Kitchener-Waterloo

Ottawa announces $8M fund for agri-business in Guelph, Wellington County

The federal government will provide $4.84 million of a new fund dedicated to helping new agriculture and agri-food technology businesses in Guelph and Wellington County flourish.

Federal gov't will provide $4.84M, $3.3M will come from the private sector

The federal government will provide $4.84 million in funding for new businesses in Guelph and Wellington County that focus on agriculture and agri-food technologies. (Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board)

A new $8.14 million fund will help agriculture and agri-food technology entrepreneurs in Guelph and Wellington County grow their businesses, Guelph Liberal MP Lloyd Longfield announced Tuesday.

The federal government will provide $4.84 million for the fund, Longfield said during the announcement at the Granary Building in downtown Guelph. It is expected the remaining $3.3 million will be provided by the private sector.

The funding is part of a joint initiative between the government, the not-for-profit business accelerator Bioenterprise Corporation, and Innovation Guelph, a group that helps entrepreneurs get started.

"I was really pleased to be part of the announcement. I was involved with the start up of Innovation Guelph and I've also worked a lot with Bioenterprise, so I know the people involved and I know they're going to be ... able to get some really neat things happening in the region," Longfield told CBC News in an interview after the announcement.

"Guelph is a hub for agri-business and agri-food technology and Innovation Guelph has been doing a lot of work in advanced manufacturing and social innovation," he said. "Both those sectors are important for the Canadian economy and we're good at both those sectors in this region."

The fund will allow people in the early stages of launching a business will be able to apply for seed money and get access to industry experts and business coaching.

"The investment's going to provide up to $30,000 in seed financing that will be matched by businesses, and $10,000 in mentoring, market research, validation and introduction to investors," Longfield said.

The project is expected to help 110 early stage companies create 230 full-time jobs, maintain 500 jobs and strengthen economic development in Guelph and Wellington County.

Longfield made the announcement on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for southern Ontario.

The initiative will help companies "gain access to expert mentorship and support services crucial for long-term growth and sustainable development," Dave Smardon, president and CEO of Bioenterprise Corporation, said in a press release.

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