Doug Armour (right) accepts the award for Integrated HACCP Solutions in 2016.

Agri-food and agri-tech businesses in the Valley take note! The deadline for the Agriculture Innovation Accelerator Award has been extended until Nov 15. Click here for the application guide and form.

Since creating the Agriculture Innovation Accelerator Award in 2013, the Annapolis Valley Chamber of Commerce (AVCC) has awarded more than $160,000 in cash and in-kind services to help Valley entrepreneurs advance their project to the next phase development. The prize package is contributed by local enterprises that are committed to sustaining and growing the agriculture sector in the Annapolis Valley.

Award benefits

Wolfville software start-up FoodByte, previously named Integrated HACCP Solutions, won the 2017 Agriculture Innovation Accelerator Award valued at $30,000 in cash and in-kind services.

Winning the Agriculture Innovation Accelerator Award was “hugely beneficial,” helping the business achieve a minimal viable product and find customers, said FoodByte co-owner Doug Armour. The in-kind services introduced the business partners to a committed core of expert advisors and professionals, including the lawyer who drafted a terms of service agreement and a privacy agreement and the accountant who prepared their tax returns. These services saved the business money and delivered key documents to enable the businesses to move forward. FoodByte leveraged the significant cash contribution to hire four term students through an industry employment program. Two of the four people hired are still working for the business. Aside from generating “great publicity,” winning the award helped the partners build their reputation, connect with key service providers (such as Perennia and ACOA), and become more integrated with the business community in the Annapolis Valley. “People didn’t really know who we were before the competition,” Armour said.

Get inspired: read more about this award-winning agri-enterprise here.

Manufacturing start-up TapRoot Fibre Lab, in Port Williams, won the 2016 Agriculture Innovation Accelerator Award valued at $32,200 in cash and in-kind services.

“The award has been so great,” said Patricia Bishop, co-ower of TapRoot Fibre Lab. “When we shared what we were doing it really validated the vision of what we are trying to accomplish. That was a powerful and necessary experience.” The direct support, in terms of cash and expert services, was also very significant, says Bishop, because “it can be very challenging for start-ups to access resources.” The award provides “a substantial amount of money and it’s a community-building process,” Bishop explained. Applying for and pitching for the award helped build her skills, while connecting with professional and expert advisors helped build business networks and expertise. As a bonus, said Bishop, applying for the award and going through the judging process was “fun, not heavy and cumbersome.”

Get inspired: read more about this award-winning agri-enterprise here.

 

Show your support by attending the 2018 award ceremony on December 4 at 5:30pm at the Berwick and District Lions Club. The ceremony begins at 6pm.

As research analyst for the Valley REN, Rachel Brighton brings 25 years’ experience as a journalist, editor, publisher, manager, consultant and not-for-profit director in Canada and Australia.

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