The AgriInnovate Program is a Canadian government funding initiative that helps businesses commercialize and/or adopt innovative agri-based products, technologies, processes, or services that are new to the sector. It offers 0% interest non-secured loans with repayment starting once a project is complete. This helps agriculture and agri-food businesses purchase advanced technologies now and pay back project costs once the benefits are realized.
Through the AgriInnovate Program, agri-businesses may receive up to 50% of project expenses to a maximum $10 million in repayable funding.
To meet the requirements of AgriInnovate, interested applicants must be a for-profit company and have a technology-focused project with significant capital expenses. Additional criteria apply to project and expense eligibility; these factors are discussed throughout this qualification-focused article.
AgriInnovate: Canadian Government Funding for Agriculture Technology
AgriInnovate is provided through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP), a five-year framework that delivers government funding for food and beverage companies. It offers non-secured loans with 0% interest and repayment periods of up to 10 years starting when technology demonstration/commercialization projects are complete. This is an attractive alternative to bank financing and helps companies invest in disruptive agricultural technologies.
The AgriInnovate Program supports Canadian food and beverage companies with up to $10 million in agriculture technology funding.
AgriInnovate was launched in 2018 as part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. It succeeds the former AgriInnovation Program, a government funding program provided through the previous Growing Forward 2 funding framework.
For a high-level review of the AgriInnovate Program, please read Mentor Works’ AgriInnovate Overview blog.
Business Eligibility for AgriInnovate Funding
To qualify for the AgriInnovate Program, applicants must be a for-profit organization. This includes those registered as:
- Businesses and/or corporations;
- Co-operatives; and
- Indigenous corporations and co-operatives.
Ineligible AgriInnovate Applicants
Any organization not meeting the above requirements will not be able to access AgriInnovate funding. This includes:
- Municipal governments; and
- Industry associations.
AgriInnovate: CAP Funding Project Eligibility
The AgriInnovate Program prioritizes applicants that demonstrate or commercialize an innovation that is new to the sector or country. This includes:
- Clean technologies, including precision agriculture;
- Advanced manufacturing, automation, and robotics;
- Projects securing/expanding export markets; and
- Projects strengthening value-added products/services.
Ineligible AgriInnovate Projects
Projects not suitable for AgriInnovate funding include:
- Research and development-focused projects;
- Adopting technologies that are widely available to the market; and
- Demonstrating and/or commercializing technologies that do not present significant (typically patentable) functionality improvements.
Expense Eligibility for AgriInnovate Funding
When developing an application for the AgriInnovate Program, businesses should ensure only the following eligible expenses are included for consideration:
- Capital Expenses: Renovations, site improvements, leasehold improvements, machinery, equipment, and software purchase and installation costs. Building purchases and construction are considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Contracted Services: Professional or specialized services needed to undertake eligible project activities, and costs of contracted work for compliance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012.
- Salaries/Benefits: Labour, wages/salaries, benefits, and specific per diems.
- Other Direct Project Costs: Including rental or lease of facilities, equipment or machinery, goods and services; shipping and transportation costs; construction or operating licenses and permits; project start-up costs; production of materials required to fulfill obligations under the agreement; limited marketing costs; and materials/consumables needed to undertake the project.
Ineligible AgriInnovate Expenses
Some of the most common project expenses that cannot receive support through the AgriInnovate Program include:
- Capital items not specifically required for the execution of the project;
- Any cost, such as amortization, that doesn’t result in direct, out-of-pocket expenses;
- Leased or purchased land;
- Hospitality (e.g. alcohol, meals, entertainment, gifts, etc.);
- Research and development costs;
- Costs related to regulatory compliance;
- Any cost that exceeds fair market value; and
- Any expenses not listed as eligible or otherwise approved.
Get Started with AgriInnovate Agriculture Technology Funding
To receive AgriInnovate funding, businesses must complete a two-phase application process that includes an online pre-screening eligibility assessment. If deemed eligible during this stage, companies may access and complete a full application. This includes, but is not limited to:
- A consent to disclose/copyright form;
- A business plan and corporate structure chart;
- Audited financial statements for past three years;
- Market research and/or customer letters of support;
- Articles of incorporation;
- Performance measurement criteria;
- Quotes; and
- Permits and patents.
AgriInnovate applications are accepted on a continuous basis until March 31, 2023 or until funding is depleted. Businesses should apply several months prior to their anticipated start date and receive approval prior to incurring project-related expenses. The government typically reviews applications within 100 days of submission.
To review your business or project eligibility and explore ways to optimize the AgriInnovate 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.