Whether for-profit or not-for-profit, you can receive the support to grow or begin your startup. The Hub offers U of G students and alumni funding, dedicated office space and access to experienced entrepreneurs so that you can develop a strong business model that can be rigorously tested and intelligently scaled.
Creating a made-in-Canada solution for yeast strains
One of the strengths that the Canadian craft brewing industry is built on is freshness – local ingredients give beers a more fresh and bold palate. One vital ingredient in the beer-making process, however, is typically imported from the US or Europe, making the “drink local” mantra a bit of a misnomer. For three U of G microbiology students and entrepreneurs, this is an untapped market that they’re hoping to fill.
While working on yeast and live cultures in their lab work at U of G, entrepreneurs Angus Ross and Richard Preiss were more interested in focusing on beer. It was through this mutual interest that they realized they should keep pushing their experiments to create unique yeast strains for their homebrews, eventually launching their business, Escarpment Labs.
Accelerating the business through the Hub
It was at this point that they registered for the John F. Wood Centre Hub Incubator program at the Lang School of Business and Economics. The program accelerated their business idea into reality. The duo even used the seed money from the program to purchase new lab equipment. They also found that the process of developing a business was similar to scientific processes, so they latched on to the innovation and entrepreneurial theory right away.
Soon after completing the Hub, the duo joined another Alum, Nate Ferguson. Nate is a co-founder who helped get Escarpment labs to where it is today. Five years later, the entrepreneurs employ a staff of 20 and have outgrown their current space, moving into a new location in the coming months. Each month, Escarpment Labs have over 250 craft brewing orders and over 2,000 home brewing orders.
Richard’s advice to budding entrepreneurs is that failure is inevitable, but it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. “Your idea could be the wrong idea at the wrong time.”
Escarpment Labs is an innovative company that saw a void in the market and solved a problem for many craft and homebrewers.