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Training

Each company participating in the Ramp-Up program, will join one of two cohorts. These cohorts will attend three days of market validation training, with select organizations invited to participate in additional coaching, mentoring, and networking.

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Phase One

Market Validation Training

Each cohort will be provided with three full days of market validation training (MVT). Training will take place in Pitt Meadows at the Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall. If you are unable to participate in the in-person MVT, the training can be made available online, although our trainers highly recommend in-person to maximize the experience. These days will be spread out over two-months to allow participants time to complete homework assignments and online sessions. Training and assignments include activities such as:

  • Face to face customer meetings following a prescribed script
  • Reviewing and revising go-to-market plans to incorporate customer feedback
  • Analyzing/understanding/anticipating barriers to scale-up

All participants will be required to complete a go-to-market plan as a final assignment. The go-to-market plan is developed from learning exercises completed by participants at the end of each MVT training session. Following each MVT session there is also homework, to be completed no later than 10 days after the class session, given to each participating company. Compilation of all the completed homework assignments becomes the go-to-market plan for each of the participating companies. The go-to-market plans will be one of the criteria used to evaluate a company’s progression into Phase 2.

Note: only one individual from an organization will be invited to participate in market validation training, generally that individual is the CEO or Founder of the organization.

Phase Two

Mentoring, Coaching & Networking

To graduate from Phase 1, participants must successfully complete all their training, assignments and have a 100% attendance record. The Program Team, comprised of individuals such as, the Ramp-Up trainers, mentors, and the Executive-In-Residence, will evaluate the graduates and invite up to six companies to proceed to Phase 2. The evaluation will be based on company’s Customer Readiness Level (CRL). As each company progresses through the process their CRL will be used as a measurement. Companies that have not advanced through the CRL will not be advanced into the coaching sessions. Those participants declined for further coaching will be advised in writing of the areas they need to strengthen or improve and may be offered an opportunity to join Phase 2 in future cohorts if space becomes available.

The companies entering Phase 2 will be provided specialized mentoring, coaching, and networking opportunities based on individual company needs. The focus of Phase 2 will be on coaching companies to respond to and address the feedback and intelligence they gathered in Phase 1.

Various networking opportunities will be available to participants, depending which cohort they participate in. These could include events such as: Pacific Agriculture Show Innovation Day, demonstration days, pitch events, alumni mingles, and learning luncheons.

Note: Participants planning on applying for the second training session can still sign up for and attend the Pacific Agriculture Show Innovation Day. Attendance at this event is optional for all program participants.

Pitch Event

At the end of each cohort, the Phase 2 participants will be invited to a virtual pitch event.

This event will be an opportunity to make a presentation demonstrating the learnings from the Ramp-Up program. Members of the audience will include trainers, mentors and potentially special guest judges from the BC agritech community who will score the presentations. These scores will be used by the review committee to help determine the top two companies from each cohort.

Graduation

The top two companies from each cohort will be awarded a grant up to $25,000 and could be offered a place in SFU’s Agritech Sandbox program.

At the end of Phase 2 participants will ‘graduate’, and receive final feedback and submit a report about their experience in the program. Additionally, the review committee will meet and determine the top two companies from each cohort. The top two scoring companies from each cohort will be awarded a business development grant of up to $25,000.

Recognizing further resources will be needed to complete a company’s full commercialization, strategic connections with other initiatives and partners in the Agritech ecosystem are in place to promote graduating businesses. Those include Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Agritech Innovation Sandbox and Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s (KPU) Institute of Sustainable Horticulture.

SFU’s AGIS

Simon Fraser University is developing the Agritech Innovation Sandbox (AGIS) that facilitates agile collaboration through a co-creation model where scale-ups and SME companies will develop their product with end-users, experts and multidisciplinary teams tailored to their needs. AGIS will provide on-demand support including collaborative project design, management and supervision of results in partnership with relevant stakeholders. The goal is to reduce upfront costs and barriers to mitigate the risks for agri-food producers and other stakeholders.

KPU’s Institute of Sustainable Horticulture

Where relevant, top-rated graduates may have the opportunity to work with Kwantlen Polytechnical University (KPU)’s Institute of Sustainable Horticulture to conduct field trials involving bio-pesticide or bio-stimulant products.

Timeline

Cohort One

Date Activity
Jan 6 Online Orientation
Jan 11 MVT Training Day
Jan 20 Online Session
Jan 27 to 29 Pacific Agriculture Day (optional)
Feb 1 MVT Training Day
Feb 10 Online Session
Feb 23 MVT Training Day
Mar to May One-on-One Coaching, Mentoring & Training*
Apr 1 Cohort Mingle
May 16 Pitch Event
May 31 Award recipients announced

Cohort Two

Date Activity
Apr 28 Online Orientation
May 2 MVT Training Day
May 12 Online Session
May 30 MVT Training Day
Jun 9 Online Session
Jun 15 Cohort Mingle
Jun 21 MVT Training Day
Jul to Sep One-on-One Coaching, Mentoring & Training*
Sep 12 Pitch Event
Sep 30 Award recipients announced

*Only participates invited to phase two will receive one-on-one mentoring, coaching and networking opportunities

Program Costs

The successful applicants will be required to pay a $500 registration fee and will be invited to an online orientation that allows them to meet the Executive-In-Residence and trainers, and outlines expectations.

