A young Montreal-based company that makes kosher vegan burgers is the latest recipient of pre-election largesse from the federal government.
VG Gourmet will receive $100,000 from the federal government to help it increase production and expand into new markets, Liberal MP Anthony Housefather announced on April 17.
VG Gourmet was launched in 2015 by husband-and-wife team Emmanuel Castiel and Chantal Bekhor. It now has 10 employees who make seven different plant-based burgers and other types of foods.
The company is certified by the Toronto-based Kashruth Council of Canada, which uses the COR heksher.
The funding comes from the $20-million Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund, which was created last year and is administered by the Ministry of Small Business and Export Promotion.
“I have known Chantal for several years and she and her husband have put their heart and soul into building a business that supplies delicious vegan food,” said Housefather.
“She is an incredible entrepreneur, and the full and equal participation of women in the economy is essential to Canada’s competitiveness. There are 1.2 million small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada, but only 16 per cent are owned by women.”
Bekhor said that they “are grateful to have a government that addresses the barriers women face in starting or growing a business.”
Bekhor, an elementary school teacher, had been making veggie burgers for her family for years. Her quinoa and chickpea combination was a particular favourite.
Castiel, a sales director for an international health and beauty company, suggested they start selling them. Today, VG Gourmet’s burgers – as well as its beet balls, crumbles and tofu creations – are available in over 700 retail locations across Canada.