Editor’s Note: Aateka Rajab is a grant consultant in Canada with RDP Associates, an international innovation funding organization headquartered in Canada. Here she lays out the available grants for agrifood startups in Canada.
The government of Canada has a strategic approach to the agriculture and agrifood industries. Currently, Ottawa is investing C$3 billion over a five-year period through federal and federal-provincial/territorial initiatives. They will be available until March 2023. One billion dollars of federally funded programs are available to non-profit and for-profit agricultural businesses with a focus on trade growth, market expansion, innovation and sustainable growth, diversity, public trust, and collaboration. The remaining C$2 billion is allocated in a 60:40 partnership between the federal government and provinces as detailed further below.
The following federal programs focus on innovation, marketing, and science:
Agri-Innovate: It is a C$128 million program that offers a maximum of $10 million for companies developing, commercializing or adopting innovative technologies or processes for increased productivity, development of world-leading precision agriculture, and expanding to export markets.
Agri-Marketing: It is a C$121 million program that offers C$50,000 annually for projects that increase and diversify exports through industry-led promotional activities. Including, but not limited to, marketing and advertising, trade seminars, and food service promotions.
Agri-Science: This C$338 million program offers a maximum of C$5 million to companies to help them accelerate the pace of innovation by investing in cutting-edge research. Key funding areas are: knowledge transfer activities for value-added transformation, pre-commercialization research, or discovery and applied science for agricultural productivity.
The Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP) Program: This is a Canada-wide C$2 billion dollar 60:40 partnership between the federal government and provinces/territories, including Quebec. It is aimed at enhancing the agriculture sector. Each province/territory is administering the program so that the program streams reflect regional priorities. Each province will have streams that fall under the following themes: Science research and innovation, environmental sustainability and climate change, value-added agriculture and agri-food processing, market growth and trade expansion, public trust, and risk management. Currently, all provinces and territories have bilateral agreements, but not all CAP programs have been activated at this time. The following provinces have their own open streams:
Currently, the province has a C$406 million investment with 15 programs that will be phased out from spring to fall 2018. The open streams in this program are market growth, public trust, environmental sustainability, and climate change.
This program is focused on innovation, market development, food safety, and environmental sustainability. At present, this program has rolling deadlines for open calls while the remaining streams will open this Fall (2018).
Ag Action Manitoba is a C$176 million program consolidated with CAP that offers farmers, processors, researchers and industry service providers with numerous funding streams. All streams are currently open with variable deadlines, while few streams including market development accept applications continuously.
This provincial program has opened all of the streams under its umbrella which includes over 20 streams. This increases the opportunity to receive funding for agri-clients. The largest stream available is the Advanced Agri-food Processing, which offers C$100,000 to those businesses that undertake product development activities.
This program has open calls throughout the year, whereby all the streams open and close within a three-week period. The largest program available is the C$250,000 technology and equipment to improve labour productivity. The latter offers funding to implement novel technological and equipment upgrades.
Prince Edward Island
This CAP program is similar to the Growing Forward 2 Program with many small streams and added activities to promote food security and environmental sustainability. The most lucrative stream the province offers is the agriculture research and innovation program that C$40,000 to C$80,000 under the applied research sub-program.
This C$388 million program offers significant investments in the research and value-added agri-food processing streams. Almost all of the streams have open calls, fall deadlines for spring projects, and the largest stream available is the agriculture development fund, which previously funded over C$7 million to support a sustainable agriculture solution for emerging problems.
If you operate an agricultural business in any of these provinces, we strongly recommend that you look into the many opportunities available to fund your growth. Our experienced grant consultants are available to guide you through the processes required to obtain funding.