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A Working Title

Posted on February 09 2018 | Author: Molly Gallant

For those of you that read the title of this post and assumed I simply forgot to add in a title and instead left a placeholder there, you would be partially right (everyone knows - titles can be tricky!) but also mistaken. Ever since I began contemplating my career and more recently, taking my first job in the Agri-Business sector, I struggled with categorizing myself and my capabilities into a couple of words.

From a young age, we are asked what we want to be when we grow up. Lawyer, doctor, and teacher were all common answers. And to some extent, a desire to label myself in this simplistic manner has held true through to adulthood. With a background in nutritional sciences and several diverse interests, answering this question can be difficult if not panic-inducing. Upon several occasions, exasperated, I’ve wanted nothing more than to be able to reduce my interests and role to one word, one profession.

Participation in the New Graduate and Mentorship Program through Bioenterprise has offered me the opportunity to work in a role that I struggle to define. However, as I learn and grow, I am becoming increasingly comfortable with this uncertainty.

In writing this post, I was asked to first identify my role. Inevitably, this straightforward question has allowed me to evaluate and consider my work, my role, my employer’s expectations as well as my own goals. Sometimes, when you’re working for a small company, and when you’re as exceptionally lucky as I am, your position is something fluid and unique. I have been working with Henry’s Tempeh now for the past few months and sometimes feel no closer to defining my role as I was the first day I stepped into their shop. Henry’s Tempeh is a small food manufacturing company located in Kitchener, Ontario that produces high-quality, delicious tempeh. Using local, GMO-free and organic soybeans that are fermented, pasteurized and packaged, they produce an excellent plant-based protein alternative.

I was hired to assist with the monitoring of their HACCP food safety program. The more comfortable I became with these responsibilities, the more efficiently I was able to manage them. As I learned more about the company, I became involved with their marketing strategies, business goals and product development initiatives. I’ve even stepped into production on several occasions and just ran my first delivery last week. Interacting directly with the owners and being asked to help with problem-solving issues has contributed to both my personal and professional growth, increased confidence as well as provided an excellent learning experience.

I recall filling out a form for a conference at work one day and of course, being asked to state my position. I cautiously looked to my co-worker Jason for an answer. He simply shrugged, and suggested I make up a title.

I can’t even remember what I put down that day but ultimately, it’s not your position title that is important. More important is the work you do, the people you work with and your own enthusiasm and passion that create your role.

Molly Gallant
Analyst, Henry's Tempeh
Bioenterprise Recent Graduate & Mentorship Program

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The Machine Learning Revolution in Agriculture

Posted on February 07 2018 | Author: Michael Johnson

The use of machine learning in agriculture is growing and providing substantial benefits to the agriculture industry. Machine learning allows computers to adapt to new circumstances similar to a human. This provides the computer with the ability to ‘learn’. This has provided the agriculture industry with self-driving vehicles, systems to identify crop health problems, and weed detection.

Machine Learning Applications in Agriculture

Genetic Engineering: Machine learning has been used in agriculture to determine favourable traits for crops. Machine learning determines the traits needed for plants to survive in specific climates, weather, and soil. In addition, it can also be used to determine how to make plants resistant to insects and diseases, and seeds adaptable to unfavourable conditions. This is performed through deep learning, where decisions are made based on the analysis of data.

Weed Detection: Blue River Technology uses machine learning to identify weeds and apply herbicides. This is necessary to prevent the use of herbicides on areas without weeds. The technology also reduces the waste of herbicides.

Disease Detection: Machine learning is used to identify healthy and unhealthy potatoes through photo analysis. This decreases costs through reducing the use of labour in detecting unhealthy potatoes. Moreover, this technology has been used to identify the health of crops through analyzing satellite images of farmland. The machine learning systems can detect the health of crops based on photo-patterns. As well, they are using this technology to identify healthy and unhealthy cows based on photo analysis. This photo analysis can determine if a cow has a physical health problem.

Self-driving vehicles: Machine learning and computer vision are used to create self-driving farm equipment. Computer vision is used to determine hazards and guide the vehicle through the use of cameras.

Tesla has created self-driving cars that use machine learning and computer vision to drive long distances. Tesla states that “all Tesla vehicles produced in our factory, including Model 3, have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver” (Tesla, 2018). This technology is revolutionizing the transportation industry and will one day make all vehicles self-driving.

Irrigation: Machine learning has been used to perform efficient irrigation through closed loop systems. The machine learning system determines the quantity and start of irrigation based on generated data. This has decreased costs, reduced environmental damage, and decreased water waste.

