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Being an entrepreneur isn't easy. It's rewarding, but chaotic; demanding, but worth it. Working many hours often leaves little time to find answers to questions you may have.

Your time is valuable, so wouldn't it be nice to have a voice from someone who has been through entrepreneurship/business development too?

The Agri-food Business Mentorship Program will pair you with a mentor-coach whom you choose at a speed-networking event. After your first meeting, agreements and schedules will be signed and sent to AFC. From that point on, you can build your mentoring relationship and grow your business.

AFC will support mentors and protégés. We have meeting space and internet (PLUS coffee) for mentors and protégé's to use throughout the program.

Program Benefits

  1. Expand your network; 2 networking events throughout the 4 month program
  2. Receive one-on-one mentorship from an expereinced business person
  3. Receive guidance whether you're dealing with a business issue, scaling up, looking to expand into international markets and/or general guidance in the entrepreneurship lifestyle
  4. Need a space to do some work, meet with your mentor or take a call? You'll have access to AFC's hot seat (up to 4 hours a month)

Don't hesitate, sign up today!

Mentor Bios (Mentors & Bios will appear as we obtain them)

Kareema Batel:

Kareema Batal is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s Nutrition & Food Science program. Kareema is an entrepreneur, food educator and product developer. Kareema owned and operated an organic health foods market and has an insider’s perspective on supply challenges, retail demands, and marketing needs for brand success. With her partner, Ala, they own and operate Neo Juicery in Edmonton, Canada’s first zero waste Juicery. Kareema is passionate about food system economics and how local food systems can drive economic growth, reduce food insecurity, and adopt technology and innovation to build world class food businesses in our province. Kareema has experience in nutrition research, food manufacturing, retail, and purchasing. Kareema is looking forward to being a mentor and support system for start-up foodpreneurs in Edmonton to help them grow and succeed in their business.

Dan Graham

Dan Graham is the Director, Operations, Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator (APBI) and Food Processing Development Centre (FPDC) at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in Leduc, Alberta. This facility is the hub of activity for and operates under the broader mandate of the Food Processing Branch which is to develop programs and services to encourage the growth, diversification and competitiveness of the agricultural, food and feed processing industry. The FPDC provides product and process development support to the food processing industry. The APBI offers 7 individual food processing suites for medium term lease where food processing companies can further develop and grow their business in a federally inspected environment.

Branko Jankovic

Prior to joining AFC, Branko spent eight and a half years as the CFO for a publicly traded company, involved in the commercialization and sale of functional bioactives. It is there that he realized his passion for technology commercialization. Eventually, Branko came to enjoy the collaborative aspect of commercialization so much that it has become a passion, even with all the headaches it may bring. Branko looks forward to working with entrepreneurs, researchers and investors with an interest in getting their good ideas to market, and will be pleased to assist every step of the way. The demand for new health solutions, green technologies and natural products will continue to grow in the future and Branko hopes to assist new and existing companies to take advantage of these opportunities.

Barry Mehr

Barry Mehr brings more than 50 years of experience and expertise in this industry sector and government to the board. He began his career in food and agriculture in Ontario in the early 1960s, after completing his undergraduate degree in food chemistry. Barry spent 10 years working for Swift Canadian Company Ltd. in various sales and managerial positions before joining Canada’s public service. Between 1973 and 2009, Barry served the Government of Alberta as an Assistant Deputy Minister and Deputy Minister in various ministries, including Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (AAFRD), Economic Development, and Innovation and Science.

Dieter Kuhlmann

My family and I own and operate Kuhlmann’s Market Gardens & Greenhouses Ltd. located in the northeast corner of Edmonton. We have two daughters, Angela and Anita who with their husbands Dale & Doug are partners in our company along with my wife Elizabeth and myself. Anita & Doug’s children Curtis (26) and Linda (22) also work for Kuhlmann’s . Our website is
At present, I am a board member for several organizations, including The Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market, The Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association, and ACIDF (Alberta Crop Industry Development Fund). Throughout the many years of my farming career I have actively participated at all levels of industry, be it boards, commissions or grower associations.

Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark became President of Kitchen Partners in January 2005 to lead the transformation and growth of the compant. Prior to joining Kitchen Partners, Jeff held executive positions at Labatt Breweries in Canada, USA and South America. In addition to Labatt, he has held senior management positions with MapleLeaf Foods, The Irving Group of Companies and Acklands Grainer.

Since joining Kitchen Partners, the company has transformed and grown rapidly. Kitchen Partners' success comes from three key areas of focus- people, products and partnerships. Jeff is passionate about people and workplace culture. He strongly believes that a great team with skills, knowledge and enthusiasm can accomplish amazing things together. Kitchen Partners has become a place where employees are highl engaged and are passionate about the products they produce for their customers.

Jorge Gonzalez

Entrepreneur Strategist

Jorge provides strategic advice to clients regarding business model conception and business planning. Jorge also provides support with the start-up process, understanding regulatory aspects, and International expansion strategies.

Noorudin Jiwani

Jimmy Shewchuk

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