Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – Why is collaboration so important? Collaboration helps people connect, problem-solve, and achieve a shared goal.

For the Canadian Food Innovation Network, collaboration is at the heart of what it does. Just ask Hubba Khatoon, regional innovation director for the Prairies at the CFIN and a featured speaker at the AWC West 2024 conference. A champion of collaborative food innovation, Khatoon says the non-profit organization came into being after recognizing a gap between all those companies working within the food space. There was innovation but little funding, silos instead of connectivity.

“Our purpose is to connect these companies, bring them together, and to make those great, incredible innovations happen,” says Khatoon.

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Khatoon started her career in the economic development world, not the food world. She worked as an economist with the research and strategy team at Calgary Economic Development. She worked on projects ranging from agri-food to tech. The insights gleaned from her work and the tech innovations she witnessed within the food space led her to the CFIN where she fosters and helps fund collaborative projects and initiatives.

“There’s so much potential there. We’re working with companies exclusively in the tech space or exclusively focused on blockchain, AI, and data analytics that have great applications in the food sector. Or, we’ll work with food scientists that have great ideas around novel products they can make that have a massive impact on the way we enjoy, consume and distribute our food.”

Khatoon’s dedication to innovation and collaboration, particularly among startups and SMEs, underscores her ability to drive change in the Canadian food sector. At the AWC West conference, Khatoon will host a workshop that guides participants through the challenges and solutions in the Canadian food innovation landscape, emphasizing collaboration and connectivity. She’ll also elaborate on funding opportunities provided by CFIN.

“We’ve got everything here to help companies grow in the food space,” she says. “All you have to do is bring a good idea, have the willingness to act on it, and have the right ecosystem for support, which we can help connect you with, as well.”

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This will be Kahtoon’s first time at AWC. She’s excited to connect with the women attending.

“I think there’s so much I can learn from them and so much we can provide them through the Canadian Food Innovation Network. From connectivity to finding their career to finding funding, there are so many cool things happening. So if you’re in that space, or excited to be in that space and still learning, you know where you have to go.”

Learn more about her workshop by visiting the AWC West 2024 website.



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