Janice Bartley is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Foodpreneur Lab, with a personal mission to level the playing field and open doors in underserved communities for ‘would be’ and established food entrepreneurs.
Founded January 2019, Foodpreneur Lab was created to tackle systemic barriers head on and pioneer new approaches to creating access for those historically prevented from fully participating in the food sector. Foodpreneur Lab is the only Canadian Black-woman founded and led non-profit organization with a fierce national mandate to support underserved communities and address systemic barriers in the food ecosystem.
Foodpreneur Lab is a team made up of diverse entrepreneurs and experts in the food sector. We are led by Janice Bartley who draws on her 30 years of lived experience in food and entrepreneurship to create access, and open doors that have historically been closed to underserved communities.
Janice brings a wealth of experience into the food sector as a former Operations Manager in Culinary & Hospitality management. Her 30+ years as an entrepreneur brought her to Food Starter as part of the Management team. She has mentored many young and experienced Chefs in the food industry and has been able to transition those mentoring skills to food entrepreneurs. Janice has worked with community based Organizations, such as JumpStart Refugee Talent and Ryerson Diversity Institute both support women entrepreneurs and newcomers.
In 2019 her first mentee won the JumpStart pitch competition and in 2020, she mentored participants in HERStartup, a newly created division of JumpStart Refugee Talent focused on providing support to newcomer women in food. Janice also serves as a Mentor/Advisor with StartGBC, George Brown College helping students in the food space. Janice serves as a Mentor to the Elizabeth Fry Society, EnterpRISE program supporting young women launch or scale their business.
She also provides consulting services to food entrepreneurs and serves as an Advisory Member, for York Region Agriculture and Agri-Food Committee. Janice is the former General Manager for VenturePark Labs, a 20.000 sq ft production facility that provides access to commercial shared kitchens and Accelerator spaces supporting food entrepreneurs. VenturePark Labs is a division of five communities within VenturePark owned by Dragons Den, Arlene Dickinson.
Start of interview (3:37)
The origins of The Foodpreneur (4:12)
Challenges that women of color face when entering the food industry (8:46)
About “food accountability” (11:32)
Foodprenuer and underrepresented communites (16:28)
Supporting local food sources (22:40)
What can a new participant to Foodpreneur expect? (31;55)
How the pandemic has effected business (34:19)
Tips for women entrepreneurs (37:47)
How do you define an Alpha Woman? (43:17)
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