Alida Burke – Co-Founder and COO of The Growcer

After seeing Alida on the Invest Ottawa F Factor: Fueling Female Founders Panel, I knew I wanted to interview her.

Alida is the Co-Founder and COO of The Growcer. The Growcer manufactures modular plug-and-play hydroponic systems to enable food production in remote communities and operations. The company aims to empower communities to take control of their food systems by enabling local food production.

Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance to date and what did you learn/are you learning?

Alida:

It’s definitely a challenge to balance managing the company’s finances while also ensuring everything else is running smoothly!

The accounting of the company’s finances is undoubtedly really important in order to understand cash flow, create financial projections, and to secure external financing; but, it can be quite easy to fall behind and be unprepared when someone asks for it!  I think that has been one of the hardest things – it’s still a challenge but I’ve learned that developing financial processes is key, having the support of external accounting and finance experts is very valuable and taking advantage of various software to support the processes helps as well!

Paolina: What programs and resources have you been using to support getting access to capital and funding for your company?

Alida:

We have been able to use many programs and resources for The Growcer. We have been able to work with BDC, RBC, and Futurpreneur and have had great experiences with them. We have also taken advantage of programs for young entrepreneurs, social enterprises, and agriculture-specific programming through grants from the federal government and other sources. It can take some searching to find and apply to but they have supported our company’s growth.

Paolina: What has your experience been like going through the Invest Ottawa Accelerator program, for those that might want to apply?

Alida:

It has been a great experience – the accelerator program was what we needed to bring our company to the next level. The access to mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, work space, support was invaluable for us as we began to build The Growcer. Now, as we work to scale, they have been able to tailor their services to meet our changing needs and we really appreciate everything they have done for us. I highly recommend those in the Ottawa area who are interested to apply.

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