Windsor is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Canada. In fact, 80,000 immigrants call Windsor home. But of his number, 20% are unemployed. The lack of employment opportunities for newcomers is a sobering reality faced by many individuals who moved there to build a better life for themselves and their families. The Enactus team from the University of Windsor knew they had to act. They chose to centre their eﬀorts around food because they believed food brings people from all backgrounds together, enabling people to connect with one another over a common passion. Blending their passion for food and entrepreneurship, the team launched CookStart Inc.
CookStart Inc. is a social enterprise that addresses unemployment within the immigrant population in Windsor by building new food businesses and creating jobs. The program is divided into two parts. First, through one-on-one mentorship and group classes, participants learn about planning and budgeting, culinary skills, and how to develop a business and marketing plan, which they can use to eventually launch their own food business. The second part of CookStart is CookStart Soup, a social enterprise that manufactures dry soup mixes to be sold in local grocery stores, and currently employs two women.
This year alone, 12 new food businesses were created, enabling the creation of 12 jobs and generating $95,000 in revenue. CookStart soup mixes are currently sold in 12 stores and a regional expansion is planned for the upcoming year.