CAN (BC): Agritech Innovation Challenge matches food and tech with opportunity

The Agritech Innovation Challenge will launch "Growing our Future Together – BC Agrifood and Seafood Conference", on November 14, 2016, in Kelowna. The B.C. government and BC Innovation Council will lead the event that will challenge entrants to develop a product or process that promotes overall food supply security for the Province of British Columbia by addressing one of the following:
  • Enhancing productivity and profitability through enhanced mechanization and storage solutions for blueberries and other field crops;
  • Minimizing losses through pest management solutions;
  • Promoting sustainable practices and finding efficiencies in B.C. greenhouses;
  • Creating new revenue streams and addressing environmental concerns through optimization of nutrient application and nutrient recovery.
Challenge entrants will receive detailed briefings and information packages at the event, and have the opportunity to discuss their ideas with technology, entrepreneurship and agriculture sector experts. Following the challenge, entrants will have a couple of weeks to refine their ideas and seek input and advice from colleagues before submitting a proposal for a product or process in late November. Submissions will be adjudicated by a panel of experts and a shortlist of successful candidates will advance towards funding opportunities, as well as an opportunity to pitch their innovation at the #BCTech Summit in March 2017.

"Our Government is pleased to support the Agritech Innovation Challenge, where agri-tech companies and food producers will explore innovative ways to enhance productivity and sustainability in the agriculture sector. Innovation is a cornerstone of our government's plan to create good jobs in the agri-food sector and grow the middle class." - Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

"The B.C. government encourages innovation across the B.C. agri-food and seafood sector and that includes trying and evaluating new technology. The lessons learned through the Agritech Innovation Challenge will help drive our sector's competitiveness and long term growth as we work towards increasing B.C. agri-food and seafood sector revenues to $15 billion per year by 2020." - Norm Letnick, B.C. Agriculture Minister.

"British Columbia's blueberry sector produces high quality highbush blueberries that are enjoyed in Canada and worldwide. The Agritech Innovation Challenge is a great way to connect technology companies and researchers with the blueberry industry to improve productivity, grower profits and consumer satisfaction, which is something that would benefit all B.C. blueberry growers." - Jason Smith, BC Blueberry Council past chair.

"The BC Greenhouse Growers' Association looks forward to the Agritech Innovation Challenge, we are always excited to discuss new ideas and innovations. This event represents an excellent opportunity to bring BC innovators together with industry to discuss, identify and explore gaps that innovation can provide solutions for." - Linda Delli Santi, BC Greenhouse Growers' Association Executive Director.

"We're thrilled to be working with the Ministry of Agriculture to bring together two strong economic drivers—agriculture and technology—for our Agritech Innovation Challenge. B.C. technology solutions deployed across sectors can solve real problems in BC and around the world. BC Innovation Council is proud to be providing opportunities to access new markets for BC innovators; opportunities for the agriculture and agri-food sector to leverage home-grown innovation to stay competitive; and opportunities for industry to generate high-paying jobs and robust economic growth. - Shirley Vickers, BC Innovation Council President & CEO.

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