FoodByte Co-founders, Acadia student Dougal Armour and Acadia alum Mathew Winchester saw a great business opportunity in light of new food safety regulations in Canada. After conducting some research, they partnered up to work on a food safety software site designed to help food safety consultants and food processors find easier ways to develop safety plans.
“With new regulations in place, safety plans can be pages long and take a long time to draft,” says co-founder Doug Armour. “We saw a real opportunity to develop a software.”
Armour says the idea for FoodByte came about somewhat by chance when at a birthday party, he and Winchester overheard a discussion on the challenges of creating food safety plans. Although at first, it didn’t sound like a feasible idea, they soon realized there was significant work to be done in the industry.
“We started talking to food processors and it turned out to be larger problem than we thought,” says Armour “There’s truly a lack of expertise in food safety and we recognized a need for a software solution to speed up the process of creating safety plans for consultants,” he explains.
From there, Armour and Winchester attended several business competitions organized at Acadia and began to see the impact their idea could have in the market. Today, FoodByte is operating from the Entrepreneurship Centre at Acadia’s Patterson Hall. The company has accumulated a number of clients, both processors and consultants.
“We match food processors or farmers with a consultant, if they need a food safety plan,” he explains. “If they can’t afford one, our system can also help processors create their own safety plan, and guide them through the plan creation process.”
Armour says building a company or a startup is a challenge and it’s not uncommon that entrepreneurs often don’t get past the initial stages of a project. He attributes FoodByte’s success in great part to the community surrounding the company’s team, which has made it possible to form meaningful business connections and mentorships.
“Our community is tight and it’s easier connect with relevant people in the business and to network and find a support system,” he says. “One of our long-time mentors is Chris Houston, an Acadia alum, whom we met through a business networking event at Acadia.”
“And being close to other processors and farmers in the area makes it really easy for us to meet with potential clients,” he adds.
Armour says getting past the initial phase of the project is already a huge success, but he says being able to hire fellow Acadia students is the most rewarding sign of the company’s overall success.
In the future, Armour and Winchester hope to expand FoodByte’s services across Canada.
Visit FoodByte’s website here.
Learn more about Acadia’s Entrepreneurship Centre here.