Any associated travel or related costs are at the expense of the program participant.

Eligible Applicants

The program is open to organizations with technologies or innovations falling within three agrifood business areas:

  1. Primary production with a technology or innovative approach.
  2. Innovative food products and processes.
  3. Agricultural technology entrepreneurs.

To be eligible for the Ramp-Up program, companies must be incorporated in Canada, have an office in British Columbia and have at least one person working full time who is a resident in BC, must be willing to commit a minimum of two months to training and have paid the $500 registration fee. Further screening will be based on:

  • Products/processes/technology being strategically aligned with the Government of BC’s priorities.
  • Companies that have already conducted research and development and are ready to scale their products to market.
  • An assessment of the company’s management capacity.

Customer Readiness Level

In additional to the eligibility above, companies must score between two and six on the Customer Readiness Level (CRL) scale.

Technical Readiness Levels

An organization’s CRL will be determined based on responses in Part A of the application, again following the completion of the MVT training and finally, for those companies that graduate to Phase 2, at the end of the Mentoring, Coaching & Networking Opportunities session. A company’s progress will be evaluated on their ability to increase their CRL by the end of the Ramp-Up program.

Graduation Criteria

for Mentorship, Coaching & Networking

Participants will be considered to have successfully graduated the Phase 1 MVT session based on attendance at all three MVT sessions, and the completion of their homework assignments on time, in a detailed and acceptable manner.

Invitation to further coaching will be limited to the top six companies in each cohort based on:

  • Advancement of the company’s Customer Readiness Level
  • Feedback from potential customers as to the likelihood of product purchase including its potential cost
  • Evaluation by the instructor, any mentors and the EIR as to the coachability of the participant

Participants that are not invited to Phase 2 will be provided feedback on specific areas that required further work and development.

for Business Development Grant

The top two scoring companies from each cohort will be awarded a Business Development grant of up to $25,000.

Only companies that graduate to and complete the Phase 2 Mentoring/Coaching/Networking sessions will be considered for the Business Development Grant.

Specifically, eligible companies will be evaluated for the Business Development Grant on a combination of their:

  • Performance throughout the program, including:
    • Customer Readiness Level
    • Attendance and participation in coaching sessions
    • Session assignments
  • Pitch deck event presentation, including:
    • Overall market readiness
    • Financial and management capacity
    • Potential for scale up and immediate sales

About the Business Development Grant

The Business Development Grants are awarded to companies to help them achieve successful market readiness and product launch. Grants can only be used for business expenses related to product or technology development activities. Grants cannot be:

  • Used to offset regular operational costs
  • Repurposed for other promotional giveaway or prizes
  • Used to pay off existing company debt
  • Used to provide shareholders or company employee with bonuses or dividends
  • Given to employees or investors for personal use

Companies successful in being awarded the Business Development Grant should be prepared to enter into a binding grant agreement with the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC and expect to report out on how the funds were used and the impacts achieved.

How to Apply

Step One

Online Eligibility Screening (Part A)

Complete the online eligibility screening as an initial assessment of your eligibility based on the program criteria. Information provided in Part A will be used to determine participant eligibility and suitability for the program.

To participate in Cohort 1, Part A is due by Nov 30. 

To participate in Cohort 2, Part A is due by Apr 15. 

Apply

Step Two

Ramp-Up Application Form (Part B)

If your organization is considered for eligible and suitable for the Ramp-Up program, you will be sent an application form requesting further information about your organization and proposed product, process, or approach.

Note: Part B applications are not publicly available. Only those organizations that are considered eligible and suitable for the program will provided with a Part B application directly.

Step Three

Submit Your Application

Once an application has been submitted for consideration, an acknowledgement notice will be sent to the applicant.

To participate in Cohort 1, Part B must be submitted by Dec 6 at noon.

To participate in Cohort 2, Part B must be submitted by Apr 20.

Note: An application is not considered submitted to the program until an acknowledgement notice is received.

Please note that even if an applicant meets all eligibility criteria, the submission of an application creates no obligation on the part of the Investment Agriculture Foundation to provide enrollment into the program.

Step Four

Application Assessment

An application must be complete in order to be assessed. Applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Eligibility
  • Products/processes/technology being strategically aligned with the Government of BC’s priorities.
  • Companies that have already conducted research and development and are ready to scale their products to market
  • An assessment of the company’s management capacity
  • Overall benefit to the British Columbia agricultural/agritech sector

Only successful applicants will be notified.

Note: A waitlist of eligible applicants will be kept on file and companies may be invited to participate if additional spaces become available.

Confidentiality

It is the applicant’s responsibility to identify any information contained in an application that is considered commercially confidential.

Reporting

Information collected during the eligibility screening and application process will be used, in part, to inform on program performance. In addition, program participants will be required to provide a participation report including a short summary of the impact the program had on the participants’ market readiness position. This report will likely take the form of a participant survey shortly after completion of the program.

During the program participants are expected to complete assignments and other reporting as part of the MVT training program. Completion of assignments is a requirement of all participants and is a requirement in order to be considered for Phase 2 mentoring, coaching and networking.

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