External to Agriculture

Facebook: Facebook uses machine learning to send personalized advertisements to their users. Advertising is Facebook’s primary source of revenue. Facebook tracks the likes and dislikes of users in order to send personalized advertisements to users based on their preferences. This has improved advertising revenue through higher clicks and engagement.

IBM: IBM created Watson, an artificially intelligent robot that analyzes data. Watson has been used to forecast precipitation, humidity, temperature, and wind. As well, Watson has been used for medical treatment decision making.

Software: Using statistical software such as STATA, R, and Microsoft Excel can provide substantial benefits to businesses. These software products can be used to determine trends in data through regressions. These trends can be used for data-driven decision making in business. This software can create predictions through forecasting and machine learning. For example, R can be used to analyze photos for specific characteristics.

Digital Journal
Precision Ag
Victor John Tan

Michael Johnson
Junior Analyst, Economics
Bioenterprise Recent Graduate & Mentorship Program

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The Perfect Manufacturing Company for You

Posted on January 19 2018 | Author: Kristen Celotto

Just like any partnership in life, finding the right manufacturing company for your product is important. The first step in finding the right company is to understand your needs, whether it be turnkey, sourcing materials, assembly, warehouse, or prototype design. Once you understand your needs, you can find a manufacturer who is capable of fulfilling those requirements.

One big decision that you as a company must decide, is whether you want a domestic or overseas manufacturer. If locally made and sourced is important for you and your brand, you will be only looking domestically. One great resource that I relied on is thomasnet.com for finding manufacturing companies in the United States and Canada. One advantage of local companies is that you are able to meet in person and there may be an opportunity to have a tour of the facility. Whereas the main benefits of overseas manufacturing is the larger number of companies to choose from, and typically it will cost less to mass-produce.

A good thing to observe while exploring different options is if a company has an ISO 9001:2015 certification. This certification shows that the company meets the current quality management system requirements set out by the International Organization for Standardization. These standards are meant to show that the company consistently meets the requirements of their customers. This is not required by companies, nor is it a guarantee of satisfaction, but it is a good thing to keep an eye out for.

Consider beginning your research by creating a list of manufacturing companies that you believe could meet your needs. Searching online and seeking referrals from other companies is a great way to start the process. Personally, I found networking through others, who spoke highly of their manufacturers to be very useful.

Once you have a list or found companies you believe have potential, the next step is to reach out and contact the potential manufacturers. This allows you to find out more about the company, to see if your companies would work well together, not just capabilities, but also on a more human level. You will be in partnership for a good length of time, it is necessary to have mutual trust and respect for one another. When initially contacting a company, ensure to provide only high-level information about your products as you may risk others stealing your ideas. This step allows you to learn if they are able to meet your requirements in areas such as volume of production, timeline, and complexity of product. A simple Google search will produce plenty of websites and blog post that go more in depth regarding questions to ask manufacturing companies.

Collect and compare quotes from companies that you believe would be a great fit, but make sure you truly believe they would work, do not waste your time or theirs. Make sure to always protect yourself throughout this endeavour and protect the information you share. Non-disclosure agreements are critical when discussing your product or ideas.

Finding the right manufacturing company is a vital part of production and bringing your ideas to life. There are many resources on the internet to assist with this important decision – make sure to take your time to do research and talk to the companies.

Thomas Net
International Organization for Standardization
Eventys Partners

Kristen Celotto
Junior Computer Programmer, Farm Health Monitor
Bioenterprise Recent Graduate & Mentorship Program

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How to access the Bioenterprise Seed Fund

Posted on January 11 2018 | Author: Jessica Bowes

Things to consider: Applicant eligibility, project criteria, matching funds, and mentorship opportunities

In March of 2016, Bioenterprise was awarded $4.84 Million from FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation (IBI) program to deliver services to support early-stage innovation and commercialization in Southern Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food industries.

The program is co-delivered with Innovation Guelph, a regional accelerator, which provides services to innovative companies in the advanced manufacturing and social innovation sectors. This continues to be an exciting partnership that has increased accessibility to expertise and resources critical for success in the sectors identified above.

For the last three years, both organizations have worked collaboratively to support start-ups and SMEs successfully move along the commercialization path, allowing them to grow through the generation of revenues, job creation, and add-on investment. Support activities include mentorship, access to specialized technical expertise and/or industry-specific business advisory services, as well as access to seed financing.

With the fourth open call for proposals launching January 11th, here are a few considerations for the application process.

