February 4, 2018 6:01 pm
Updated: February 4, 2018 9:34 pm

Coworking space dedicated to food, agriculture opens in Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: Coworking spaces in Edmonton are not a new thing. But a new initiative by the Agriculture and Food Council is putting a new spin on the community workspace. Julia Wong explains.

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A new coworking space in Edmonton is aiming to bring together start-ups in the food and agriculture industries.

Food Central Cowork, an initiative from the Agriculture and Food Council of Alberta, officially opened its doors last week. Any company connected to either field, such as personal care products using botanicals, at-home gardens or food products, can use the space to collaborate.

READ MORE: Growth expected in Canada’s agriculture sector: FCC

“What we’ve learned over the past couple of years is the food industry and the agriculture industry is fragment,” CEO Bryanna Yung said.

“We created a physical space where people can come and work out of, connect with mentors [and] find other resources and other like-minded companies.”

Approximately 20 office spaces are currently in use at Food Central Cowork.

Julia Wong/Global News

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The space near downtown Edmonton has board rooms and about 50 office spaces, which can be used for short-term or long-term purposes. Yung said approximately 20 spaces are currently being used.

“We’ll assist with business plans. We’ll help with accounting, IT, finding online marketing resources – everything on the back end we help find so they can focus on their business,” Yung said.

Coworking spaces are not a new thing, but Yung said this is believed to be the first coworking space in Western Canada specifically dedicated to food and agriculture.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island group urging farmers to produce environmentally-friendly crops

“Lots of times [the companies] can’t afford to be able to open their own facility. If you can get multiples that aren’t competitive with one another, they can share facilities,” she said.

“Food is a growing topic in Edmonton. It’s really important for them to be able to find the resources and be able to connect with each other.”

Parmiss Mojir Shaibani and her husband founded Roshan Water Solutions in January 2017. The University of Alberta post-doctorate researchers are developing a product to test whether water and raw food products are free from bacteria and safe to consume.

The pair is currently working in a space at the university but are interested in setting up shop at the Food Central CoWork.

“Where you have a cowork centre, you have people with different expertise that you don’t necessarily have. To have people who are focused in agriculture and food, you get experience on how to deal with those kinds of businesses, how to talk to people who are in the food business,” Mojir Shaibani said.

“It doesn’t matter with kind of business you’re running, there are common problems between different businesses. You have other people who’ve been there maybe six months ago, maybe two years ago, you can get answers to those questions.”

Information on Food Central Cowork can be found here.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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