Case Study: Dairy Farmers of Ontario

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Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) is owned and operated by Ontario's dairy farms. DFO is responsible for providing leadership in the production of Canadian milk and dairy products. DFO ensures “A dynamic profitable growing Canadian dairy industry.”

The challenge: Dairy Farmers of Ontario had many small niche dairy entrepreneurs who were looking for help in developing and marketing their products for sale in Ontario.

Pollinate Approach

  • Assessed the needs of all project stakeholders, including DFO, dairy entrepreneurs and dairy processors.
  • In response to the needs assessment, Pollinate developed — and continues to deliver and manage — the Start Up & Scale Up Innovation Programs.
  • The program includes opportunities for dairy entrepreneurs to be mentored by industry specialists.
  • Specialized matching connects entrepreneurs with industry experts and stakeholders to build their capacity and networks.
  • Progress is tracked on the Pollinate Platform.
  • Success of the program is measured based on net new milk sales, new products and other metrics.

Pollinate Approach

  • Assessed the needs of all project stakeholders, including DFO, dairy entrepreneurs and dairy processors.
  • In response to the needs assessment, Pollinate developed — and continues to deliver and manage — the Start Up & Scale Up Innovation Programs.
  • The program includes opportunities for dairy entrepreneurs to be mentored by industry specialists.
  • Specialized matching connects entrepreneurs with industry experts and stakeholders to build their capacity and networks.
  • Progress is tracked on the Pollinate Platform.
  • Success of the program is measured based on net new milk sales, new products and other metrics.

Results

  • The program has served 65 participants to date: 34 participants are currently working on projects.
  • 10 participants have graduated from the programs and have each received a $10,000 Scale Up Program grant to advance their initiatives.
  • The programs have grown the ecosystem network, creating an estimated 445 valuable and productive relationships between participants, mentors/industry specialists (in business development, equipment sourcing, marketing, engineering and formulation) as well as other ecosystem stakeholders and incubators.
  • Additional funding sources have been identified for entrepreneurs (venture capital, provincial and federal governments programs).

Results

  • The program has served 65 participants to date: 34 participants are currently working on projects.
  • 10 participants have graduated from the programs and have each received a $10,000 Scale Up Program grant to advance their initiatives.
  • The programs have grown the ecosystem network, creating an estimated 445 valuable and productive relationships between participants, mentors/industry specialists (in business development, equipment sourcing, marketing, engineering and formulation) as well as other ecosystem stakeholders and incubators.
  • Additional funding sources have been identified for entrepreneurs (venture capital, provincial and federal governments programs).

Highlights

Milk volume increased by 1.4M litres/yr for 4 processors with lowest starting volume

445 ecosystem connections between participants, industry specialists and other stakeholders

3 new grass-fed products in market, including net new sales of 5.8 tons of grass-fed butter

CLIENT TESTIMONIAL

DFO has taken an active role in supporting the entrepreneurial efforts of many dairy processors, including on-farm processors that have decided to vertically integrate. Through our Start-Up/Scale-Up platform in collaboration with Pollinate we have been able to provide guidance, mentorship and grants to many participants in the program, tracking our progress and results to support the sustainability and growth of the Ontario Dairy Industry. 

— Alan Grebinski, Director, Business Development, Dairy Farmers of Ontario

“[Since receiving Scale Up Program support to switch from imported butter oil to domestic cream] we have had great success with the quality of our products. Our customers are very happy to see the blue cow now on our labels & again the quality of our products is incomparable from before the switch!”

— Central Smith Creamery

“We were able to complete our logo, sell sheets, business cards, product labels and website with the Scale Up Program funding. All our content is top notch, we love the look and feel of our brand and everyone who sees it loves it too.”

— Sargent Family Dairy

“The support we have received has had a positive and effective impact on ADM Dairy, helping us think strategically in different ways for success. I am especially grateful for help with our business model and marketing.”

— ADM Dairy Inc.

“All the big store chains want exact weight wedges and thanks to the exact weight cutting machine and the packaging machine [purchased with support from the Scale Up Program] we are able to produce the exact weight wedges."

— Stonetown Artisan Cheese Ltd.

DFO’s Start Up & Scale Up Innovation Programs have helped support the success and launch of over 25 dairy brands since 2017:
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