British Columbia’s agritech sector will benefit from the $240,000 that the winners of the Agritech Innovation Challenge will receive to develop and adopt new technology.
Launched at the Growing the Future Together – BC Agrifood and Seafood Conference in November 2016, the Agritech Innovation Challenge brings together innovators with industry to develop a product or process to enhance productivity, sustainability and resiliency of B.C.’s agrifood sector.
In December 2016, 44 innovators completed the first stage of the Agritech Innovation Challenge by submitting a Letter of Intent which outlined their proposal for addressing one of the following challenges (see backgrounder for details):
- Enhance berry competitiveness through mechanization, storage, processing, quality assurance, and breeding solutions;
- Minimize loss reductions and improve sustainable pest management;
- Enhance greenhouse efficiencies; and
- Improve nutrient recovery strategies towards value-added processing.
These submissions will now be reviewed by a panel of experts, which will decide which submission from each category will be awarded $20,000 in seed funding to help with the further development of the proposal and new technology. These winners will also receive technical, financial and marketing mentorship services from the BC Innovation Council’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence.
The support for innovation does not stop with the seed funding. The panel of experts will also decide which submissions will be invited to submit, by Feb. 1, 2017, more detailed information about their commercial-ready or late stage pilot proposal. These advanced proposals will compete for an additional $160,000 in federal-provincial government funding targeting the adoption of innovative technology. The recipients of the advanced project funding will be announced at the #BCTECH Summit in March 2017.
With agrifood as one of the largest manufacturing sectors in B.C., the development and adoption of innovative agritech solutions represent a significant opportunity for B.C. producers and processors to continue to provide British Columbians with fresh and local foods, become increasingly competitive on the world stage, be better prepared to adapt to changing climate conditions, and support tens of thousands of jobs in B.C.
The Agritech Innovation Challenge is a partnership between the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and the BC Innovation Council and the $240,000 in funding is provided through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that provides a $3-billion investment over five years in innovation, competitiveness and market development.
The #BCTECH Strategy is a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of British Columbia’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen B.C.’s diverse innovation economy. In partnership with the BC Innovation Council, the province is hosting B.C.’s second #BCTECH Summit, March 14-15, 2017, with made-in-B.C. tech innovations, thought-provoking keynotes and outstanding networking opportunities. To register or learn more, go to: bctechsummit.ca
The Agritech Innovation Challenge: agritechinnovation.ca
BC Innovation Council: www.bcic.ca
#BCTECH Strategy: www.bctechstrategy.ca
#BCTECH Summit March 14-15, 2017: bctechsummit.ca/
For more information on Growing Forward 2 programs in British Columbia, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/growing-forward-2
For more information on Growing Forward 2, visit: www.agr.gc.ca/eng/about-us/key-departmental-initiatives/growing-forward-2/?id=1294780620963
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