Update (May 25, 2020): The Agri-Food Open for E-Busines Program is now on pause. Please refer to other Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) funding streams that might be relevant to your business.
The Government of Ontario remains committed to the agriculture and agri-food sector, as thousands of businesses engaged in the production of food are trying to find ways to stay ahead of challenges and provide new competitive advantages. All of this positively impacts the success and well-being of farmers, food manufacturers, and Canadians.
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) is the primary government funding program for the agri-food industry, supporting businesses with projects such as business expansion, capital equipment, and R&D. It offers many streams of funding through federal and provincial programs.
CAP has announced an open grant opportunity for Ontario agriculture and food value-chain partners: the Agri-Food Open for E-Business program aims to support projects designed to capture online e-business opportunities that will help create new, expanded or enhanced markets and open new retail channels.
Funding Snapshot: Agri-Food Open for E-Business
The federal and Ontario provincial governments are investing up to $2.5M to help businesses involved in the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-products sectors expand their online presence. This should ultimately allow for more opportunities for producers to expand their business and offer more food choices for families who are shopping from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funding is available for up to 90% of eligible costs. The maximum funding is up to $80,000 (if applying to both streams).
There are two streams of funding for agriculture businesses:
Stream 1 – Bring Your Business Online
This stream provides a grant of up to $5,000 to eligible organizations/businesses to help them establish an online presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing immediate solutions.
Those eligible include agriculture, agri-food, and agri-products businesses/organizations (processors, farmers, on-farm markets, individual farmers markets, garden centres, retailers, greenhouses, nurseries, and agricultural associations) that are looking to bring their business online quickly.
Stream 2 – Develop Online Business Opportunities
This stream provides cost-share funding for up to 90% of eligible costs to a maximum of $75,000 to develop e-business opportunities on a larger scale.
Eligible businesses are the same as Stream 1 and can apply, either independently or in partnership, to implement high-impact projects.
Eligible Project Activities
Projects eligible for Ontario agriculture grants via the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s Agri-Food Open for E-Business program include:
- Domain acquisition;
- Training key personnel on processes;
- Website design and graphic development;
- Marketing (e.g. Search Engine Optimization, web ads, building social media presence);
- Piloting sales practices and systems;
- Distribution system/model development;
- Development, enhancement, and expansion of an online marketing/sales platform (e.g. e-business capability, website, online ordering, overall online presence);
- Initial or start-up licensing or subscription fees up to six months;
- Initial development and validation of new operational processes, including creating processes for logistics of delivery through new marketing channels, shipping, delivery, fulfillment, warehousing, and related transactions; and
- Minor facility modifications to address social distancing requirements that are directly related to the project (e.g. curb side pickup for online orders).
Apply for Ontario Government Funding
Applications for the Agri-Food Open for E-Business program will be received and evaluated on a continuous basis, until funding is depleted.
Projects under Stream 1 must be implemented and completed by November 30, 2020, and projects under Stream 2 must be implemented and completed by September 30, 2022.
If you’d like to explore the Agri-Food Open for E-Business initiative to expand your business’ online presence, please contact Mentor Works and we’d be happy to discuss details further.