Two degrees, two continents and one International Food Business (IFB) program.
Bibi Roozing from ‘t Veld in The Netherlands was a third-year IFB student on the Agricultural Campus preparing for her Canadian work term in April when the Coronavirus pandemic saw she and her classmates moving home March 18.
“I was so disappointed,” explains Bibi. “I was supposed to do my internship at the Manorun Organic Farm and learn about their permaculture practices. I was so excited to work and live on the farm and meet new people."
The International Food Business program is a unique opportunity for students who are interested in understanding the global food industry from the farm gate to the consumer's plate. This one-of-a-kind program at the Faculty of Agriculture awards students two degrees within the standard four years of study: a Bachelor of Business Administration from Aeres University in the Netherlands and a Bachelor of Agriculture in International Food Business from Dalhousie.
“After a little while, I realized how unique this situation is and that I should use this time and make something beautiful out of it,” says Bibi. "Ever since I started the IFB program I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I thought if I don't have time now to start my own business during a lockdown in my house then when would I ever?”
Good to goat
Bibi began to think about what kind of business she would want.
“My parents used to joke about how I would one day start my own goat farm as I love goats. I think they are super fun and I love their cheese. So I started doing some research on goat milk.”
Goat milk products can help with eczema, psoriasis and other skin problems. It is also packed with vitamins and minerals. Bibi decided to make a 100 per cent natural goat milk soap with ingredients that are beneficial for skin and the environment.
Bibi also needed to satisfy the work term placement of her program. Joy Galloway-Jones, the Faculty of Agriculture's work-integrated learning coordinator, has been working with IFB students to come up with creative ways for them to satisfy the work integrated learning component of their program in light of COVID 19.
“As we began to re-adjust due to COVID-19, I contacted nearly 100 of our idustry partners to try to set up work integrated learning opportunities for all of the students,” says Galloway-Jones. “When Bibi suggested she wanted to start her own business, I communicated with some of our partners for mentorship opportunities and a way to fulfill the program requirements by providing a North American experience.”
Mashing it up
Bibi will be participating in the Mashup Lab Idea Challenge sponsored by the Truro and Colchester Partnership for Economic Prosperity. This week-long program will link those with business ideas, like Bibi, with daily coaching, tools and resources to help activate her plan.
“It was a great idea on paper but I had no idea if it would be approved as an internship at all. Luckily I got super positive reactions and a lot of support from Joy. She helped me to sign up for the Idea Challenge. Right now the idea finally starts to become reality. I am currently developing and experimenting with my own recipe and I am writing a business plan for a Canadian version of my business.”
Thanks to the support of The Valley Regional Entrepreneur Network and the Truro & Colchester Partnership, 12 free spots were made available for the Mashup Lab Idea Challenge beginning this month.
“We love working with people who want to talk about ideas and explore entreprenurship. It’s exactly what we promote and support in Colchester,” noted Brennan Gillis, CEO of the Truro & Colchester Partnership for Economic Prosperity. “Helping students like Bibi connect their ideas with support might spur a new business down the road.”
Mashup Lab focuses on activating the entrepreneurial talent hidden in rural communities while providing the tools and confidence to turn great ideas into great businesses.
“I am super excited about the Idea Challenge because I really want to share my idea with other people and get motivated by all their ideas, missions and visions,” Bibi added. “I feel like this will be the bridge between a plan and actually starting the business. It also great to receive some Canadian feedback as I am currently in The Netherlands.”
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