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Navigate Day Nine-Eleven

Our Navigate participants flew to Las Vegas to attend the Supply Side West Conference SupplySide Network.

The purpose of the Navigate program is to introduce global innovators to the local ecosystem so they can assess the fit for their potential expansion. We believe basing business in Saskatchewan offers an incredible opportunity to access the North American market, so we wanted to give the program participants a taste of the potential customers, competitors, and industry partners. To achieve this, we headed to the Supply Side West Expo in Las Vegas, an enormous food industry trade show that brings together ingredient buyers and suppliers for food products, dietary supplements, beverages, personal care and sports nutrition products to network and gain insights.

During the 2-day expo, the program participants took turns exploring the show exhibits and hosting our Navigate booth. The show floor was over 870000 sqft and housed nearly 1500 exhibitor booths, ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations. The Navigate group seized the opportunity to scope out competitors, meet potential customers and collaborators and make in-person connections with large brands. Luckily there was no shortage of samples available to keep everyone nourished and energized during the long days of walking the show. Apparently 2023 is the year of the gummy!

At the Navigate booth, the program members presented their products and innovative processes to show attendees. It was a great pleasure to watch them share their passion and brilliance. Many of the booth visitors weren’t familiar with precision fermentation or cell culture production and were clearly fascinated by the technology and intrigued by the prospect of valourizing waste streams and enhancing the sustainability of traditional crops.

An unintended benefit of attending the expo was that the Navigate participants got to see a strong showing of Saskatchewan companies thriving in the trade environment. There were a few familiar faces from our program itinerary Benjamin Kelly, Shannon Hood-Niefer, PhD, MBA , Shannon Sears Angela Krauss; Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership hosted a pavilion showcasing a number of exciting SK companies; and there were several more local booths visited and contacts made. This presence emphasized the caliber of innovative businesses based here in the province, and reinforced our participants’ observation that the Saskatchewan community is welcoming, collaborative and everywhere!

Business Professionals With A Concentration On:

  • Research & Development

  • Product Development

  • QA/QC

  • Purchasing

  • Supply Chain Management

  • Marketing

  • Processing Innovation

From The Following Health & Nutrition Industries:

  • Dietary Supplement

  • Food and Beverage

  • Sports Nutrition

  • Personal Care

Looking To Make Professional Connections With:

  • Food & Beverage Ingredient Suppliers

  • Supplement Ingredient Suppliers

  • Contract Manufacturers

  • Flavor & Fragrance Suppliers

  • Equipment & Machinery Companies

  • Packaging & Labeling Suppliers

  • Lab Testing & Analytical Firms

  • Wholesalers, Distributors & Brokers

  • Legal/ Regulatory

After a jam-packed itinerary of program events in Saskatoon and two bustling days at the Supply Side West Expo, we concluded our time together with a lower-key adventure. We took advantage of Las Vegas’s close proximity to one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World by joining a bus tour to the Grand Canyon.

Our group visited Grand Canyon West, located on the Hualapai Reservation at the west rim of the canyon. Our first stop was Eagle Point, where we braved the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge extending 70 feet out over the rim of the Grand Canyon, giving a breathtaking view of the surrounding rock formations, including the mile-long drop to the Canyon floor below. There’s no bonding experience quite like the thrill of stepping out on glass thousands of feet in the air!

The second stop on the tour was Guano Point, named for a valuable commodity mined from the canyon in the 1960s and 1970s. The hiking trail showcased stunning 360-degree views, and lead to the remnants of a historic tram that once stretched 8,800 feet across the canyon. For more than 20 years, daring miners rode the aerial tramway across the river, spanning 7,500 feet with a vertical lift of 2,500 feet, to extract nitrogen-rich guano (bat poop) used for crop fertilizer. The dizzying view of the prior extraction route was a powerful reminder of the risk and expense invested to improve food production. Development of the Haber-Bosch process made chemical fertilizer readily available and affordable, essentially eliminating the need to rely on guano. The dilapidated tram house still stands, and provides a visual reminder that innovation has always been key to making food production safer and more sustainable.

I wasn’t expecting the Grand Canyon to relate to food technology, but touring this particular site in the company of some of the world’s most promising food innovators makes me genuinely optimistic for the future of our food system.

Visiting one of North America’s “bucket-list" landscapes was a memorable way to celebrate the group’s achievements, cement the relationships formed, and to thank each participant for the time and effort they invested in the Navigate program. We are truly grateful for all they have shared with us and can’t wait to see what comes next!

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