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Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI) Funding Up To $200K 

Agri-business includes the agri-food industry, which is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Canadian economy. The industry is divided into several subsectors, including agriculture, fisheries, and aquaculture, as well as food and beverage processing and distribution. 

By 2025, Canada will become one of the five biggest agri-food competitors and a leader in sustainable food production, according to the federal government.  

To facilitate competition and growth, programs such as the Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI)provide the agricultural industry with funding for research and innovation. OAFRI’s goal is to stimulate the growth and competitiveness of Ontario’s agri-food sector, promote technology to address business challenges, and expand market opportunities globally.  

Funding Snapshot: Ontario Agri-Food Research Initiative (OAFRI)

The OAFRI program has multiple streams with their own unique funding amounts, eligibility, and activities.  

Funding Amount  

  • Applied Research: Up to 100% of eligible costs to a maximum of $200,000. 
  • Pilot and Demonstration: Up to 100% of eligible costs to a maximum of $200,000. 
  • Commercialization
    • Project Type A: Market Validation Grants – up to 100% of eligible costs to a maximum of $30,000 per project 
    • Project Type B: Product Development Grants – up to 100% of eligible costs to a maximum $150,000 per project 

Eligible Applicants  

Eligible applicants for the OAFRI must: 

  • Be located in Ontario; 
  • Have project activities and costs that take place in Ontario with project partners and service providers located in Ontario; 
  • Operate in the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sectors, including technology or equipment suppliers; 
  • Have a product/technology/service that is unique to Ontario and does not displace existing Ontario products; 
  • Have projects that address at least one of the OMAFRA key research priority areas, and the Initiative objectives; and 
  • Be part of one of the following: 
    • A university or college;
    • A research organization, institute, or foundation; 
    • An industry organization or business; 
    • A non-government organization; or 
    • A municipal or indigenous government or government agency. 

OMAFRA Research Priority Areas: Food Safety, Animal Welfare & Health, Plant Health & Protection, Soil Health, Water Quality and Quantity, Sustainable Production Systems, Productive Land Capacity, Competitive Productions Systems, Innovative Products & Product Improvements, Trade Market & Targeted Sector Growth Opportunities. 

Eligible Activities  

  • Applied Research (early stage TRL up to level 5): 
    Applied research projects use the process of scientific investigation (including lab work and experiments) to find solutions to existing problems. 
  • Pilot and Demonstration (TRL 5 to 6): 
    The goal of the pilot and demonstration stream is to fund projects that focus on the development of a model or prototype of new technology. 
  • Commercialization (TRL 7 to 9)
    Commercialization stream funding is focused on scaling innovative technologies, products and services to the real world or commercial environment. 
    • Project Type A: Market Validation (TRL 4-5): to conduct research to determine the size and quality of the market opportunity for new and promising technology, product, or service with the goal of determining if there is any market potential. 
    • Project Type B: Product Development (TRL 6+): to create prototypes, perform field trials, remove any barriers to a market launch or private sector adoption and optimize a minimum viable product that best meets customer needs. 

Program Deadline 

The application deadline for all streams is January 11, 2024. 

Commercialization Program Timelines: 

  • Project duration is up to 18 months; 
  • Suggested project start dates are after April 1, 2024; and 
  • Projects cannot start prior to approval date and projects must be completed no later than September 30, 2025. 

Access More Agri-Business Grants and Funding  

Our blog on How To Fund Agricultural Innovation Through Government Fundingprovides businesses with information about agri-business grants. Canadian farmers and agri-food companies can receive strong funding plans to boost productivity levels and agricultural resiliency. 

If your agricultural or agri-food business is looking for funding opportunities, our agribusiness funding directory page can provide up-to-date insights on funding programs, intake periods, and requirements. Our team at Mentor Works, A Ryan Company can also support you with the application writing process. 

If you are interested in learning about the best ways to manage, grow, and finance your Ontario agri-food business, please download our free Canadian Agri-Business Growth Guide. 

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    1. Hi,

      At Mentor Works, A Ryan Company, we currently only support established Canadian businesses. However, our Startup Resources offer great insight for small businesses and start-ups.

      We hope this helps!

    2. Hi,

      Currently, we only work with established businesses (2+ years incorporated, 15+ employees, positive net income) in Canada. Unfortunately, our services do not apply to businesses looking to start up. In the meantime, please feel free to look through our Startup Resources for helpful tips and tricks on accessing financing and grant options.

      We hope this helps!

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