreneurs seek counsel from an organization or consultant that has experience in this space.


5. Collaborate.
Partnering with an industry member or academic group can make you eligible for new programs. As well, certain programs provide a higher cost-share for collaborative projects, some of which are only open to industry who have partnered with academia. For example, the Growing Forward 2 Program has a funding stream called Organizations and Collaborations run through the Agricultural Adaptation Council and NSERC runs various funding programs that businesses partnered with academics are eligible for.

Businesses of all stages can benefit immensely from the support of government funding. Keeping yourself informed about what is available and connecting with consultants and organizations that can assist with the application process will make accessing public funding a much easier process. When considering a new project or venture be sure to keep these tips in mind and reach out.

 

Jessica Taylor 
Senior Analyst, Food & Food Systems

 






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Starting With Social Media

Posted on May 13 2016 | Author: Rebecca Reynolds

Social media can be a valuable resource for marketing your company affectively and affordably. There are numerous channels and resources to utilize, which could be intimidating if you’re new to many of them. But the potential growth and business exposure could be significant, even for the smallest of marketing budgets.

Social media enables companies to be more engaged, while promoting their business in a very simple and direct manner. Traditional marketing can be pricey in comparison to marketing over social media platforms – which can be as simple as posting a comment that your followers can discuss, and thus generating exposure for your company. You’ll invest in time what you save in dollars.

Steps To Success

1. Do Your Research
With many social media platforms, it’s important to know which is more appropriate to support your company’s goals. For example, if your social media target is to build stronger brand loyalties, Facebook is the best platform. Or if you’d like to develop more business-to-business relationships, than focus your efforts on LinkedIn.

Understanding each platform’s audience and using them correctly can grow your following and minimize your future social media efforts. For a summary on some of the most popular platforms, see the image below.

2. Create Your Accounts
To start, it is most effective to focus on one or two platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter for example. When creating your accounts, ensure that your profiles enable your customers to contact you:

  • Profile Photo: Usually the company logo is the most effective image.
  • Website URL: No matter what platform you use, your website URL should always be accessible.
  • Location: On platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn, including your location can help your customers find your business easily.
  • Contact Information: Including a phone number or e-mail on your account can help facilitate interactions with potential customers.

3. Time To Connect
Once your profile and all relevant information are up and ready, you can begin following and connecting your network. Be sure to connect with your employees as they are usually the most eager and ready to share company information. You should consider following other companies and contacts in your industry, news stations, government bodies and even your competitors.

4. Plan Before You Post
Each social media platform has varying applications and logistics. To explain further, Twitter is much more rapid and quickly consumed compared to Facebook which is more about posting quality over quantity. Every platform needs specific and active attention in order to be utilized successfully. Consider creating a schedule of the type of content and when to post it to help track and organize all the information you are sharing.

A rule of thumb known in social media is the 80/20 rule. It suggests that only 20% of the content you post should promote your company directly and could include posting useful statistics, testimonials, sales promotions and more. For the other 80% of content, you should consider posting interesting information, like relevant news articles, industry trends as well as responding and interacting with your network. The 80/20 rule is a helpful guideline because it encourages you to focus on your audience’s interests, in order to engage with them sufficiently. 

5. Combine Your Efforts
If used effectively, social media has the ability to enhance your online exposure as well as drive more traffic to your website. When appropriate, sharing content from your website (Company or Industry News, Services Offered, etc) can assist with creating awareness as well as drive traffic to your website. Another example of great content to share is the company blog, further promoting the knowledge and expertise within your company.

6. Respond, Retweet, Repeat
Company social media accounts are not all just posting. It is equally as important to be active and responsive with your social media community, which includes responding in a prompt and timely manner, especially in regards to negative comments. A timely response can assist with demonstrating the importance your company places on customer service. Monitor your feeds and be mindful of what your following is discussing as well as industry trends and news. This will help you target your content towards the topics your audience is interested in and help gather a strong following.

7. Keep The Connections
Make sure your network can follow you! Make links to your social media platforms readily available.

  • Place social media icons on your website, either at the top or bottom for your website, ensuring the icons are visible on majority of the pages.
  • Add social media share buttons under your blog posts as well as links in your email signatures
  • Consider adding a live feed from your most active social media platforms to the homepage of your website.

Although this is just scratching the surface, mastering the basics for maintaining and growing your social media network will help make it a more manageable and worth-while time investment for your company.

