British Columbia has launched a new $20 million food processing growth fund to help food and beverage processing businesses increase productivity, economic opportunities and competitiveness, an April 27 news release said.
“Helping B.C.’s food and beverage companies increase their production will result in more B.C. ingredients being used, more B.C. products being enjoyed and more economic activity in communities around our province,” Pam Alexis, B.C. minister of agriculture and food, said in the release.
The release said the fund will support upgrades to established businesses, such as new or expanded production and storage facilities, the use of robotics and other technology, new product development and commercialization, specialized training for production staff on new technology and systems, and the hiring of specialized experts, such as food scientists to support new products and processes.
“This fund will help these businesses scale up, innovate and stay competitive, while also increasing the use of locally sourced ingredients and products. It’s a win-win for British Columbians and the province’s largest manufacturing sector,” James Donaldson, the CEO of BC Food & Beverage, said in the release.
Eligible recipients include established B.C.-based food, beverage and seafood processors with $500,000 in annual revenue, as well as commercial food hubs, for-rent commercial kitchens, and industry groups and associations, the release said. The fund will be delivered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC (IAF).
“Accessing the right kind of funding is a major pain point for many processors and is a requirement in order for companies to become national and world-leaders. As a trusted partner, IAF’s professional and dedicated staff are focused on delivering this new funding with our continued excellence,” James Pratt, vice-chair of IAF’s board of directors, said in the release.
It’s anticipated the program will open this summer.