Congratulations to Innovation Guelph clients Be Seen Be Safe Ltd. and Katan Kitchens! The Guelph-based businesses were two of six recipients from Waterloo-Wellington to receive the 2016 Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence, and were honoured at a ceremony hosted by Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph on November 9, 2016.

The companies were recognized for their contributions to boosting economic growth in Ontario by creating new products that support job creation, adding value to existing products, supporting a sustainable environment, and supporting the province’s efforts to double the growth rate of the agri-food sector.

“Innovative businesses like these show us just how dynamic our agri-food sector is in this region and across the province,” said Liz Sandals, MPP Guelph.

Established in 2012, Be Seen Be Safe Ltd. is a farm biosecurity and disease management platform that leverages GPS technology to create virtual borders around farms. When feed suppliers, veterinarians and other regular visitors cross the “geofence,” an app on their smartphone generates an automatic entry into the virtual visitor log. Should an outbreak occur, the system sends an alert to other farms and service providers in the area. Producers in Canada and around the world are adopting the system, making it faster and easier to respond to outbreaks of dangerous diseases.

MPP Guelph Liz Sandals with Be Seen Be Safe's Joel Sotomayer

Liz Sandals, MPP Guelph, with Be Seen Be Safe’s Joel Sotomayer

“Tim Nelson,

[founder and CEO of Be Seen Be Safe Ltd.], has been spectacular at executing pilot programs with customers to implement and use this very new, breakthrough technology to combat livestock diseases,” said Steve Barrett, the Innovation Guelph mentor who has been working with the company since 2015. “Tim  has overcome industry skepticism, and has been very resourceful at bootstrapping the business. He’s incredibly coachable and implement recommendations quickly – this commitment will continue to pay off.”

An IG client since 2012, Jamie Draves formed Katan Kitchens after a health crisis in 2007 that resulted in the loss of a third of his pancreas. Realizing the use of high quality foods for improved health drove Jamie’s passion and pursuit to form Katan Kitchens and to commercialize Quinta Quinoa, a high nutritional quality and purity quinoa that is grown and processed in Canada. Through five years of rigorous research, Katan has developed and refined a non-GMO quinoa seed suited to Ontario’s soil, climate and farming practices. It’s the first variety to be commercialized in the province and boasts higher levels of protein, iron, magnesium, fibre and zinc than its South American counterpart. With the product currently available online, at local trade shows and in health food stores, Katan is ramping up production of the profitable crop, expanding into other provinces and constructing a processing facility to keep up with demand.

katan kitchens founder jamie draves with Liz Sandals, MPP Guelph

Liz Sandals, MPP Guelph, with Katan Kitchens founder Jamie Draves

“Jamie has an incredibly strong personal character, and has weathered the storms that come with being an early-stage company,” says Barrett, who has provided business mentorship to Katan Kitchens through IG since 2012. “He’s also been open to the tools and programs in Ontario that nurture the agri-tech startup community. It’s been remarkable to watch Katan grow and continue to innovate over the past 4 years.”

Innovation Guelph is proud to provide business mentorship to these local agri-food innovators, and looks forward to their continued development.

More on the Premier’s Awards:

With files from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Photos courtesy of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs