The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) Launches Micro-Grant Program

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In partnership with the Northeast Community Network, Eat Local Sudbury, and Cloverbelt Local Food Co-operative, the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) will be coordinating a multi-year funding program for farm and food businesses in northern Ontario.

The Sustainable New Agri-Food Products & Productivity Program (SNAPP) will provide a grant up to $5,000 at 75% cost share to purchase equipment for eligible activities. Collaborations of three or more entities can be eligible for up to $15,000 at 75% cost share. Program goals include stimulating the development and expansion of the agriculture and food sector in northern Ontario, addressing challenges specific to northern Ontario agri-food production and promoting value-added processing and innovative production and processing practices that increase scalability, profitability, and competitiveness.

FedNor has announced $921,300 in funding over three years. New to the program in 2016 is the addition of three application streams including; Season Extension, New Products and Productivity Enhancement. The first application intake period will open November 15, 2016. Details can be found at www.rainalgoma.ca/SNAPP.

Between 2014 and 2015, RAIN and northern partners undertook a pilot to trial the program. This resulted in the following:

  • $290,000 in funding provided by FedNor
  • 46 successful applicants
  • 50 new products
  • 7 new businesses
  • 25 new full-time equivalent positions
  • 17 maintained full-time equivalent positions
  • Expansion of products into 35 new retail outlets

“With the success of the pilot, this next phase of the project will enhance productivity and provide opportunities for season extension,” says David Thompson, RAIN Project Coordinator with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre. “We look forward to working collaboratively across northern Ontario to make new agri-food projects a reality.“

There will be four sessions for Algoma/Manitoulin businesses to gather information about the SNAPP program, learn how to complete and submit an application package, discuss program objectives and ask questions. These sessions will serve as an introduction to the program. If you wish to apply to the SNAPP Program, it is advisable to attend one of the following four information sessions:

Program Info Session #1
Wednesday, November 23, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Bruce Station Hall, 109 Station Rd. Bruce Station

Program Info Session #2
Thursday November 24, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
MacLennan Hall, 762 MacLennan Rd.
Tarbutt Township

Program Info Session #3
Saturday November 26, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Mill Market 35 Canal Dr., Sault Ste. Marie

Program Info Session #4
Thursday December 8th, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Cambrian College Campus
7 Water St, Little Current, ON

Please RSVP for attending one of the sessions – contact: Melissa Watson [email protected] or 705-942-7927 x3135. If you are interested in participating in the program, but cannot attend one of the sessions, please contact Melissa Watson for more information.

About the Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN)
The Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN) is a project of the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) and NORDIK Institute. RAIN is supported by the agricultural community, municipalities, the private sector (farmers and businesses), and funding partners to conduct research and provide business development and networking support. RAIN’s vision is to build a resilient farm and food sector in northern Ontario through innovative research and agricultural development projects. www.rainalgoma.ca

About the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre
The Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC) is a non-profit organization established in 1999 to function as a catalyst for economic development and diversification in the information technology and science knowledge-based sectors. SSMIC’s mission is to drive business growth, facilitate research and commercialize innovation in globally significant areas of science and technology through partnerships, expert advice, community development, business incubation, youth outreach and sector development activities. Key SSMIC business divisions include the Community Geomatics Centre, Rural Agri-Innovation Network, Business Support Services, YouLaunch, Lottery & Gaming and Smart Energy. www.ssmic.com

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