ImpactFest: Two Montreal startups win the FEED Montreal $50,000 Grant

The first edition of ImpactFest at Startupfest was held on Saturday, July 13, 2019, at Parc Jean-Drapeau in the heart of Startupfest’s new venue. A joint initiative between Startupfest and Esplanade, the day was entirely dedicated to impactful startups and offered a full agenda of panels and conferences open to all free of charge.

About Startupfest: Startupfest is Canada’s largest startup event. Held annually in July, the event brings together over 6500 startups, investors, and industry leaders from around the world to chart the course of entrepreneurship for one week in the festival city of Montreal. Now in its 9th year, the festival offers over $1M in prizes and investments and spans over 6 days.

About Esplanade: Esplanade offers a collaborative space, a set of events and a supported journey (impact8) that catalyzes and supports a growing community of actors of change who develop solution-driven startups that take on the biggest economic, social and environmental challenges.

A day dedicated to impactful startups

Open to all, ImpactFest was added to the Startupfest program for people to discover this burgeoning ecosystem and the entrepreneurs that influence the development of key sectors to secure our community’s future. Among those key sectors: food. Food for all concerns every single one of us. Since it has an impact on our health, well-being, economy and environment, food is at the heart of many individual and collective concerns. There is still work to do in Montreal in regards to reducing food waste, improving access to local, sustainable and quality food, and reducing the rate of food insecurity, but there are solutions!

FEED Montreal Grant: Supporting Startups in Food Management

ImpactFest was the first collaboration opportunity between FEED Montreal, Startupfest and Esplanade. To support the theme “Feeding Montrealers”, the FEED Montreal organization was looking to award a $50,000 grant to one or several startups with innovative solutions focusing on food production, distribution, security and education, as well as everything that feeds local communities sustainably.

Following the successful application process, 12 projects working in the food security sector and making an impact on Montreal communities were invited to come pitch in front of a jury of FEED Montreal organization members and field experts:

  • Steven Goldberg, FEED Montreal
  • Jennifer Knox, FEED Montreal
  • Philip Hazan, FEED Montreal
  • Philippe Telio, Startupfest
  • Coline Fiévet, WERKLIV
  • Tasha Lackman, Fondation du Grand Montréal
  • Yann Pezzini, Credo Montréal

$50,000 to feed Montrealers

Out of 12 startups chosen to pitch, two projects won the judges over with their solutions. The $50,000 Grant was split between La Transformerie ($30,000), and ÉAU—Écosystèmes alimentaires urbains ($20,000).

Guillaume Cantin – La Transformerie; Julien Le Net – ÉAU

Esplanade is proud to say that these two organizations are supported through their journey by impact8. La Transformerie just finished the impact8 Acceleration program, while ÉAU went through this program to receive personalized coaching as a part of the Transformation program.

  • La Transformerie wants to reduce food waste in Montreal. They bring forth an easy solution adapted to unsold products in grocery stores. Since April, the organization collects unsold food products in grocery stores in Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie. Today, this sums up to more than 1,765 pounds of food weekly in 5 partnering businesses. They also repurpose some unsold fruit by transforming them in 6 delicious spreads called “Les Rescapés” (The Rescued), and they are key players in providing food bank organizations with access to quality food. Love is what drives this team of three employees, a hundred volunteers in kitchens, and about thirty professional volunteers. La Transformerie’s positive approach to food waste instills collaboration. In the project’s first 6 months, they saved 18.5 tons of food, 14 of which were redistributed to organizations. The Grant will help accelerate the structuring process of collection, transformation and distribution in the organization, and maximize its impact.
  • ÉAU wants to improve food autonomy within communities and territories with the help of a new and eco-friendly food production system: aquaponics. In the face of food insecurity, which concerns most of the Montreal, Quebec and global populations, aquaponics is a solution that facilitates access to fresh, healthy and nutritious food. Today, the team works with many project partners all around the island and the general Montreal area, as well as across Quebec, where more than 12 communities are supported in the development of their own aquaponics farm. As an example, in Gatineau, the SUN (Serres Urbaines Notre-Dame) organization’s aquaponics farm will help provide fresh fruits and vegetables to more than 3,000 people all year round. Aquaponics also has many eco-friendly advantages; from water and energy consumption, to the use of fertilizers and pesticides and the quantity of waste produced, aquaponics is the solution for sustainable food production. The money will be used to support community-based aquaponics farm projects and to develop ÉAU LAB, a tech showcase and research lab in Montreal.