Government Funding

The Canada Food Innovation Network’s Challenge Stream

Big change is coming to the food and beverage sector in Canada. The Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) is a not-for-profit corporation designed to stimulate innovation among Canadian businesses in the food sector. CFIN recognizes that in order to become an international leader in food and beverage, it will have to start locally by helping Canadian small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) accelerate food innovation and growth through research and development opportunities and business expansion programs.

“This vision means that over time, Canada will develop benchmarks for measuring its relative global position in food innovation and it will continuously strive to bolster Canada’s global ranking in food industry competitiveness”

-Canada Food Innovation Network

Therefore, the Canadian Food Innovation Network has incepted two program streams to help give SMEs in food and beverage the competitive edge they need. The programs are called the CFIN Innovation Booster and the Food Innovation Challenge. This article will be covering the CFIN Food Innovation Challenge program,however, you can read more about the CFIN Innovation Booster program as well.

Funding Amount

Successful applicants may receive the following funding from the Canadian Food Innovation Network’ Food Innovation Challenge program:

  • Successful applicants may receive up to 50% of eligible costs for projects ranging from $1 million – $4 million in total project costs;
  • 50% of total costs should be covered by the applicant;
  • Projects should fall between a $1 million – $4 million range for budget; and
  • All successful applicants will need to pay a non-refundable project management fee to CFIN, accounting for 5% of project costs, if approved.

Learn more about funding by visiting the CFIN program page.

Eligible Applicants

To be a successful applicant for the Food Innovation Challenge, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants should be focused on, industry-led, collaborative initiatives;
  • Should consist of an applicant willing to take the lead and collaborative partners that are also incorporated in Canada;
  • All parties of the collaboration incorporated in Canada, or be working with Canadian research institutions;
  • Successful participants should be members of CFIN;
  • At least one SME (fewer than 500 employees) with lower than $50 million gross revenues annually;
  • At least two independent private sector companies;
  • If a larger number of partners are included, a diversity of organizations, companies and SMEs, universities, colleges, research centers, etc. is encouraged; and
  • Research and development should be conducted at Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) one to seven.

To learn more about eligibility criteria, review the comprehensive CFIN program page.

Eligible Activities

To be eligible for funding through the Challenge stream, projects should meet these criteria:

  • Projects should fall into the following three fields:
    • Smart Product and Process Development: health and wellness products, robotics, AI and big data systems, and emerging products;
    • Food System Sustainability: such as food waste, value recovery, circularity and upcycling, eco-friendly packaging, and increased efficiencies; and
    • Agile and Safe Supply Chains: logistics and supply chains, consumer analysis, food safety and security, and digital supply chain solutions.
  • Costs such as direct labour, materials, and equipment may be eligible;
  • Activities such as Industrial research for the discovery of knowledge aimed at developing new technology-driven products, processes, and services at early stage TRLs; and
  • The advancement and development of new tech into product-specific applications at middle or late stage TRLs. Projects may cover a broad range of TRLs through activities from research to near commercialization.

Program Timelines

The Canadian Food Innovation Network’s Food Innovation Challenge Program has the following timelines which should be taken into consideration.

  • Letters of intent for the Challenge stream are due on or prior to November 15, 2021;
  • Following letters of intent, a project’s full proposals are due on or prior to January 10, 2022;
  • Approvals should be made by March 2022 and Challenge stream projects may start in April 2022;
  • All projects should be completed by March 31, 2025; and
  • Any project costs incurred before approval of a project are not eligible.

Government Funding for Food and Beverage Companies

Get the financial support you need for growing your food and beverage business. Read about food and beverage financial support that is available to Canadian SMEs or get in touch with a Mentor Works representative to learn more.

For more information regarding funding programs available today, visit our government funding directory.

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