The B.C. Agrifood & Seafood Market Development Program is no longer accepting applications.

As part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, this program officially closes on March 31, 2023. All program dollars have been fully allocated to projects.

The B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Market Development Program helps BC agri-food producers, agri-food and seafood processors, co-operatives, and associations to identify, access, target and develop market opportunities to increase their sales outside of BC.

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Program Overview

This five-year cost-shared program, funded through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, supports the development of marketing skills and plans, the creation of market research and export-focused promotional materials, and participation in export-focused market development activities, including reaching new customers through interprovincial / international trade shows.

The 2022/23 program cycle is the final year of this federal-provincial initiative.

Bottled beverage going through the production line

Program Goal

The goal of the Program is to support BC organizations at each stage of export development by providing cost-shared funding for:

Eligible Applicants

Eligible applicants are producers, processors, cooperatives, industry associations, boards and councils that meet the following minimum criteria:

  • have a head office in BC or be entitled to do business in BC;
  • be selling or marketing a product that is grown or processed in BC;
  • contribute a minimum percentage of the total project budget in cash;
  • meet minimum total annual gross revenues (i.e. sales) for the most recent two years.

See the details below.

Eligible Activities

A B.C. Agrifood and Seafood Market Development Program application must include one or more of the following activities to be considered for the program:

  • Market information and research;
  • Market development planning;
  • Marketing skill training;
  • Export development activities (all products must be market-ready).

For a complete breakdown of all eligible activities & costs, see below.

Eligible Applicants

To be considered eligible for this Program, applicants must:

  • have a head office located in BC or be entitled to do business in BC;
  • sell or market a product that is:
    • grown in BC (i.e. producing fresh food, beverage, or agricultural and seafood products which are 100% grown, caught, or raised in BC); or
    • processed in BC (i.e. Processing food, beverage, or agricultural and seafood products which are processed and packaged in BC with more than 51% of the product’s main ingredients produced in BC (Note: in cases where the main ingredients are not available in BC in sufficient quantities, the food must be processed and packaged entirely in BC)
  • contribute a minimum percentage of the total project budget in cash towards eligible project costs as follows:
    • 50% for BC-based primary agriculture and/or cooperatives; agriculture, food and beverage, and/or seafood processors
    • 30% for industry associations, boards, or councils
  • have total annual gross revenues (i.e., sales) greater than $30,000 per year for the most recent two consecutive years. This criterion is not applicable to Industry Associations, Marketing Boards or Councils;
  • register their organization through IAF’s online portal and confirm their eligibility to apply for BC Agri-food and Seafood Market Development Program funding.

Aquaculture, Seafood and Fish Processors

Fishers and seafood harvesters are not eligible for program funding.
Seafood processors and associations representing them are eligible to apply for all program activities, however these activities must focus on / target international markets. Activities that focus on / target the Canadian market are ineligible.

Eligible Activities

The eligibility of project activities is dependent on geographical scope: market research and planning activities can focus on the BC market, the interprovincial and international markets, whereas export market development activities must focus on interprovincial and international markets only.

Market Research & Planning Activities:

  • Hiring a pre-qualified consultant to conduct market research studies, including primary and secondary data collection
  • Purchase existing market research studies or data from qualified research firms
  • Quotes and a completed Project Overview Form must be provided by your pre-qualified consultant to include with your application for funding
  • Hiring a pre-qualified consultant to develop a marketing plan, an export plan and/or a branding strategy
  • Quotes and a completed Project Overview Form must be provided by your pre-qualified consultant to include with your application for funding
  • Supporting permanent marketing staff to complete eligible marketing skills training courses at educational institutions
  • Supporting the ability of industry associations to deliver Marketing Skills Development workshops and seminars to their members

Reminder:

  • When applying for any export development activity to market or promote a product, the product must be market ready.
  • Seafood processors and associations are eligible to apply for activities that focus on / target international markets. Activities that focus on / target the Canadian market are ineligible.

