Charitable Choices: Stella Antonio of Venturepark Labs

In an exclusive interview, Stella Antonio, General Manager of Venturepark Labs, sheds light on the nonprofit’s mission and impact. Venturepark Labs serves as a dynamic ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship in the consumer-packaged goods (CPG) industry. Offering resources, mentorship, and functional infrastructure, the organization empowers entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into reality, from concept to commercialization. By bridging gaps and providing clarity, Venturepark Labs supports individuals passionate about the food industry, enabling them to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship.

Venturepark Labs


Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences

Venturepark Labs is a nonprofit consumer-packaged goods ecosystem or dynamic hub for innovation and entrepreneurship that provides resources, mentorship, and also a functional infrastructure needed to turn entrepreneurs’ ideas into reality. “From idea to commercialization.”

What problem does it aim to solve?

Venturepark Labs supports entrepreneurs in the CPG industry with resources, mentorship, networking, and a manufacturing facility in North York, Ontario. We are bridging the gap and providing clarity for individuals who are passionate about the food industry and who dream of turning their ideas into reality!

When did you join Venturepark Labs?

It was in March 2022

What was the situation like when you started?

The space was recovering from the post-COVID aftermath. We witnessed an influx of entrepreneurs with a variety of needs. Some entrepreneurs had no background in food or manufacturing, while others required a commercial kitchen to produce or expand into commercialization. Additionally, we encountered entrepreneurs who needed space to scale their businesses. It’s an exciting environment to be in, as we met entrepreneurs at various stages of their journey.

How has it changed since?

As entrepreneurs scale, their needs evolve, and our company has been able to pivot and evolve accordingly. From our kitchen incubator that supports businesses’ production, after they transition into our facility, we’ve witnessed significant growth among the entrepreneurs. Some of them started from a home kitchen and now their products can be found in major retailers, as well as in popular pop-ups throughout the city, festivals, markets, and more. Additionally, we offer programming that supports them with tailored resources, mentorship, and networking in the CPG industry.

What more needs to be done?

Just as our CEO, Arlene Dickinson, emphasized: “With all the focus of investment on tech, don’t forget to feed the businesses that feed us.” Therefore, investing more in consumer-packaged goods and supporting local products is something that needs to be prioritized and promoted further.

How can our readers help?

Shop local brands! They need it more than ever!

Do you have any events coming up?

We have our annual Parks and Rec event coming up in May! It’s an event held in our facility where entrepreneurs from our community, at all stages of development, will have the opportunity to showcase their products and connect with investors, fellow entrepreneurs, and CPG leaders.

Where can we follow you?

Website | LinkedIn | InstagramYouTubeTiktokFacebook

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?

In challenging times like today, Second Harvest stands out as one of the awesome local charities and organizations that I admire. Their work as a local charity is exemplary, providing vital support to Canadians facing hunger. They ensure that food reaches the most vulnerable members of communities across Canada, while also offering a convenient way for those who wish to donate. Their dedication really inspires me to make a difference.


About Emilea Semancik 100 Articles
Emilea Semancik was born in North Vancouver. Emilea has always always wanted to freelance her own pieces and currently writes for the Vancouver Guardian. She is also a recipe author working towards publishing her own series of recipe books. You can find her recipes on Instagram. @ancestral.foods