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Challenge seeking best agri-food innovations

Total of $15,000 up for grabs in Bioenterprise Canada initiative

Northern Ontario businesses are being asked to come up with their best ideas to improve food security in the North as part of a regional innovation challenge.

The Northern Food Security Challenge, hosted by Bioenterprise Canada and funded by FedNor, is offering up $15,000 to the top two ideas resulting from the contest.

Participants have until June 18 to submit their ideas, which will be judged on the problem addressed and its proposed solution, team experience and readiness for business growth, and the overall impact to agri-food security in the North.

Six finalists will be selected to participate in a virtual pitch competition hosted in partnership with Ingenuity, the business incubator space at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.

The winner will receive $10,000, while the runner-up will receive $5,000.

“Remote and Northern communities face unique barriers to food security and who better to help find solutions to these challenges than those who are living them,” says Dave Smardon, CEO of Bioenterprise Canada, in a news release.

“Our goal with this competition is to identify and support Northern early-stage companies who have innovative solutions, processes or technologies that can improve reliable access to nutritious, affordable food in the North.”

Bioenterprise Canada is a national organization focused on accelerating commercialization of agri-technology.

In 2021, it launched a pan-northern hub offering networking and business acceleration services for the agri-food sector.

Last year, it issued the Northern Ontario Innovation Challenge to find new innovations in the sector. BioNorth Solutions of Thunder Bay was declared the winner, while Agri-Tech North of Dryden was named runner-up.