Note: This article was originally published on January 11, 2014. We’ve re-published it with updated information. Enjoy!
As we love reminding entrepreneurs, approximately 80% of Canada’s businesses are family businesses. And they’re not all small business, either. Take, for instance, the Ganong family, founders of Canada’s oldest candy company.
Ganong was started in 1873 by brothers James and Gilbert Ganong in St. Stephen, NB. Together, they opened a grocery business which grew to include a bakery and confectionery. They even tried selling oysters, and manufacturing their own brand of soap. But it was their chocolate that became the most sought-after aspect of their business, and Ganong as we know it was born.
One reason Ganong is still around, in our opinion, is their long history of innovation. Some of the newfangled inventions pioneered by the company include:
Wrapped chocolate bars (initially invented to bring along on fishing trips)
The first Canadian lollipop
North America’s first chocolate nut bar
Heart-shaped chocolate boxes (first introduced at Christmastime)
Pureed fruit as a candy ingredient
Giving the market new and innovative solutions to their needs is just one aspect of the company’s success. They have also maintained the family tradition through the generations. Members of the Ganong family are still involved in the highest levels of the family business – in roles such as President and CEO, VP Sales and Development, and Executive Vice Chair.
By the way, the business is still headquartered in St. Stephen – at the appropriate address of One Chocolate Drive!
At GoForth Institute, we love innovation in small business. That’s why we were excited to learn about the Government of Canada’s new program – the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP). This $40 million program helps Canadian entrepreneurs test their innovative product or service within the government before going to market. As one of the largest buyers in Canada, the government is a great proving ground for an innovative product or service.
The CICP helps entrepreneurs operating in four key areas: environment; safety and security; health; and enabling technologies.
Here are the services the CICP offers to Canadian entrepreneurs:
Helping showcase their innovation to potential government buyers at events across Canada;
Enabling a procurement process for awarding government contracts;
Testing and providing feedback on their products or services before going to market; and
Providing education on how to do business with the federal government.
Are you a Canadian entrepreneur with an innovative new product or service? Visit the CICP’s website to find out how they can help!