ELORA – The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) has launched its Rapid Response for Business Development (RRBD) which will provide up to $10,000 to support Ontario-based agricultural businesses to help them advance their market opportunities .
“In addition to the classic GRAS philanthropy, which included things like agricultural and environmental scholarships for young people entering higher education, and community grants, we decided to look at impact investing” , said Katie Giddy, vice president of operations for GRAS, on the phone.
“It’s basically how we can take some of the money that we have and put it back into the agricultural and environmental community in a different way, to set up some of the for-profit entities to be successful.” They are mostly entrepreneurs in the space looking to design innovative products, so the industry leadership thought to thrive.
The program is designed to enable businesses, preferably those located in Wellington, Waterloo and Perth counties, to respond quickly to global market opportunities.
They will provide $10,000 through the initiative to support Ontario-based agriculture, agri-food, agribusiness and cleantech businesses as they work with established business relationships to advance business opportunities and secure sales of their innovative products, processes or technologies.
“We saw this opportunity after the pandemic where companies looking to grow and are innovative often need to sell their products outside of their hometown, whether in Canada or around the world,” said Giddy.
“RRBD is designed to help with travel expenses to put entrepreneurs in front of their potential customers. Our funding isn’t huge, but we hope it will help inspire getting the products into the hands of a user. »
Giddy further noted that GRAS’ global impact investing philosophy is that they want to keep incredible intellectual property in Canada and they want to retain talent in Canada; they want local communities to thrive.
“We need to nurture Canadian entrepreneurs and provide them with the support they need to compete in the global marketplace,” she said.
In partnership with CanLead Solutions, GRAS has committed $50,000 in year one funding as part of a multi-year commitment to the program.
Applications are open from April 5 and will remain open until all funds are allocated.