Government of Canada invests in Saskatchewan’s agri-food sector

Posted on November 12, 2021

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Funding of $1.5 million through Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) will support the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership incubator

As demand continues to increase around the world for food products, Saskatchewan is in a unique position to be a world leader in the challenge of feeding a growing global population and would further benefit from an increase of agri-food exports that totalled almost $17 billion in 2020. The Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP) at the University of Saskatchewan, a not-for-profit organization established by Ag-West Bio (AWB), the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan, Innovation Place and the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre (Food Centre), is helping early-stage companies in the agri-food sector take advantage of this opportunity.

On November 12th, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister Responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, announced funding of $1.5 million to support GAAP in its efforts to assist agri-food companies advancing their technologies to market adoption. GAAP provides promising firms with access to facilities, training, mentorship, concierge services and investment. This funding is being delivered through PrairiesCan in Saskatchewan under the Regional Innovation Ecosystem (RIE) program. 

Early-stage funding is critical to allow ground-breaking ideas to become innovative technologies with real market impact. This strengthens Canada’s position in the global economy as an innovation leader addressing the reality of finite resources in global food production. Today’s investment in GAAP supports agri-food innovation in the Prairie provinces and increases Canada’s competitive position in international markets by bringing together new and existing innovation resources, increasing access to capital, and assisting agri-food start-ups.

 

GAAP will provide early-stage agri-food technology companies with support, including:

  • Multi-year access to greenhouses, laboratories and offices at Innovation Place, as well as sector expertise and mentorship. Facilities will include the GIFS’ Omics and Precision Agriculture (OPAL) platform to support plant breeding, post-harvest technologies, and drone, imaging and sensor technologies, as well as the Food Centre’s expertise and incubation suites.
  • Scale-up and commercial acceleration opportunities as well as access to large-scale early adopters and industry users – connecting firms directly to stakeholders and potential customers, especially for technologies that require field-testing.
  • Equity investment directed to companies that are translating new knowledge and innovation to the marketplace, and therefore require large investments.
  • A soft-landing program for domestic and international clients looking to establish a presence in Western Canada. In addition to GAAP’s financial support, international clients may also have access to financial support through the Voyage Program, jointly funded by GAAP and Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Association (SREDA). 

 

Quotes
“The Government of Canada recognizes the immense potential for Saskatchewan to become an even stronger global leader in the agri-food industry and to benefit from the economic advantages of a growing global demand for food products. By helping early stage Saskatchewan agri-food companies to innovate and address the challenges that start-ups can face, we’re ensuring that they can capitalize on growth opportunities, increase their competitiveness, and create high-quality jobs that people in Saskatchewan can rely on.”

- The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
 

“When the partners set out to create the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP), we saw a void in capital in Western Canada’s agri-food space. Combining the fund with our extensive network of business experts and world-class infrastructure is what makes GAAP truly unique. We are proud to be supporting cutting-edge technology companies through to adoption, and in turn help the sector be more competitive on the global stage.”

- Jay Robinson, interim Chief Executive Officer, Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership and Chief Operating Officer, Ag-West Bio Inc.
 

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Quick facts
PrairiesCan is investing $1.5 million to assist the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP) in launching its GAAP Incubator. 

The project will establish an agri-food technology incubator program to foster innovation and sector growth by providing early stage companies with access to facilities, training, mentorship, concierge services, and investment over a three-year project period.

Saskatchewan is well positioned to be a leader in agri-food and biotech innovation due to its wealth of agricultural expertise and reputation as a world-renowned consistent supplier of high-quality food ingredients.

The Regional Innovation Ecosystem (RIE) program, delivered on the Prairies by PrairiesCan, supports business needs to create, grow and nurture inclusive regional innovation ecosystems.

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