Saskatchewan’s food and ingredients sector was the focus for five food innovation companies who travelled from South Africa, Argentina, Netherlands, and Mexico to take part in the Navigate program, organized by the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP) and supported by Ag-West Bio.
Navigate seeks out cutting-edge technologies from around the world that align with the Canadian agri-food ecosystem, with the goal of introducing global innovators to the local ecosystem so they can assess the fit for their potential expansion.
GAAP CEO Jay Robinson, says “In today’s rapidly growing food industry, food security and streamlined supply chain management are foundational cornerstones for success. Embracing innovation while balancing industry requirements and consumer demands are the key to unlocking the abundant opportunities Canada has on the global food technology stage. GAAP is excited to host novel food ingredient companies from around the world because we understand that capturing these opportunities in a sustainable and profitable way requires the collaboration of the best and brightest minds.”
The international visitors had a busy week in the province, with tours, networking, and one-on-one meetings with local network connections.
Oct. 18: The day started off with a breakfast seminar with Ben Kelly of Algarithm Ingredients, who spoke about starting a business and working through all the challenges of the food industry here in Canada.
At lunch Navigate officially launched with an event at Boffins, Innovation Place. Each Navigate participant introduced their company and technology to over 100 guests.
In the afternoon, the companies began exploring Saskatchewan’s food ecosystem with a tour at KeyLeaf with Thushan Withana-Gamage. It was great about their down stream processing capabilities, just another example of the world class expertise and facilities located right here in Saskatoon!
At Bioriginal, CEO Shannon Sears told the group about the impressive history and bright future for Bioriginal. The final stop was the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre with a presentation by President Mehmet Tulbek.
Oct 19: Ecosystem Training Day at Crossmount Cider Company included presentations from research and granting organizations and service providers to showcase some of the many benefits to establishing a Canadian subsidiary and accessing the North American market through a base in Saskatchewan. Speakers were: Colleen Christensen (NRC-IRAP), Bailey Gervais (Sask Ministry of Agriculture); Andrew Kudel (Infinity SRED); Chris Dekker (Sask Trade and Export Partnership); Sara Hipson and Melissa Corey (Mentor Works); Jason Heit (Prairies Economic Development Canada); Michael Nickerson (USask); Blaine Chartrand (Sask Polytechnic); Anusha Samaranayaka (NRC); Mehmet Tulbek (Food Centre); Amy Carruthers and Kyle Adams (Ag-West Bio). Read more
Oct. 20: The day started with visits to the Canadian Light Source and the National Research Council. During lunch, Shannon Hood-Niefer from Sunnydale Foods spoke to participants about product development and commercialization. The participants spent the afternoon with Ben Scott and Megha Bajaj with the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) Bio Engineering Platform to explore opportunities for support services and collaborations.
Oct 21-22: Over the weekend, the delegates travelled to Rosthern, SK, where Russ Schroeder gave them a tour at Marquis Milling; then toured EE Grain and finally, Maker’s Crafted Malts, where Matt Enns showed them around.
Oct 24: On their final day in Saskatchewan, the Navigate participants visited Genome Prairie, with presentations by Lester Young and Jerlene Halliday.
The Navigate participants also attended The Canadian Business workshop, learning about how to set up a Canadian subsidiary from Ivan Bergerman, IP from Harm Deckers, regulatory steps from Erin Taraborrelli and Canadian accounting practices from Brett Thiessen.
The trip wasn’t all business – the packed agenda left room for fun too, like bowling at Stoked Centre, networking at LB Distillers, along with good old fashioned fall activities like pumpkin carving, a walk through a corn maze and the Campus Ghost Tour at the University of Saskatchewan!
After a week on the prairies, the delegation flew to Las Vegas for SupplySide West, an enormous food industry trade show with over 870,000 sq ft and 1500 exhibitor booths. The trip was capped off with a visit to the Grand Canyon.
Find details about the week’s activities, along with pictures, on GAAP’s LinkedIn page.