VIU’s Seafood Business Accelerator program will help small-scale harvesters find their niche

Melanie P. Loureiro stands in front of several bins of mussels and holds onel in her left hand.

Melanie P. Loureiro holds up a mussel.

February 16, 2023 - 12:00pm

BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food is funding the Centre for Seafood Innovation’s new program.

A new Seafood Business Accelerator program led by Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Centre for Seafood Innovation, in partnership with the BC Commercial Fishing Caucus, will help self-employed fishers and farmers become more sustainable, profitable seafood providers.  

“Small-scale harvesters have huge socio-economic importance in BC’s coastal communities and their inability to compete has led to a declining number of harvesters,” said Debra Hellbach, Manager of VIU’s Centre for Seafood Innovation. “This reality has had a major impact on the Indigenous and non-Indigenous rural and remote coastal communities where they are based. We are excited to help small-scale seafood harvesters with an expert team of coaches and advisors.” 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is the major funder of the program.

“Small-scale seafood harvesters are the heart of coastal communities in BC, and their products are enjoyed here at home and around the world,” said Pam Alexis, BC’s Minister of Agriculture and Food. “Investments in projects such as the Seafood Business Accelerator program help strengthen the sector and it provides them with the tools and guidance they need to compete in this important sector to BC’s economy.” 

Program participants will engage in workshops and webinars and get one-on-one support to learn:

  • market opportunities and research,
  • product development and processing,
  • food regulations and traceability,
  • funding and finance options, and
  • business and financial planning.

By the end of the program, participants will have a better understanding of the food supply chain and will have developed a road map for their idea, and in some cases prototypes, to present to potential investors or community decision-makers.

The program also received funding from the Island Coast Economic Trust, Food Processing Skills Canada’s Student Work Placement Program and the T. Buck Suzuki Foundation. Other supporters will provide business coaching and food industry training to help participants find their niche. 

The program is currently accepting registrations for the February to May 2023 intake. Learn how to apply and more about the program on the Seafood Business Accelerator website.


Media Contact:

Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.618.0373 l E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Centre for Seafood Innovation | Announcements

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