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Identifying Canada’s path to becoming a global agri-food innovation superpower

Guelph ON,  – Bioenterprise Canada has launched a national roundtable series designed to identify and unlock Canada’s global agri-food superpower potential. The initiative kicked off in Calgary on April 29 with the first of seven provincial and regional roundtables to identify and understand the barriers keeping Canadian food-tech and agri-tech entrepreneurs from successfully commercializing their innovations. 

According to Bloomberg, Canada ranks ninth in the world in terms of spending on agricultural research, but only 21st when it comes to turning that research into practical and marketable innovations. 

“We believe the key to closing the agri-food innovation gap lies in understanding the challenges that exist regionally, provincially and in the territories so that we can develop a national strategy to address these barriers while also expanding successful regional programs and initiatives,” says Bioenterprise Canada CEO Dave Smardon. “Canada is large and diverse country with a very multi-faceted agri-food industry, and it’s critical that we find ways to better work together to create more efficient and collaborative resources and support programs that will help our sector, our economy and our country thrive.”

Bioenterprise, Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine, is leading the drive to create a better, more comprehensive national agri-food innovation environment with the support of partners Bennett Jones LLP, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Farm Credit Canada.

The project will: 

  • Analyze and connect the complex web of interacting organizations and their respective services in each region’s agri-food sector and identify ecosystem gaps. 
  • Provide recommendations to ensure Canada’s considerable research strengths are effectively translated into practical, marketable solutions and enhance Canada’s competitiveness in the global agri-food sector.
  • Foster collaboration across the existing national network of commercialization enablers by promoting the open sharing of knowledge, resources, and best practices.
  • Convene industry leaders to a process for identifying and addressing specific barriers to innovation to ensure subsequent policies and strategies are well-informed and impactful.

“Canada’s potential to become a global agri-food superpower is rooted in its abundance of natural resources, leading research institutions, and a strong focus on sustainable agricultural practices,” says Lorelei Graham, Partner and Head of the Agribusiness Industry Team at Bennett Jones. “We are proud to support this initiative that will improve the successful commercialization of agri-food innovations and keep those companies in Canada. This will help drive economic growth, reduce our carbon footprint, and contribute to food security.”

Following events with stakeholders in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada, the project will culminate with an agri-food innovation summit in Ottawa this fall. 

Expected project outcomes include an innovation ecosystem roadmap of each region’s key resources and stakeholders; a comprehensive insights report summarizing challenges and opportunities identified during the roundtables; policy recommendations to improve the commercialization process and reduce regulatory barriers; a strategic action plan and framework for better collaboration between industry, government, academia and other stakeholders; and regional level best practices and case studies that could be applied nationally. 

Funding for this project in part has been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, along with Bennett Jones LLP, Canadian Federation of Agriculture, and Farm Credit Canada. 

Source : Bioenterprises.ca

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