2020 Schulich Early Achievement Alumni Award
A message from Spencer...
Passionate about farm-to-table food, mechanical engineering graduate Spencer Kerber has put his engineering skills to use creating an online platform connecting consumers to fresh, local meat and seafood.
After graduating from the Schulich School of Engineering with a mechanical engineering degree, he became an artificial intelligence product-development consultant at IBM, building advanced analytics products for industrial process facilities.
Spencer quickly reached a crossroads, ultimately having a choice to make: take the safe road or follow his true passion. He took a leap, creating a company to connect consumers to high-quality meat products at affordable prices.
Launching Bessie Box meant taking a chance on himself and his passion. In addition, it meant a lifestyle overhaul. Spencer ventured outside of the comfort of corporate life at IBM to explore the challenge of business-to-consumer commerce.
Only three years out of school, Spencer worked endlessly to take a concept he believed in and create a successful start-up. This meant market research, meeting with local farmers, finding investors and developing the tools needed to succeed.
Spencer was avidly independent in his pursuit – coding his own website, setting up automated delivery texts and delivering orders by scooter.
With the goal of building a bigger table, not a higher fence, Spencer relentlessly identified and met his challenges along the way, navigating abattoir licensing, food safety and handling and growing the company.
Today, his successful start-up is expanding from offering high-quality beef to include sashimi-quality tuna, salmon and chicken. He has two partners, employs interns with summer jobs, and is living his dream: connecting communities to local farmers so people know where their food comes from.
A successful start-up, Bessie Box is getting high-quality proteins to people’s tables at accessible prices. Spencer worked hard to find local partners, including beef producers in Wetaskiwin, poultry farmers in High River, salmon farmers in Campbell River and tuna from artisanal fishermen who use sustainable practices.