AgriInnovate Funding for Canadian Agri-Food Businesses: FAQ

AgriInnovate Agriculture Investment Funds for Food and Beverage Businesses

The AgriInnovate Program is a form of repayable funding offered through the Canadian government. It’s designed to support technology demonstration, commercialization, and adoption projects in the agriculture and agri-food sector. By offsetting a portion of eligible expenses, for-profit organizations can further integrate advanced technologies that improve productivity and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

AgriInnovate offsets up to 50% of eligible project costs to a maximum $10 million. This helps agriculture and agri-food companies invest in new, innovative equipment.

This article further explores frequently asked questions about AgriInnovate, including general program information, eligibility criteria, and how to apply. For a more general summary of the program, please refer to our AgriInnovate Overview blog.

About the AgriInnovate Program

What is the AgriInnovate Program?

The AgriInnovate Program is specifically designed to support Canadian businesses as they commercialize, adopt, or demonstrate innovative agricultural and agri-food technologies. By offsetting a portion of project costs, it’s expected that farmers and food/beverage processors will integrate technologies that are new to the sector or country.

What type of funding does AgriInnovate offer?

AgriInnovate offers repayable funding contributions to support project expenses. While no interest is charged to access the capital, program participants must repay their funding contribution. Repayment starts upon the completion of projects and can continue for up to 10 years after the project is finished.

How much funding is available?

The AgriInnovate Program offers up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $10 million in repayable funding contributions per project.

Can AgriInnovate be combined with other government funding programs?

Fortunately, AgriInnovate funding can be stacked with other government incentives. This includes federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal government funding programs. The upper limit of funding is capped at 75% of eligible project costs; this ensures companies are financially committed to the project and are capable to provide at least 25% of project costs internally.

What are AgriInnovate’s reporting requirements?

If approved, companies must follow-up with the government agency who administers the AgriInnovate Program. This includes frequent progress reports, as well as performance and financial reporting.

Who administers the AgriInnovate Program?

AgriInnovate is administered through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), a federal government department responsible for delivering the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

How to Qualify for AgriInnovate

What businesses are eligible for AgriInnovate funding?

To qualify for AgriInnovate, applicants must be a for-profit organization that is incorporated in Canada. This includes businesses and/or corporations, co-operatives, and businesses or corporations in Indigenous communities.

What types of projects are supported by AgriInnovate?

AgriInnovate supports three broad project categories that focus on the development and integration of advanced technologies. These include:

  • Technology Commercialization: Late-stage activities to improve a product/process’ technology readiness level (TRL). This includes integrating a pre-commercial technology into current production processes and marketing the innovation to potential buyers. Innovations must be introduced to the market when project is complete.
  • Technology Adoption: Purchasing and integrating technologies that are either new to Canada or the agricultural sector.
  • Technology Demonstration: Purchase and installation of new equipment to test and verify its benefits.

What expenses are eligible for AgriInnovate support?

When applying to AgriInnovate, project budgets can consist of the following direct expenses:

  • Capital expenses;
  • Contracted services;
  • Salaries and benefits; and
  • Other direct project costs, such as the rental or lease of facilities/equipment/machinery.

Apply for Agricultural Marketing Grants via AgriInnovate

What is the process for applying to AgriInnovate?

AgriInnovate applicants must complete a graduated three-stage process that includes:

  • Pre-Screening: An eligibility screening form is available online and can be completed by accessing Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s website. Companies meeting the program’s basic eligibility criteria are called forward to the second stage.
  • Application: Once approved through the pre-screening application phase, companies have up to 30 days to complete an online application and provide supporting documents such as a business plan, organizational chart, and audited financial statements from the previous three years.
  • Assessment: Once an application is fully complete and submitted online, a program representative will confirm the submission date and prepare the application for review. The review process can take up to 100 days from submission to complete; at such time, companies will be contacted to confirm whether the application was successful.

What information is required for AgriInnovate applications?

Some of the most critical information required from companies to apply for AgriInnovate includes:

  • Applicant Information: Incorporation status, management structure, three years of audited financial statements.
  • Project Information: Start and finish dates, nature of the project, business case, and opportunity assessment for the project.
  • Project Budget: A breakdown of all anticipated project costs and all sources of funding for the project deliverables.

How are AgriInnovate applications assessed?

All submissions to the AgriInnovate Program are evaluated against common criteria. These include:

  • Level of Innovation: Proposing cutting-edge products, technologies, or processes.
  • Technical Feasibility: Providing evidence through testing or other means to demonstrate that an innovation is equipped for the next stage of commercial readiness.
  • Market Orientation: Demonstrating that there is a market need/demand for the innovation, that the innovation will increase demand for agricultural products, and that companies who implement the innovation will increase
  • Applicant Capability: Demonstrating that the applicant company can successfully implement, manage, and complete the project. This includes thorough analysis of the company’s audited financial statements.

Is there a deadline to apply for the AgriInnovate Program?

Applications are accepted until March 21, 2023 or until the program has committed all its funding. Contributions are offered on a first-come, first-reviewed basis, so consider applying as early as possible to ensure the program still has funds remaining.

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Posted: April 9, 2013 by Chris Casemore. Updated: June 13, 2018 by Jeff Shepherd.

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