 

Rebecca Reynolds
Marketing & Events Assistant 

 

Sources:
www.socialmediaexaminer.com
www.businessnewsdaily.com
www.socialmediatoday.com

Photo:
www.marketingleap.net
 






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What’s The Key Ingredient for Innovation in Food and Agribusiness?

Posted on May 06 2016 | Author: Admin

A recent article in a business publication reported that the most overused business buzzword today is “innovation.” Clearly, everyone is talking about innovation, but how can it be implemented successfully?

The key to unlocking innovation in today’s marketplace is having the right talent in place - leaders with the necessary skills, knowledge, experience, and personal characteristics.

Truly innovative companies look for people with the ability to capitalize on the company’s creative and financial resources all along the supply chain. They recognize the following realities when it comes to their human talent:

Innovation has to be system-wide - across the supply chain, and include finance and marketing.

Paul Miller, Managing Director and Food Sector Lead for Kincannon & Reed, said, “We are seeing the same challenge to innovate across all slices of the supply chain - in large and small companies, ingredient companies, packaging and equipment companies, as well as food processors and marketers.”

“For example, organic products have had impressive growth and companies see opportunities there. But one challenge in creating these products is determining what the supply line should look like.” Miller said, “For instance, pastures with cattle or fields with corn have to be pesticide-free for three years as a first step to organic certification. As a result, we see some innovative food companies trying new approaches such as buying farmland directly.”

“Meanwhile, the ingredient companies are telling us: ‘We need people who understand consumer insights and can help us create solutions for our customers to satisfy their wants and needs,’” Miller added. “On the Research and Development and Product Development side, many business-to-business clients no longer rely solely on their customers to tell them what consumers are thinking. They are taking the initiative to understand on their own what is driving consumers, so they can innovate earlier.”

Hand in glove with this trend, the large food companies say they are looking to their suppliers not just for solutions, but for ideas. They want suppliers who can say, for example, “We’ve found new ways to take sodium out of products and still maintain the taste.”

Miller said, “Innovation is not just taking consumer insights and creating a new product. It’s looking at how the product fits within the life stages of consumers, then packaging and selling in more sophisticated and ‘honest’ ways.“

As a result, we are doing more searches all along the supply chain for roles with job titles such as Chief Product and Innovation Officer,” Miller said.

Innovation requires leaders who can drive flexibility in a company’s operations and manufacturing.

Smart companies know they can no longer base their manufacturing strategy solely on long production runs to be efficient and hold down unit costs.

Miller explained, “In key operations and supply chain roles, clients talk about the need to be innovative in manufacturing and supply chain processes to allow for more efficient change-overs and short-runs. It’s the same in establishing and securing supply lines. Suppliers say they need to do this for their customers, particularly their clients with cutting edge products or packaging.”

“We see large food companies backward integrating to achieve agility,” said Miller. “They want executives who understand this approach and who have done it.”

Companies are achieving innovation through “co-creation” and “science community,” as well as through mergers and acquisitions.

Michael Whitney, Managing Partner and Region Leader for Kincannon & Reed in Europe, said, “Some large multi-nationals have made huge strides using co-creation. They have assembled a cadre of high-quality innovation managers from both R&D and Commercial to lead their strategic global projects. In parallel, they have increased the level of understanding of science and technology among non-technical people, particularly in Marketing and Sales.”

Whitney continued: “Innovation from Mergers & Acquisitions can be a key growth driver if the companies get it right, but sometimes they struggle to extract the maximum synergies from the integration. There are other challenges. For example, the new entity may give scientists too much free rein or, conversely, because the acquiring firm has a different attitude to risk, there is less freedom to innovate. Others report that although they accessed new value streams, their development and execution strengths have been at risk as they try to harness the new shared capabilities.”

Says Miller: “A key success factor in these mergers and acquisitions is how the larger company manages the smaller ones without stifling creativity or harming the smaller company’s brand.”

How does the demand for innovation affect your talent search?

Miller stated, “We explore innovation as a desired quality in every conversation we have with clients about a potential hire, regardless of the role’s function or level. Food and ingredient companies want people who can identify trends and consumer insights, and move quickly to address them. They want people who can envision using the full capabilities of an organization and understand what a flexible supplier looks like.”

Whitney concluded: “Because so much is riding on bringing in the right person, we engage in a very deliberate process to ensure we present a slate of candidates with the combination of skills, experience, and personal characteristics that will fit with the innovation goals and culture of each particular client.”


Article provided by: www.KRsearch.com

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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