Applicant eligibility

To be eligible for this Program, companies must be:

  • Headquartered in Southern Ontario

  • Incorporated in Ontario or federally

  • Innovative and/or have a unique agricultural or agri-food innovation

  • Able to demonstrate matching funds up to a maximum of $30,000 in order to receive seed


  • Able to demonstrate benefit to provincial agriculture and/or the producer-processor


  • Able to, or have potential to, address Canadian or North American markets

Companies must not have previously accessed other IBI seed funding programs. A complete list of these programs can be found in the Program Guide.

Project criteria

Eligible companies can apply for seed financing on a project basis, seeking matching funds up to $30,000.

In order to be considered, applicants must clearly describe the purpose of the project, or problem being addressed, as well as projected outcomes relating to the overall growth strategy of the company through a formalized application process. Projected impact on revenues, job creation, potential for investment, and cost savings related to water, waste, or energy will be crucial considerations.

There are ten (10) eligible project types, including:

  • Business Management & Strategy

  • Technical Expertise Development (IT or Engineering)

  • Leadership Training

  • Talent Recruitment

  • Branding & Marketing

• Process Efficiency & Optimization
• New Product Development
• Prototyping & Product Piloting
• B2B Sales & Business Development • Investment Readiness & Preparation

Applicants will also be asked to develop a Project Milestone Plan and Activity Budget to support the project objectives. For more information regarding eligible activities and the application process please click here to view the 2018 Bioenterprise Seed Funding Program Guide.

Matching funds

Seed financing is available on a 1:1 matching basis, and will be provided if the applicant provides a financial statement or a letter from their financial institution demonstrating matching funds up to a maximum of $30,000.

Mentorship and commercialization support services

The final, and potentially the most important consideration for the Bioenterprise Seed Fund refers to mentorship and commercialization support services that are available to applicants.

Eligible applicants will be connected to the appropriate sector-specific Analyst who will provide feedback on the project plan outlined in the Letter of Intent (LOI) in preparation for development of the full application. LOI’s will be accepted until February 13, 2018.

Successful LOI applicants will be invited to complete a full application, which will be accepted until 2:30 pm EST on February 20, 2018. If interested, please get connected or apply today.

Guelph Tribune
Ontario Farmer

Jessica Bowes
Manager Business & Technology Analyst Group

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Exporting to the European Union

Posted on January 04 2018 | Author: Alex Mitro

As small and medium enterprises (SMEs) expand their businesses and explore new markets for their products, many begin to consider exporting to the European Union (EU) and its Member States. Since the EU is treated as a single market with access to 28 Member States (of which, 19 share the same currency), the potential market access is appealing. This is very applicable within the agriculture and food technology sector, which was estimated to be $2.4 billion dollars in 2013. However, the export process can be challenging as each Member State retains the right to dictate their own tax, importation laws and fees on all imported products.

The goal of this blog is to provide an overview of some of the requirements you will be asked to comply with when exporting to the EU as well as some of the available resources that may assist you and your company throughout the export process.

Every importable product within the EU has a specific Combined Nomenclature (CN) code, which is comprised of 10-digits. The first six digits are specific to the product code system implemented globally, known as the Harmonized System (HS) (sometimes referred to as a Taric code). The product CN code, which is specific to only the EU, is required to be present on all exporting documents as it indicates whether or not the product can enter the target Member State and what importation fees are placed on the product. To classify your products’ HS and CN codes, the EU Taxation and Customs Union and the Canada Post websites, are great resources for doing so. Some products may be harder than others to classify due to the nature of the product and in these situations contacting a Customs Trade Commissioner might be the best solution. They can be contacted at any time to assist you in obtaining the correct CN number for your product, as well as guide you through the exporting process and answer any additional questions you may have about exporting in general.

To find your products HS code, follow the provided link.

Once you have obtained the correct CN code for your product, you are able to use the EU’s Taric system to determine the EU importation restrictions and tariff fees (importation fees and associated taxes) placed on your product in each EU Member State. This is exceptionally helpful in determining which EU countries you may consider expanding to first, as well as what additional export documentation may be required to do so. In addition to the product CN code, all products exported to the EU must also be accompanied by a commercial invoice, detailing the items packaged in the shipment; a CETA Declaration of Origin; a B13 Export Declaration Form, if the product is valued over $2000 CN, and any other supporting documents that may be required on a Member State-specific basis. The commercial invoice containing all of this information can either be self-created or can be generated by regulatory and compliance company who specializes in exporting.

