October 12, 2023
Bioenterprise Canada Corporation is pleased to partner with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to support the delivery of the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) Commercialization Stream and the Grow Ontario Accelerator Hub. This Initiative is supported with up to $6.5 million in funding from the Governments of Canada and Ontario through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP).
The Grow Ontario Accelerator Hub will provide support to innovative companies to advance more solutions and technologies to market by providing mentoring and advisory services in agri-food business acceleration, growth planning, and investment readiness, as well as to provide supports to businesses across the agri-food supply chain with respect to adoption of innovation.
The Commercialization Stream is designed to provide Ontario’s agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sectors, including technology or equipment suppliers, access to funding to support commercialization projects with a focus on Market Validation and Product Development activities. These efforts aim to enhance competitiveness and the leadership position of Ontario in the agriculture and agri-food sectors.
The Commercialization Stream will provide funding for two project types:
Project Type A: Market Validation Grants
Conduct market research to determine the size and quality of the market opportunity for a new and promising technology, product, or service with the goal of determining if there is any market potential before more research funds are spent on the technology.
Funding Available: up to $30,000 per project
Project Type B: Product Development Grants
Create prototypes, perform field trials, remove any barriers to a market launch or private sector adoption and optimize a minimum viable product that best meets the needs of customers.
Funding Available: $50,000-$150,000 per project
Both of these programs support outcomes of the province’s Grow Ontario strategy, which aims to increase the creation and adoption of innovative technologies to enhance competitiveness, grow market opportunities and strengthen the agri-food sector against future disruptions.
“Ontario’s innovators across the agri-food value chain are important drivers behind the province’s diverse agri-food sector,” said the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Through these programs, folks can access support that will help them seize new opportunities and grow.”
“Advancing research and innovation in the agri-food sector and bringing new products and efficient processes to the market are key to achieving the goals we have set in our Grow Ontario Strategy,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This programming – as part of the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative – demonstrates our government’s commitment to research, innovation, and commercialization that will expand the production, sales, and consumption of food in this province and beyond – both today, and in the future.”
“The importance of programs such as the OAFRI Commercialization Stream cannot be understated when it comes to technology validation and market assessment. These projects and activities further de-risk new technology to encourage adoption, something Canada sorely needs in order to meet our economic and environmental potential as a world leader,” says Dave Smardon, President and CEO of Bioenterprise Canada. “Furthermore, the support of the Grow Ontario Accelerator Hub demonstrates OMAFRA’s recognition of the need for further collaboration and network structure. The Grow Ontario Accelerator Hub will ensure that businesses are continuously supported at each stage in their growth, amplifying their impact and the return on OMAFRA’s investment in the agricultural sector. We look forward to this next round of programming and the impact we know will follow.”
Applicant organizations to OAFRI may include, but are not limited to, for-profit and not-for-profit entities, government (except federal and provincial) and non-government organizations, universities and colleges, and research institutions based in Ontario. Eligible organizations must be located in Ontario, have project activities and costs that take place in Ontario, develop projects that address OMAFRA’s key research priority areas and initiative objectives, be operating in the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sector, and must have a product/technology/service that is unique to Ontario.
The intake for OAFRI formally opens Thursday, November 2nd, 2023, including a webpage with full program details, a Call for Proposals document, and information on how to apply. Keep an eye on your inbox for the intake announcement. A virtual town hall for OAFRI will be held on Tuesday, November 14th, 2023, at 2pm EST with an opportunity for Q&A with the program administrators. In the meantime, you can direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sustainable CAP is a five-year (2023-2028), $3.5-billion investment by federal-provincial and territorial governments to strengthen competitiveness, innovation, and resiliency of the agriculture, agri‐food and agri‐based products sector. This includes $1 billion in federal programs and activities and a $2.5 billion commitment that is cost-shared 60 per cent federally and 40 per cent provincially/territorially for programs that are designed and delivered by the provinces and territories.