Canadian investor and Dragon’s Den star Arlene Dickinson has launched a company called Venturepark, which is described as Canada’s most extensive business growth ecosystem focused on consumer packaged goods.
Venturepark is comprised of five distinct arms focused on funding, creating, scaling, reinventing and driving growth for CPG businesses through capital, marketing, programming, innovation, commercialization and media amplification. It will service North American clients from its Calgary headquarters and an office in Toronto.
“You can access [different] skill sets all under one roof,” said Dan Strasser, vice-president executive creative director for Venture Play (the company’s full-service marketing firm) and District Ventures Plus (its integrated growth partner, committed to “nurturing, marketing and scaling”).
Strasser said having access to a team of VCs who are focused on helping brands grow revenue provides an additional layer of business understanding that’s not available to traditional agency partners.
“They’re looking to build brands and grow the potential of a company, [which means] you get a bit of a different perspective,” said Strasser. “It’s a deeper level of business understanding, and we’re bringing that together with more traditional agency strategy and creative, and digital and PR and all of those things.”
In a Twitter video, Dickinson said Venturepark was committed to helping its partners become “global brands” through its suite of services. The business challenges facing companies in the highly competitive CPG sector are the same, she said, whether they’re a small single brand or a large multinational.
“Navigating the business space today in this area of consumer goods is so difficult,” said Dickinson. “You require guidance and help to be able to navigate it effectively to be all you can be.”
To promote the launch, Venturepark sent out a box containing products from brands it works with—including Fody Foods; the “tree water” brand Sapsucker; plant-based protein pancakes brand Flourish; and Outcast Foods, which turns rejected, surplus or past-date fruits and vegetables into sustainable food products.
The box directed recipients to a video link in which Dickinson explained it was more than a box of products, and that it represented “the future of Canada,” with an increased emphasis on living well.
Dickinson said prior to the pandemic, she and her team had identified a shift in consumer behaviour in which they were becoming increasingly educated about the foods they consumed, while seeking healthier lifestyles.
“We believe that food and beverage, health and wellness and agriculture entrepreneurship will become key economic drivers for our nation moving forward,” she said. “This is why we have strategically shifted our current business units, acquired others and are developing new ones, to embrace and respond directly to this trend.