Furthermore, many companies and treaties have been established to assist SMEs with successfully exporting their products to the EU. To name a few:

  • The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is an established free-trade agreement between Canada, the EU, and its Member States that allows almost all products to receive a reduced (and sometimes zeroed) tariff, minimizing the costs associated with exporting.

  • Export Development Canada (EDC) was also established to provide small companies with insurance and financial assistance when exporting to new markets by providing access to more capital during the process.

  • Other industry-specific initiatives exist as well, for example, the Canadian Food Exporters Association (CFEA) assists companies in the food, beverage and ingredient product industry to increase their total export sales through improved marketing and business strategy development.

Although exporting to the EU can be complicated, knowing your products CN and HS code, properly preparing the export documentation, understanding the services and programs available to assist you through the process and having a general understanding of the EU export landscape will greatly simplify the process.

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Alex Mitro
Junior Analyst, Escarpment Labs
Bioenterprise Recent Graduate & Mentorship Program

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Food Fax

Posted on December 20 2017 | Author: Admin

Read the lasted Food Fax newsletter from International Food Focus Ltd.’s President, Carol Culhane.  


©2016 International Food Focus Ltd., 211 Carlton Street, East Office, Toronto, ON M5A 2K9 E: focus@foodfocus.on.ca
Food Fax is archived at www.foodfocus.on.ca 

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The Smart Barn: Precision Agriculture in the Dairy Industry

Posted on December 01 2017 | Author: Liam Polsky

The growing global demand for animal protein has resulted in an increased number of animals raised on Canadian farms. Further consolidation and integration of various livestock industries have caused an increase in the number of animals per farm, coinciding with a decrease in the availability of quality farming staff. Precision agriculture, the use of automated mechanical and electronic equipment to reduce human labour, is being adopted rapidly, as farmers are now able to continuously monitor and access animal-level data anytime, anywhere. Precision agriculture has become integral to farm operations including animal identification, feeding, milking, reproductive management, egg collection, cleaning and hygiene, as well as managing barn environmental conditions. As a result, farmers are saving time, require less labour, and improving yield, safety and efficiency. The improved traceability of products, as well as selective ability for preferred farm management practices. Ultimately, the true benefit of precision livestock management is the various technology's ability to monitor individual animals, allowing farmers and veterinarians to tailor services directly, and not to the entire animal population.

What kind of precision livestock products are being used today?

Animal Identification and Behaviour:
Animal identification is an integral part of livestock management, as it is important for production and performance records, biosecurity, health and reproduction management, and financial bookkeeping. Classically, branding was the most unique way to identify an animal, but the inability to distinguish individual animals, time to brand, as well as animal welfare concerns, have made this system archaic. The most common identification technologies are based on Radio Frequency Identification systems (RFID) or accelerometers.

RFID: This system is comprised of a transponder, receiver, and software that communicate through a digital network. The transponder is a tag worn by the animal usually in the ear, is activated by the signal broadcasted by the antenna on the receiver. The antenna emits radio frequency signals in a relatively short range, and once in communication with the transponder, can identify the animal, and then record information such as; time spent feeding, amount of feed/water consumed, time spent milking, or animal weight. Once the data has been accumulated and stored, the processing software turns this information into recognizable and useful format for the farmer.

Accelerometers: An accelerometers is an electromechanical device that will measure acceleration forces, and is able to determine the spatial orientation of the device, as well as the object's moving speed. This information can be translated into quantification of the animal's physical behaviour, and can be built out into a daily activity profile. Individual accelerometers worn by each animal allows the software to build a specific behaviour index for each animal, allowing farmers and veterinarians to manage and provide proactive health services for animals based on any deviation from their baseline index. In livestock husbandry, an animal's behaviour profile has been used to determine health status, reproductive readiness, weight gain and physical profile, as well as welfare indicators, such as amount of movement, and standing and lying time.

Automatic feeding systems have become increasingly popular across the farming landscape, due to their ability to ease workload, save time, and manage larger groups of animals. Automatic feeders are popular in poultry and swine production, as well as dairy and beef farming. Farmers have reported that their animals are less stressed during feed delivery, as less dominant animals are able to have improved access to more quantities of better feed. Moreover, automatic feeders are able to complement the animal's natural behaviours as the cows are able to eat at their desired times, as opposed to the farm worker's schedule.

