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Alberta to build value-added ag capacity by $1.4 billion

October 1, 2020  By Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (edited)

L-R: Stuart Cullum, Minister Schweitzer, Minister Dreeshen, and Patrick Machacek, vice president, Development and Strategy, Olds College. L-R: Stuart Cullum, Minister Schweitzer, Minister Dreeshen, and Patrick Machacek, vice president, Development and Strategy, Olds College.

Alberta’s government is working to build value-added agriculture capacity and bolster economic activity with an aggressive private investment attraction target of $1.4 billion.

As part of that province’s Recovery Plan, this investment attraction initiative will create more than 2,000 jobs and get Albertans back to work in emerging sectors like hemp, agri-technology and value-added processing of grain, oilseed, plant protein and meat.

“Agriculture in Alberta will lead our economic recovery in Alberta. Alberta’s farmers, ranchers and processors are global leaders in innovation making Alberta the best place in the world to invest,” says Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. “Together, Olds College, SVG Ventures and strategic investors like the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation will deliver on projects that will support Alberta entrepreneurs and strengthen our supply chain.”


Olds College, with an investment of $200,000 from the federal and provincial governments through the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP), will partner with THRIVE’s Canada accelerator and startup program, which focuses on technology-driven solutions to support agriculture and food sectors.

This builds on the Alberta government’s commitment of $1 million, made Sept. 21, to Olds College for its Smart Agriculture Applied Research program.

“Supporting technology startups will help keep Alberta’s agriculture and agri-food sector on the cutting edge of innovation, while creating jobs. Our farmers and food businesses are leading our country on the road to recovery, and our government will continue to invest in them to help them grow and succeed,” says Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

THRIVE will help strategically develop Alberta’s agri-food system by providing guidance on high-value cluster opportunities, supporting startups, increasing Alberta’s exposure to Canadian and international companies, and strengthening supply chains with industry-supported technology.

We are delighted to expand our SVG|THRIVE Innovation and Investment Platform to Alberta and announce our THRIVE Canada Challenge Program in partnership with Farm Credit Canada and Olds College. These partnerships exemplify our focus on global entrepreneurs and continued commitment to solving the critical challenges facing the global agri-food sector,” says John Hartnett, chief executive officer and founder, SVG Ventures|THRIVE.

Alberta’s government is also supporting new startups looking to enter the value-added industry by providing a single-window support for business and product, leveraging the new $15-million lending limit of the Agriculture Financial Services Corporation, investing $25 million in expanding the Agrivalue Processing Business Incubator in Leduc and by investing $0.7 million in fibre and plant based protein processing facilities in Vegreville.

“The Olds College Smart Farm is focused on building and supporting a broad-based agriculture innovation ecosystem that connects researchers, technology companies, producers, manufacturers, retailers and learners to accelerate the development and adoption of technology and practice, and enhance the economic impact of Canada’s agriculture sector,” says Stuart Cullum, president, Olds College. “Olds College’s collaboration with SVG Ventures strengthens Alberta’s platform to support early-stage companies by connecting with SVG’s global network of entrepreneurs and corporate clients that are looking to invest in the agriculture sector here in Canada.”

Quick facts

  • Between 2015 and 2018, value-added processing gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 14 per cent, reaching $3.5 billion, while sales reached $15.5 billion – a 17 per cent increase. These growth rates amounted to more than four times the growth rates in GDP and more than twice the sales values of the rest of Alberta’s manufacturing industries combined.
  • Olds College and SVG Ventures have signed a memorandum of understanding to support THRIVE’s startup program.
  • SVG|THRIVE is a leading global AgriFood investment and innovation platform headquartered in Silicon Valley, Calif. The THRIVE platform invests, accelerates and creates access for entrepreneurs to scale globally and solve the biggest challenges facing the food and agriculture industries.
    • THRIVE was awarded the 2010 AgFunder AgriFood Tech Innovation Award for “Most Valuable AgriFood Tech Accelerator Program.”
  • The Canadian Agricultural Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments, with the aim of strengthening the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products sector, ensuring continued innovation, growth and prosperity.

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