Young people are playing an instrumental role in developing the future of the bio-economy, and work to bring in more is necessary and welcome, according to a leader at an industry accelerator.
Bioenterprise Corporation, a publicly funded non-profit business accelerator, facilitates the creation, growth and commercialization of agri-technology companies ranging from start-ups to established businesses. It offers a range of services from business analysis and consulting to events that showcase and highlight the sector.
“It was a great fit,” said Jennifer Kalanda, Marketing Manager at Bioenterprise, explaining that the hires came amid ongoing expansion and growth across the country that the new staff were brought in to facilitate.
“We were opening offices in B.C. and growing our offices in the Maritimes, and our headquarters fields a lot of that growth and national collaboration. We needed to support the growth of our organization and demand for our services,” Ms. Kalanda said.
The Guelph, Ontario based organization, with established offices in P.E.I and Nova Scotia and a new one in B.C., met increasing interest in its offerings with the aid of the additional staff.
"The business analyst delivered services to bio-waste industry clients and was “instrumental” in driving a fee-for-service major market research project for a large industry client seeking insight to develop future strategy,” said Ms. Kalanda.
The events and marketing coordinator took on all events and partnership management and drove Bioenterprise’s digital marketing, including social media and email marketing, increasing presence and engagement by as much as 200 per cent.
“Following their six-month placement and review, we were more than happy to retain them full-time,” Ms. Kalanda said.
The support for new hires was crucial to developing the organization and its initiatives, Ms. Kalanda noted. One noteworthy difference between the staff in positions supported by BioTalent Canada funding and co-op students was the ability to build toward sustainable growth, she said.
“With co-op students, the challenge is that you have so little time with them,” Ms. Kalanda said. “By month three, you have them to a point where they are self-sustaining, but if they’re a four-month co-op, you have to start all over again” from the interview, hire, and training process.
In contrast, being able to hire staff into positions assisted by funding like that provided through BioTalent Canada opens up possibilities for the kind and extent of the work Bioenterprise was able to pursue.
“There is no limit to the time, restrictions to what she can do, and there is continuity, so it is amazing,” Ms. Kalanda said, adding that the help of the marketing coordinator on her own team was game-changing.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it all without her, anymore,” she said, observing that she previously achieved goals with the help of co-op students and “very little sleep.”
The BioTalent Canada placements have been so successful that Bioenterprise “routinely” recommends the programs to its own clients, which have created 2,600 jobs and over 1,000 products, and seen $268 million in revenue in the last decade.
“It has been an exceptional experience. We are extremely happy with the program and the staff at BioTalent Canada gave us great guidance,” Ms. Kalanda said. “We know our clients are going to get a lot of value out of working with BioTalent Canada as well.”