Automatic milking systems have been commercially available since the early 1990s, and have been considered to be one of the biggest innovations in the dairy industry. Automatic milking systems use laser-guided teat position sensors, a robotic arm for automatic teat-cup application, and a gate system to control cow traffic. The voluntary milking system allows the cow to decide her own milking time and interval, as opposed to being milked as part of a group at set times. A large majority of farmers have viewed their transition to automatic milking systems as successful, citing decrease mastitis and lameness rates, as well as improvement in farming work-life management.

Innovation has been sweeping through the livestock industry at increasing speeds, with every component of farming becoming increasingly automated. The technological adaptation has changed how the farmers care for their animals, as they are now integrating large amounts of data to make individual based decisions. Ultimately, farm management has shifted from an art to an app, with more accessible data. In the second blog series, I will expand on the shifting relationship between the farmer and animal through increased husbandry innovation, and how animal welfare, consumer perceptions, and farming management will help guide the future of livestock innovation.

Hamandani, H. and Khan, A.A., 2015. Automation in livestock farming-A technological revolution. International Journal (Toronto, Ont), 3:1335-1344.
Tse, C., Barkema, H.W., DeVries, T.J., Rushen, J. and Pajor, E.A., 2017. Effect of transitioning to automatic milking systems on producers' perceptions of farm management and cow health in the Canadian dairy industry. Journal of dairy science, 100:2404-2414.

Liam Polsky 
Analyst, Animal Health

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Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference: A Powerful Source for Growth

Posted on November 20 2017 | Author: Hanne Nauwelaerts

The majority of my work experience has been obtained on my family farm. Growing up and working in this environment motivated me to pursue  an education in agriculture; I am currently a third-year Food and Agricultural Business student at the University of Guelph. This past summer I completed my first co-op work term as Operations Assistant at a farrow-to-finish hog operation. In this role I was responsible for managing QuickBooks, creating an Environmental Farm Plan, and developing a Nutrient Management Strategy. Since then, my passion for agriculture has led me to my second co-op work term and current position at Bioenterprise Corporation where I am the Strategic Partnerships Assistant. I work alongside the Program Manager, Corporate Relations to support the Bioenterprise Partnership and Membership Programs to help agri-tech entrepreneurs grow their business. The learning opportunities that I have been exposed to in this role allowed me to realize the great possibilities that exist within agriculture.

As part of my role as Strategic Partnerships Assistant, I was invited to join the organization's Farmer Connection Taskforce (Ag Connection); a committee where producers, entrepreneurs and academia join forces to develop new innovations in agriculture. Since connecting with producers and industry representatives is a critical component of this committee, my supervisor and the rest of the Farmer Connection Taskforce team encouraged me to participate in the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference Student program.

Iris Meck Communications Inc., the creator and host of the event, seeks companies to sponsor young women in agriculture studies at Canadian universities and colleges to attend the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference. The conference provides students with excellent skills and tools needed to be an effective leader, examples of future careers, and networking opportunities with producers, entrepreneurs, board members and executives. In turn, students are asked to describe their education, previous work experience, why they are interested in attending the conference, and how they expect the conference to benefit their career objectives. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the students to attend this event and incredible learning experience.

Attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference allowed me to once again verify that I am on the right path, as agriculture is a great industry to be a part of. One of the most significant references that stood out to me was a quote by Mrs. Ngoma that Maimouna Abbass of Woods Empire Investments shared during her presentation: "Once or twice in life you need a doctor or a lawyer, but you need a farmer three times a day." This important concept was mentioned more than once throughout the conference. Jolene Brown, a farmer and family business consultant, delivered an engaging presentation and pointed out "if it weren't for agriculture and farmers, we'd all be hungry and naked." From Amanda Elzinga- Pugh, an Account Manager at Merck Animal Health, I learned that setting goals that seem unachievable push you out of your comfort zone. When setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, she suggests replacing realistic with risk-taking. This goes hand in hand with Jolene Brown's reminder that "if we always do that we've always done, we will be out of business." This new approach to goal setting will not only have a direct impact on your personal growth, it also has the ability to positively impact your community as it will open doors to new possibilities. Overall, the speakers that presented at the event offered quality advice to women in agriculture.

In conclusion, the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference exposed me to valuable networking opportunities and speakers who have made great advances in agriculture. Due to this exceptional experience, I would highly recommend this event to women looking to enter the agricultural industry. The conference is a great source of inspiration that has the power to motivate anyone in attendance to grasp the opportunities available to women in agriculture. I would, therefore, like to take this time to thank Iris Meck and her team for organizing such a significant and inspiring event.

The Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference took place on October 30th and 31st at the Hilton/ Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls.

