Meet Alexis Dempsey: Program Coordinator
Alexis supports the delivery of the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) Commercialization Stream – a regional funding program offered through OMAFRA. Alexis oversees program reporting, spanning application and evaluation to tracking project milestones. She has supported the program’s successful launch back in September 2021 and is looking forward to working one-on-one with awarded applicants at the beginning of 2022.
Her Master’s studies in human health and nutritional sciences exposed her to regulatory affairs and program development, and as a life-long learner, she draws inspiration from seeing innovative ideas rise to meet industry and consumer needs. And her experience coordinating educational and marketing programs within the pharmaceutical and healthcare fields makes her well suited to support the OAFRI program’s success in Ontario.
Location: Guelph, ON
How would you describe yourself in three words?
I am quiet, personable and optimistic.
What is your connection to food and/or agriculture?
I have always been interested in food and its impact on the human body, so I chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Sciences. I continued on to complete my Master’s in Human Health and Nutritional Sciences and was pleasantly surprised by the shift away from nutrition in clinical situations to a stronger focus on regulatory affairs and product development in the nutrition and nutraceutical fields.
Agriculture, on the other hand, is newer to me regarding current research and innovation in the sector. However, working with Bioenterprise (and our network of Innovation Advisors, funding awardees and members) has been an amazing opportunity to learn more about the sector and its respective strengths and challenges.
What was your first job?
My first job was at a hair salon a couple blocks from my house. I would go in on Saturdays and clean for the day.
What is your favourite part about working at Bioenterprise?
Meeting new people and hearing about their companies and/or ideas! I love hearing about all the niche target markets and how different individuals and companies are working to meet otherwise unmet consumer and industry needs.
Have any pets?
I have two kittens – Mina and Penny. They’re sisters and they’re crazy balls of energy!
You’re allowed a max of 5 ingredients to make a smoothie. What are you including in it and why?
- Milk (or some sort of liquid) to ensure the smoothie mixes and has a liquid consistency.
- Spinach to help me get more leafy greens in my diet. Growing up on spinach salads every night with dinner turned me off eating raw spinach, but I know spinach is good for my health, so I add it to my smoothies to sneak it into my diet.
- Hemp hearts or peanut butter because I love the nutty taste it gives my smoothies, plus the fat improves absorption of the Vitamin A found in spinach (I have to put my nutrition degrees to use somehow!)
- Banana for sweetness! I can’t remember the last time I’ve made a smoothie without adding a banana, it’s such an easy ingredient to add when you want to boost the sweetness.
- Any other fruit for added sweetness (I have a bit of a sweet tooth!)
What is one thing every entrepreneur should know about funding programs?
That they’re worth inquiring about/applying for. Sometimes the time it takes to reach out or fill out an application may feel daunting, but that effort could be quite worth it if it means receiving funding to help grow your business! Plus, the worst that can happen is finding out you didn’t receive the funding.
The benefits of being part of the Engine
Accelerating innovation through our national and global network
Bioenterprise brings together key players in the food and agri-tech ecosystem to support start-ups in their journey from market entry to global expansion. We are committed to connecting entrepreneurs to a network of industry leaders, researchers, government stakeholders and critical service providers to help ensure their success.