Global Business Innovation Programme in Canada – Agri-Food

Innovate UK seeks companies who are involved in developing innovations to support the alternative protein sector for a market visit to Canada.

Opportunity Details


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Innovate UK will fund and organise flights, accommodation, in-market travel, and conference fees for successful applicants, who will also benefit from an intensive 9 to 12 months three phased programme and bespoke support from an Innovation and Growth Specialist throughout.


Innovate UK

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Note: This opportunity is fully funded support and not monetary funding.

Innovate UK is inviting ambitious companies to participate in the Global Business Innovation Programme. This consists of a preparation phase, a six day innovation visit focused on agri-food and a post-visit exploitation workshop. Each business is supported by an Innovate UK EDGE Innovation & Growth Specialist to help maximise the potential of being part of the programme and beyond. This initiative will be delivered physically and could include virtual activities.

We would welcome applications from companies who are involved in developing innovations to support the alternative protein sector in (but not limited to) the following areas:

  • Plant-based and alternative proteins: alternative protein sources for healthier and more sustainable diets, including functional groups such as lipids for food product formulation.
  • Adding value / enhancing quality: innovations to improve the nutritional quality (e.g. functional foods with specific health benefits), consumer acceptability (e.g. taste, texture), sustainability, and safety of alternative protein and plant-based products.
  • Preservation, packaging and storage technologies: to increase shelf life including for healthy convenient foods and nutritious perishable foods.
  • Co-product stream management: innovations to add value to co-product streams produced during processing of raw materials and ingredients (e.g. crops) or the food manufacturing process.

Download a flyer with further information.

  • A GBIP has three stages:

    Prepare for the market

    Preparing for the market includes the cohort being briefed by sector and market experts on, for example, cultural aspects of conducting business in that country. Delegates receive help to find business partners and arrange meetings and are advised on best practice including the management and protection of their intellectual property.

    Visiting the market

    Visiting the market provides opportunities to attend pre-arranged meetings and activities in order to better understand and maximise the opportunities that the visit presents.

    Exploiting the opportunity

    Exploiting the opportunity is arguably the most important aspect of the programme. To maximise the opportunity, participating companies are given bespoke one-to-one support from an Innovate UK EDGE innovation and growth specialist to help develop and implement an action plan.

    The Global Business Innovation Programme operates on a competitive basis and businesses selected are required to participate in all three stages (some or all of which may be online).

  • To apply, you must:

    • Be a UK-based innovation-led company with ambitions to grow and internationalise
    • Be a company with fewer than 500 employees
    • Be able to attend and complete all activities (various dates, March to September 2024)
  • Canada is home to a vibrant start-up culture and a strong ecosystem of world-leading agriculture and food companies. It is the 5th largest agricultural commodities exporter in the world, with the sector benefitting from an abundant supply of natural resources including diverse plant, animal and marine life.
    Agri-food is a strategic priority for collaboration and was a founding pillar in the MoU signed between DSIT (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology) and Global Affairs Canada.

    Plant-based protein is a key area of focus for Canada. As part of Canada’s Budget 2022, $150 million was earmarked for Protein Industries Canada (PIC). This builds on the previous $173 million entrusted to Protein Industries Canada, through the Global Innovation Cluster Program to advance innovation in plant-based food and ingredients. Having completed successful programmes to Canada in the agri-food sector, Innovate UK is looking to build on promoting collaboration and partnerships. Bilateral funding partnerships have been established between Innovate UK and PIC and this Global Business Innovation Programme will strengthen collaborations between UK SMEs and the wider Canadian alternative protein ecosystem to support a competitive industry sector

  • Explore Canadian partnership opportunities focused on alternative proteins, with a focus on plant-based proteins.

    Develop a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Canada.

    Find collaborators and partners and develop your network in the UK and globally.

    Improve your company value proposition to international partners and investors.

  • Register for the applicant briefing event on 14th November 2023.

    Closing date for application: 5th January 2024

    Two-day pre visit workshop: 6th – 7th March 2024

    Market visit: 13th – 20th April 2024

    Post visit workshop: 23rd May 2024

    For more information, assistance with your application or to discuss accessibility needs, please contact the global team at


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