Cookup co FoundersCOOK-UP Inc co-founders Delna Buhariwalla and Trishauna Linton with COOK-UP Launch Coach Trevor Ramieri outside The Accelerator. Photo by Accelerator Member Mychailo Kovaliv

Accelerator members Delna Buhariwalla and Trishauna Linton are recipients of non-repayable funding through the Investment Readiness Program (IRP). Their business, COOK-UP Inc, is one of 10 social purpose organizations to receive the grant on Wednesday, August 19.

The IRP is part of a new federal initiative. This program aims to support groups who are tackling pressing issues (cultural, social, and environmental) within the community. Over the next 10 years it will provide nearly $8 billion in funding.

In Windsor Essex, Lambton and Kent counties, funding is awarded through the Windsor Essex Community Foundation. The first round of grants saw over 30 applications. The foundation awarded a total of $190,000. COOK-UP received $15,000.

COOK-UP joined The Accelerator in 2019. The social enterprise aims to serve marginalized community members. Working primarily with women of colour, they help clients launch food-based businesses.

Buhariwalla and Linton have big plans for their funding. Among them are building a kitchen within The Accelerator building.

“We’re focused on building a physical hub that will offer clients access to a commercial kitchen and storage space,” says Buhariwalla. “This is a key step towards sustainable growth, not only for COOK-UP, but also for our clients. The IRP funds will allow us to take a solid step towards realizing our vision.”

The money is also ear-marked for business development and impact measurement consulting services.

“We're so grateful for the IRP grant from the WindsorEssex Community Foundation. To know that the committee saw the value of our work and decided to trust us with the grant means a lot. We're committed to ensuring that every dollar creates exponential positive growth."