Export Development Activities:

  • Delivery of promotional marketing in print, radio, television, paper direct mail and digital advertising to promote specific products in export markets
  • Hiring a third-party social media contractor for community management, social outreach, content curation, and analytics to promote specific products in export markets
  • Hiring a third-party contractor to design, develop, translate, print and/or produce brochures, rack cards, flat sheets, shelf-talkers, wobblers etc. to promote specific products in export markets
  • Incremental costs for adding specific export-focused elements to website content; can include addition of a landing page, designing, developing, translating content for international markets to a maximum of $5,000
  • Basic travel and accommodation expenses to attend an event for a maximum of two staff members (note: the event must be a business-to-business event)
  • Virtual tradeshow registration fees
  • Booth registration fees; basic booth accessories (power, table, chair, carpet);pop-up booth rental cost
  • Cost to ship samples to the show
  • Hiring a certified interpreter or third-party contractor for the duration of the show
  • A detailed trip itinerary is required if your travel extends beyond two days.
  • Hiring an interpreter for the meetings, cost of shipping samples, basic travel and accommodation expenses for up to two staff representatives
  • All buyers’ meetings must be directly tied to attendance at a trade show. Buyers’ meetings cannot be a stand-alone activity in a project.
  • Cost of shipping product samples, travel and accommodation expenses for up to two company representatives
  • Travel and accommodation for representatives of foreign governments in association with federal Market Access Secretariat activities
  • Hiring a contractor to provide promotion or demonstration services that includes cost of renting space (if applicable)
  • Rental of pop-up booth
  • Equipment rentals
  • Purchase of plastic or compostable serving utensils and cups
  • Shipping costs to and from site

Ineligible Activities

The following activities and costs are not eligible for cost-sharing:

  • Tradeshow fees exceeding $20,000 (funding contribution)
  • Tradeshow attendance for more than two shows
  • Meals and per diems
  • Buyers’ meetings as a standalone activity (i.e. not directly related to tradeshow attendance)
  • Accommodation and travel expenses exceeding basic room rates and taxes. Room service, mini-bar, movies, spa treatments, business & first-class flights, hotels exceeding 3-star rates are not eligible expenses.
  • Activities that take place before the approved project start date or after the project completion date. The one exception applies to deposits paid prior to the project start date for booth space at tradeshows.
  • Any costs associated with obtaining product certifications, licenses or related fees required to be deemed as ‘market ready’
  • Market Information and Research and/or Market Development Planning activities that are carried out by a consultant that has not been pre-qualified under this program.
  • Cost of producing/packaging product samples
  • General administrative and operational costs such as:
    • Salaries (including project management, coordination, or project delivery, including social media, by salaried staff),
    • Packaging materials, equipment, office expenses, business cards, rent and other on-going costs related to day-to-day business incurred by the applicant, or firms represented by the applicant (hiring staff, holding a conference or annual meeting, etc.);
  • Costs associated with giveaways or promotional products, including those planned for re-sale such as branded glasses, coasters, buttons, bags, clothing, aprons, etc.
  • Expenses for attending consumer-focused tradeshows or events
  • General industry events that are not focused on market development such as annual general meetings
  • Costs associated with developing and submitting applications
  • Any activities that may be considered to denigrate other products, commodities or regions (e.g. farmed vs. wild salmon; organic vs. conventional agriculture)
  • Costs where the payee is a government (i.e. government of BC, Canada, etc.)
  • All product-related expenses and brand development such as labels and coupons
  • Capital costs including:
    • Land, buildings, fences, equipment, tools, packaging plate costs, seed, livestock
    • Computers and software
  • Costs associated with marketing tactics (such as billboard or signage installation, vehicle leasing, brochure display racks)
  • Entertainment and hospitality costs (purchasing meals, beverages, liquor or tips for clients, buyers staff, hiring entertainment or purchasing gifts for clients)
  • Stakeholder engagement or membership drives
  • Professional or membership dues or fees
  • Requesting funds to support or sponsor a third-party activity
  • Costs related to material purchases that can be repurposed (tradeshow booth, cameras, phones, LCD TV displays, furniture etc.)
  • Website and IT system upgrades, building a website, hosting fees, buying or implementing an e-commerce tool/site
  • Cannabis-related activities
  • Direct income support
  • Lobbying or influencing any level of government

Ineligible Seafood Industry Activities

  • Processors or associations focusing activities on Canadian markets

Project Funding Amounts

To be eligible, applicants must be appropriately registered, licensed and/or certified to conduct business in British Columbia.

Program funding is limited, all applications will be assessed on a competitive basis and only those that score highly against the evaluation criteria will go forward for funding.

