British Columbia’s tech sector is being invited to propose solutions to help B.C. food producers and processors increase their efficiency, sustainability and product traceability through the B.C. Agritech Innovation Challenge.
The federal and provincial government-funded challenge is offering a total of $150,000 in support for made-in-B.C. technology solutions in three defined categories:
- Food processing technology: Mechanization, digitization and automation for micro- and small-scale processors to help ease the effects of any labour shortage. Examples could include shellfish shucking, plant-based protein processing and technology for fruit and vegetable freezing, drying and peeling.
- Food traceability technologies: User-friendly and economical options for micro- and small-scale producers and processors to provide product tracking from farm to consumer. Examples include apps and software with different features and equipment compatibility.
- Precision agriculture technologies and bioproducts: Improved precision tools, technologies and practices, as well as innovation that transforms agriculture waste into renewable products. Examples could include integrated sensors to monitor soil nutrients and bio-based materials (i.e., nutrients, bio-chemicals, fertilizers, fuels) produced from agricultural waste.
In addition to seed funding to advance new technologies, participants will receive mentorship and support through Innovate BC’s Agriculture Venture Accelerator Program. The challenge is being presented in collaboration with Innovate BC and aims to help increase the efficiency, sustainability and competitiveness of B.C.’s agriculture and seafood industries, while providing access to new customers with global market potential, encouraging company growth.
Submission details and timelines are available at: https://innovatebc.ca/what-we-offer/innovation-marketplace/agritech-challenge/
Funding for the Agritech Innovation Challenge is provided by the Government of British Columbia and through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector.
Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food —
“Innovation is a driver for continued growth and competitiveness for food producers and processors across Canada. Our government is pleased to support this initiative that will help explore and find innovative tech-based solutions to enhance productivity, sustainability and traceability in the B.C. agriculture sector.”
Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture —
“It’s wonderful to see the collaboration between the tech and agriculture sectors, as well as the federal and provincial governments, to connect our B.C. farmers and our local innovators to work on new ways to grow our province’s agriculture sector. These opportunities provide important spaces for problems to be identified and cutting-edge solutions to be crafted.“
Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO, Innovate BC —
“Technology is transforming industries all over the world. The only way for traditional industries like agriculture to become more competitive, more efficient and more profitable is to adopt innovative, groundbreaking technologies that can have a global impact. Innovate BC is extremely excited to collaborate on this Agritech Innovation Challenge and help B.C. tech companies attract customers, secure funding and grow their businesses.”
James Donaldson, CEO, BC Food Processors Association —
“The BC Food Processors Association is excited about the potential for the Agritech Innovation Challenge to assist food and beverage manufacturers in B.C. Our industry is already well known for creating unique, innovative products, but in order to continue to compete and scale their businesses, there will be an ever-increasing need for technology, automation and advanced manufacturing to help them accomplish this. The Agritech Innovation Challenge creates a great platform for increased focus on this important field for our industries’ future.”
- B.C. agri-food companies had sales of more than $14 billion in 2017 and employ more than 61,000 people.
- More than 200 primary agriculture products and about 100 fish, shellfish and marine plant species are produced in B.C.
- B.C. exported a record $3.9 billion in agri-food and seafood products to 157 markets in 2017.
- There are more than 10,500 tech companies in B.C., employing more than 114,000 people.
- The tech sector generates approximately $31 billion in revenue a year in B.C.
Innovate BC is a Crown agency that connects innovators — large and small, in every industry and region — with B.C. government funding, tools, resources and support: https://innovatebc.ca/
For more information on the many programs that support innovation in B.C. agriculture, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/programs/canada-bc-agri-innovation
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/about-us/key-departmental-initiatives/canadian-agricultural-partnership/?id=1461767369849