Canada’s agriculture and agri-food processing sectors are in the midst of an industrial revolution. Technologies are transforming the industry by enhancing capabilities and productivity; companies committed to investing in the development and adoption of innovative products, processes and services will grow during this time, while those who do not will have diminished profits.
Fortunately, Canadian government funding programs such as AgriInnovate can support the costs of innovative technology-based projects. AgriInnovate is specifically designed to help businesses commercialize and/or adopt innovative agri-based products, technologies, processes or services. It offers 0% interest non-secured loans with a repayment period of up to 10 years starting once a project is complete. This helps agriculture and agri-food businesses invest in new technologies more often and with less impact on cash flow.
Through the AgriInnovate Program, Canadian agriculture and agri-food businesses may receive up to 50% of project expenses to a maximum $10 million in repayable funding.
To access AgriInnovate funding, agricultural producers and processors must complete a two-phase application process, including pre-screening and submitting a full application. Applications can be submitted at any time and will continue to be accepted until March 31, 2023 or until the program’s funds have been fully committed.
AgriInnovate Funding for Agriculture Technology Projects
The AgriInnovate Program provides Canadian government funding to help agri-sector businesses demonstrate/commercialize (or adopt) innovative products, technologies, processes or services. By offsetting a portion of eligible project costs, companies can invest more into innovations that increase agri-sector competitiveness and sustainability.
Companies accessing AgriInnovate funding may receive repayable funding of up to 50% of eligible project costs to a maximum $10 million.
AgriInnovate is offered through the federal government’s Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), a 5-year framework that offers funding to agri-food producers and processors. It offers funding through an unsecured 0% interest loan, meaning companies will not accrue interest on the funding but will have to repay the contribution after the project has concluded. Recipients of the fund may repay contributions over a period of up to 10 years following a successful project.
Businesses Eligible for AgriInnovate Funding
To participate in the AgriInnovate Program, applicants must be a for-profit organization, including:
- Businesses and/or corporations;
- Co-operatives; and
- Indigenous corporations and co-operatives.
AgriInnovate Program: Project Eligibility
The AgriInnovate Program prioritizes applicants that demonstrate/commercialize an innovation new to the sector or country. Once new innovations have been considered, the fund will then prioritize:
- Adoption of clean technologies, including precision agriculture;
- Advanced manufacturing, automation and robotics;
- Projects strengthening value-added products/services; and
- Projects securing/expanding export markets.
How Agricultural Innovation is Defined
Only projects involving highly-innovative products, technologies, processes and services will be considered for funding support. As it relates to the AgriInnovate Program, innovation is:
- An invention or new technology, process or service that is not currently available in the market;
- Significant changes to the application of existing technologies, processes or services that are applied in an environment where current applications aren’t possible or feasible; and
- Improvement to an existing technology, process or service that represents a significant (typically patentable) improvement in functionality, cost or performance.
How to Apply for the AgriInnovate Program
To access AgriInnovate agricultural funding, eligible businesses must complete a two-phase application process that includes a:
- Pre-Screening Eligibility Assessment; and
- Full Application.
Companies should apply for AgriInnovate funding approximately 4 months ahead of project start dates to accommodate for the review process. Furthermore, applicants must complete proposed projects by March 31, 2023, when the program ends.
AgriInnovate Application Assessment Criteria
During the review process, applications will be assessed by evaluating four key criteria:
- Level of Innovation: Is the technology already established, or is it cutting-edge with the potential of revolutionizing products, processes and services?
- Technical Feasibility: Is the innovation ready for the next stage of commercial development?
- Market Orientation: How would the innovation improve domestic and/or international agri-food performance?
- Applicant Capability: Overall capacity to lead the project, including sound project management, historic financial stability, and ability to secure other project funding not provided through AgriInnovate.
To discuss whether your business is eligible for the AgriInnovate Program, or to learn how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.
This post originally appeared on Mentor Works. Mentor Works helps established for-profit companies find and leverage Canadian business grants and loans.