Innovation Challenge Winners Bring Local Tech to British Columbia Farms

News Release

March 15, 2017 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture

Four B.C. companies have each won $20,000 for developing B.C. technology to help solve a problem identified as part of the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the BC Innovation Council’s Innovation Challenge.

The winning companies are using local technology to deter birds from B.C. berry farms, provide up-to-the-minute health checks on crops, turn B.C. wood waste into fully compostable yarn for farm uses, and improve nutrient recovery from farm waste.

The winners were selected by a panel of experts, with representatives of the BC Innovation Council, the BC Agriculture Council, Genome BC, the National Research Council, the Investment Agriculture Foundation, SRC Tec, Bioenterprise BC and the federal and provincial governments.

The Agritech Innovation Challenge is a partnership between the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the BC Innovation Council with $80,000 in funding provided through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that provides a $3-billion investment over five years in innovation, competitiveness and market development. The challenge was launched in November 2016 and brought together innovators with industry to develop a product or process to enhance productivity, sustainability and resiliency of B.C.’s agrifood sector.


“Congratulations to the winners of the Innovation Challenge. These four companies have used innovative methods to develop sustainable solutions in the agri-tech sector and are a fine example of where the industry is headed. The Government is proud to support their efforts in strengthening B.C.’s prosperous agri-food industry.”

  • Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

“Made in B.C. tech is everywhere in our daily lives, and the winners of the Innovation Challenge are extending that reach into agriculture. Successful farming and food production in current times involves the same passion, care and attention to detail as it did in generations before, but the technology involved is incredible, and a key reason, why B.C.’s agrifoods sector continues to grow, setting record annual revenues of $13 billion, and creating 6,100 new jobs from the year before.”

  • Norm Letnick, B.C. Agriculture Minister

“I returned to B.C. after a career with projects in around 30 countries, because the energy, growth and opportunity in the BC tech sector drew me back.  I see innovation, especially in the ag-sector, mainly consisting of incremental major developments, but in between these milestones is an incredible potential for small-scale revolutions, like BioMid yarn. In my experience the support from the National Research Council and the B.C. Government is unrivalled, and I’m already eyeing-up solving some new challenges within this mountain of opportunity. There is plenty of room and I’d encourage everyone to jump onboard!”

  • Gordon Shank, Gordon Shank Consulting

“The Agritech Innovation Challenge was an excellent opportunity for us to reach out to the farmers and help them to address some of the problems they are currently experiencing. It was also very important for us as a start-up company to validate our technology for this market and demonstrate all the benefits our solution can offer. We really appreciate the opportunity that the BC Government has given to us.”

  • Sergey Lobanov, President, Boost Environmental Systems

"I am pleased to accept this award on behalf of the company. This culminates more than 10 years of R&D to complete our product. We are now moving forward with product commercialization, first in North America and then globally. "

  • Saber Miresmailli, founder & CEO, Ecoation Innovative Solutions Inc.

"The Agritech Innovation Challenge funding will accelerate our ability to grow and provide services to farmers in BC to increase their crop yields.  It will also help us open doors to the wider agricultural community in the province, and we are excited to hear from more growers who can benefit from our pest bird deterrence service."

  • Milad Sakiani, gUAVas co-founder

“We’re pleased to support the transfer of technology into B.C.’s $13B agriculture industry, fueling its growth and competitiveness. Through initiatives like the Agritech Innovation Challenge, we can help grow the agrifood sector with technology, and create jobs in regional communities across B.C.”

  • Carl Anderson, President and CEO, BC Innovation Council

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