New Canadian Food Entrepreneurs Compete at OAFVC

In Local

Four entrepreneurs from the second cohort of the Newcomers’ Food Entrepreneur Program competed yesterday to impress local grocers and retailers with their delectable food creations.

The food entrepreneurs pitched their products to a panel of judges at the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) in Colborne. These products, developed through the immersive six-week entrepreneurial program, were assessed based on creativity, taste, texture, cost, marketing and presentation. After a tough competition, Kabirat Agunbiade and Dawood Abdulsalam took home the coveted 2024 Newcomers’ Food Entrepreneur Program Pitch Competition trophy and complimentary services from the OAFVC, valued at $500, for their ‘Harvestroot Blend’ beverage.

“It was a pleasure to be a part of the judges panel for this year’s Newcomers’ Food Entrepreneur Program Pitch Competition,” states County Councillor and Township of Cramahe Mayor Mandy Martin. “On behalf of County Council, I would like to congratulate all the participants who competed. It was inspiring to see how they have transformed innovative ideas into tangible retail-ready products. This program is an excellent opportunity for New Canadians to share their skills and grow meaningful connections in the community to help them turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.”

The Newcomers’ Food Entrepreneur Program, supported by Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, is a free program open to New Canadians interested in turning their small batch recipe into a scalable recipe for retail sale. Throughout the program, participants learn how to finance, package, label and market their food product, with the help of industry experts and OAFVC facilities and staff.

“The support from the Newcomers’ Food Entrepreneur Program and OAFVC was very helpful,” states Pitch Competition winner Kabirat Agunbiade. “When I first signed up for the Program, I didn’t think I would actually get this far. The virtual education and training along the way was very helpful. The program was zero cost to be a part of and allowed me to get my product up and running. I am very thankful for this opportunity.”

To learn more about the services available at the OAFVC to support food entrepreneurs, visit

Photos attached
1. Newcomers’ Food Entrepreneur Pitch Competition winners accept trophy (left to right): Melanie Ferreira, previous Newcomers’ Food Entrepreneur Program participant; Mandy Martin, County Councillor and Township of Cramahe Mayor; Emilio Ojeda, Northumberland County Settlement Services Coordinator; Dawood Abdulsalam and Kabirat Agunbiade, competition winners with ‘Harvestroot Blend’; Trissia Mellor, Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre Manager; Rene Hamman, Business & Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator.

2. Newcomers’ Food Entrepreneur Pitch Competition participants (left to right): Takahiro Takehana & Madoka Takehana of ‘Pastry Kukki’; Dawood Abdulsalam & Kabirat Agunbiade of ‘Harvestroot Blend’; Sabrina Zaman & Nafis Muntasir of ‘& Natural’; and Neil Horner, Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre Operations Specialist. (Participant not pictured: Rajesh Kumar of ‘Healthy Harmony’)

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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