If you have the stars in your eyes for starting a successful business, Arlene Dickinson is the perfect person to have around your corner.

The passionate owner of Neighborhood businesses offers a comprehensive set of business support solutions across the various extensions of the business, providing all kinds of assistance, from venture capital to marketing consulting, all of which can help Canadian entrepreneurs – especially those operating businesses. consumer packaged goods companies – catching up and finding a space to thrive in the Canadian retail industry.

“No one in Canada has created an ecosystem that actually identifies entrepreneurs with ideas and they not only need to be able to get money – which we can provide with our fund – but they also need marketing support and programming support to learn how to become a better entrepreneur, ”says Dickinson.

Called “cohorts”, each cycle of District Business Accelerator Participating companies spend six months working closely with a range of advisors to fine-tune everything, such as marketing strategies and packaging. No matter what kind of mentorship a cohort might need, the end goal is always the same: storage space.

Since launching this entrepreneurial consumer goods program in 2015, District Ventures has seen 69 companies participate, including Wild Tea Kombucha and Drizzle Honey from Calgary, amaretti maker Piccola Cucina from Winnipeg and SoCIAL LITE Vodka from Toronto.

“These companies are starting up [like Piccola Cucina] and you can have the best amaretti in the world, but if you can’t have it on a shelf and get people to buy it, it doesn’t matter. It’s that last mile that is so important, ”says Dickinson.

As the program is constantly evolving, Dickinson, with Sunterra Market President, Glen Price, announced last week that a new partnership between their respective companies has been formed.

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This new collaboration will give Accelerator participants – past, present and future – the opportunity to have their products listed by the Alberta grocer, which operates eight stores in Calgary and Edmonton. Sunterra’s newest location opened alongside the recent announcement as it is attached to District Ventures at the west end of Kensington Road.

“We hope to continue to be involved and support as much as possible throughout the acceleration process, and part of that isn’t just listing every single item that [is presented] because we have to be able to provide the appropriate feedback, ”explains Price. “We’re pretty open-minded to Arlene’s ideas as to where this relationship can go and we’re excited to see where all of these entrepreneurs can go. “

Price and Dickinson both insist that this type of collaboration with Sunterra Market is the first of its kind in Canada and truly unique in that a small business is able to prepare their products for the retail industry and then follow them to the shelves of Sunterra Market stores, including closer are next.

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Outside of the retail world, Dickinson’s other latest venture is the new CBC series. Under new leadership, in which the dragon’s lair investors and business experts work with different couples looking to take over an existing business. Dickinson weighs the pros and cons of different businesses for sale, and prepares potential new owners for the challenges ahead.

“I’m so proud to be a woman as the senior business person on a commercial show, and I think that the fact that this show was made in Canada, that I was able to be the business advisor and that we talk to Canadians who dream of running their own business and show them what it’s going to be… what it means emotionally and financially, ”she says. “It was so much fun.”


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