Home » What’s New

Candice Appleby: BCBusiness 2021 Women of the Year
runner-up non-profit category

SSFPA Executive Director, Candice Appleby, was recently named BCBusiness 2021 Women of the Year non profit leader runner-up in recognition of her impactful leadership of SSFPA:

Candice Appleby got an early start as an entrepreneur. At 15 in her hometown of Regina, she earned a real estate licence so she could fill in for her realtor dad. Appleby owned a car detailing shop, a music store and a fishing resort before taking over the two-year-old Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA) in 2004. The food business and its regulations are complex, Appleby notes. “I find the food system as a whole really similar to jazz, especially if you use all 10 fingers,” the musician says with a laugh. The Nanaimo-based SSFPA, which aims to be Canada’s top support organization for small and medium-sized food processors, helps them navigate that minefield. Its 350-plus members have access to a variety of food safety and other educational programs, plus help with marketing, networking and advocacy. Because the SSFPA has a small budget, it operates through partnerships, Appleby explains. One such effort is its food safety programs, which meet international standards. Another alliance launched the Foodmetrics Community Food Analysis Lab, where processors and growers can do the testing they need to sell at grocery chains and to export, in Courtenay in 2018. “It’s food safety and those requirements—industry requirements much more so than government—that dictate access to markets,” Appleby says.When COVID struck, the SSFPA noticed that many government supports left small food processors behind. So it joined forces with a member to create the Food Business Refresh program, which has seen several participants pivot and enhance their operations. Appleby served on the advisory committee for the provincial government’s Buy BC, Feed BC and Grow BC marketing campaigns, as well as for its Food Hub Network. “I see huge upside in B.C.,” she says of her industry. “Together we’re strong.”


Developed by the Small Scale Food Processor Association, the Refresh program is designed to help rejuvenate food processing businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.
Eligible participants receive guided, hands-on support, tailored to your company’s situation and objectives. The program helps you to:

  • Analyze options to pivot your business

  • Develop an implementation plan so your business can take advantage of new opportunities

  • PLUS, access funding options and support to implement your plan so that you can be successful for the long-term.

For all program details and to apply, visit the website. Please also share with any other businesses you think might benefit from the Refresh program.

Enjoy these Food Business Refresh videos:

This program was developed with the support of the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture.

refresh layout bc ssfpa

Refresh Program Helping Small B.C. Food Businesses

Small B.C. food businesses are accessing customized training, coaching, business planning and implementation support through the Food Business Refresh Program, and the results are being served in communities across British Columbia. Here are some of their stories.

In partnership with the Small-Scale Food Processing Association and Western Economic Diversification Canada, the Food Business Refresh Program is a $650,000 cost-shared program helping local businesses find new opportunities and pivot from markets disrupted by COVID-19.

Launched in October 2020, the program helps participants access mentorship services like business coaching and food industry expertise, along with implementation support to help small businesses adapt to the changing conditions of the pandemic.

Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, said, “Throughout the pandemic, farmers, fishers and food and beverage processors have shown incredible resilience by adapting their businesses to keep communities fed, employed and safe. I’m proud of the local success stories we’re seeing through the Food Business Refresh Program as businesses develop new ways for people to enjoy made-in-B.C. food that helps strengthen our food security and our local economies.”

This funding is part of B.C.is $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan that protects people’s health and livelihoods while supporting and livelihoods while supporting businesses and communities.

For more information about the Food Business Refresh Program, visit: https://www.foodbusinessrefresh.ca/

For more information about StrongerBC, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/