Hanne Nauwelaerts
Strategic Partnership Assistant

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Working Virtually with Technology

Posted on November 10 2017 | Author: Alex Hurley

In the digital age, it's increasingly common for businesses to lean more heavily on technology. This transition has allowed for increased communication, productivity and overall employee happiness. Technology has made it possible for employees to work remotely, whether that be from satellite offices, home, or the ability to work virtually for collaborations. This movement is accomplished through text, video, and audio applications. The goal of this blog post is to outline some excellent applications that you may not of heard of, which could be significantly useful for your team when working virtually.

1. Slack: Slack is a free communication application and is used often in the start-up world. Slack allows team members to chat and share files with ease. It is a robust application where a user can privately chat with a team member or have group chats on a particular project. If the company is completely virtual, the user could create a channel for off topic discussion to facilitate water cooler conversation. What you might not know about Slack is that it also integrates a high-quality video chat, audio chat, and screen sharing. In the chat window on Slack, click the telephone icon in the top right and it will open an audio call with the team member. If a user would like to share your camera or screen, they can do so. These features can be used in team chats as well but a subscription fee is required.

2. Zoom: Zoom is a web conference application that excels in video conferencing and webinars. The base model for zoom is free, however if a user has specific needs, they have the ability to upgrade to certain packages for a fee. Zoom is dynamic yet simple to operate. Once a user logs in under their account, they can start a video conference. Once the conference has begun, a link is generated. Anyone they share that link with can join the chat. Zoom conferences incorporate both video and audio chat, which allows for flexibility. If an invitee doesn't have access to a computer or Wi-Fi, they can simply call into the meeting. Zoom also allows for the ability to share screens and record meetings, which is useful when giving presentations or webinars.

3. TeamViewer: TeamViewer is a remote connection application that uses cloud-based technology. The base model is free if it's for personal use only, however if a corporation would like to use TeamViewer, a license needs to be purchased. TeamViewer works under a basic premise- a user who wishes to remote connect to another computer sends a link, and the user on the computer to be connected to, opens the link and accepts the invite to remote connect. TeamViewer is extremely useful in situations where an application or computer needs to undergo troubleshooting to solve a particular issue or to replicate a particular bug. The business package offered by TeamViewer is an affordable way for technology start-ups to troubleshoot user bug reports, if they arise.

Even though I operate out of the Halifax satellite office, I have the ability to work closely with the excellent Bioenterprise team by making use of invaluable applications, like those outlined above. 

Sources: http://ow.ly/3h0k30guybN

Alex Hurley
Analyst, Aquacultre

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Bioenterprise B.C. hosts Vancouvers First Agri-Tech Pitch Night

Posted on October 25 2017 | Author: Jessica Taylor

Agri-tech and agri-food companies from across the Lower Mainland came together on October 18th for Vancouver’s first Agri-tech Pitch Night! The event was co-hosted by Bioenterprise B.C. and Volition Events to provide companies with the opportunity to receive feedback and coaching on their 3-minute pitch.

“This was a great opportunity to showcase British Columbia’s growing agri-tech and food sector,” said Jessica Taylor, A/Regional Manager of Bioenterprise B.C. “ The sector is growing rapidly and B.C. has such a unique ecosystem of support for these types of ventures. Companies need more opportunities like this for both feedback and exposure.”

It’s not often that entrepreneurs have the chance to practice their pitch in front of an expert panel and receive constructive criticism and recommendations.  Each panellist provided a unique perspective, and while feedback varied they provided some great tips that entrepreneurs should remember:

1. Bait the Hook: whether you have 5 minutes or 30 seconds, your pitch is meant to pique the interest of investors and other potential partners. Don’t worry about telling them all of the details, that’s what the follow-up conversation is for.

2. Ask!: Whether or not you are doing a raise be sure to let the audience know what you are looking for. Do you need a mentor? Connections to strategic partners?

3. Be Clear: Make sure that your innovation, competitive advantage, and ask are all very apparent to the audience. Practice and receive feedback as often as possible.


The pitch night brought together several companies within the ag-tech sector, including:  500 Foods, Burnaby Organic Greenhouse, Coast Protein, Compy, Hagensborg Chosolates (Truffle Pig), MyFoods Market, NuWave Research Inc., and Wise Bites.

Winners from Pitch Night were selected by an audience vote following the company pitches. The top three placing’s included:


Sustainable cricket protein powders and bars



Sustainable and ethically sourced chocolates



On-site solutions in vacuum microwave dehydration for food

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