Industry associations, boards and councils

Industry associations, boards and councils are eligible for up to $75,000 in program funding per year. The program can cover up to 70% of total cash costs of the project; the remaining 30% must come from the applicant. Funding caps (maximum funding contribution) for each activity type are as follows:

Activity Maximum Funding / Year
Marketing Information and Research $50,000
Market Development Planning $50,000
Marketing Skills Training $10,000
Interprovincial/International Export Market Development Activities

  • Two tradeshow maximum (virtual or in-person)
  • $20,000 funding cap for tradeshow attendance per applicant; which excludes $5,000 funding cap for all travel-related costs
$50,000

Producers, processors and cooperatives

BC food producers, agri-food and seafood processors and cooperatives are eligible for up to $50,000 in program funding per year. The program can cover up to 50% of total cash costs of the project; the remaining 50% must come from the applicant. Funding caps (maximum funding contribution) for each activity type are as follows:

Activity Maximum Funding / Year
Marketing Information and Research $20,000
Market Development Planning $15,000
Marketing Skills Training $1,000
Interprovincial/International Export Market Development Activities

  • Two tradeshow maximum (virtual or in-person)
  • $20,000 funding cap for tradeshow attendance per applicant; which excludes $5,000 funding cap for all travel-related costs
$50,000

Note: Seafood processors and associations are not eligible to apply for projects with activities that focus on / target interprovincial (Canadian) markets.

Videos

To help you with your application, we’ve created a few videos.

Producers, Processors and Cooperatives:

Industry Association, Boards and Councils:

Program Timeline

Application

Before submitting an application, please review all the information listed below paying special attention to the Notifications & Obligations. Requirements of a funding recipient and the criteria for how your application will be evaluated are outlined. Applications to the BC Agri-food & Seafood Market Development Program are competitive. Each complete application received by the application deadline will be scored and ranked according to the evaluation criteria and funded on that basis.

Before you apply

All applicants to the 2022-23 funding cycle must confirm they are eligible to apply for funding. Please create an account and register your organization well in advance of the closing date. You will be able to complete an eligibility check once you have done so.

Completed application forms must be submitted through IAF’s online portal by 4:30pm PST on December 9, 2021. Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted. Once submitted, your application cannot be changed.

Webinar

New this year! The IAF Team is hosted a BC Agri-food & Seafood Market Development Program webinar for you to learn more about this cost-shared funding program. Watch the recording:

Confirm Your Eligibility for Cost-Shared Funding

All new and returning applicants must confirm that they meet the minimum program requirements by completing an eligibility check through IAF’s online portal. Create a user account and register or update your organization before completing an eligibility check. After completing an eligibility screening, applicants will be notified of the maximum amount of funding they are eligible to apply for and can proceed to the application section. Application forms will only be available to those applicants who have successfully completed their eligibility screening.

Consult Program Guidelines

Please review the program information to ensure you understand the program objectives and what your organization is eligible for. Consult the list of ineligible costs (above) to ensure that your project is fully eligible and ready to be assessed.

A complete Program Guide is available for download. If there is a discrepancy between the Program Guide (PDF) and this webpage, the webpage takes precedence.

Engage a Pre-Qualified Consultant

If you are looking to include Market Research or Market Development Planning activities as part of your application, you must hire a consultant that has been pre-qualified for this program. They will be able to help you assess what you need and provide you with a quote for their services. A Project Overview Form must also be completed by your pre-qualified consultant providing a description of project activities and associated costs. This form can be requested below in Resources and must be submitted through the online portal along with your completed project application.

Gather Quotes for Large Budget Items

Activities that cost over $5,000 require supporting quotes. Please ensure you upload quotes to the online portal together with your application form. We are aware that these quotes may expire before the project begins on April 1, 2022; however, we require them to verify the details of your project expenses.

Quotes are not required for budget items less than $5,000.

Complete a Project Application Form and Budget

NEW! Starting Fall 2021, IAF has consolidated the application form and budget template into a single fillable PDF application form. This form must be filled out using Adobe Software to retain your application details (i.e., Adobe Reader or Adobe Pro). A free version of Adobe Reader can be downloaded if it is not already installed on your computer.

Your funding application will consist of:

  1. One fillable PDF application form that details your project activities, objectives, timelines and project budget.
  2. Quotes for expenses over $5,000
  3. A Project Overview Form, required only if your project includes Market Research and/or Market Development Planning activities with a pre-qualified consultant

Applicants are encouraged to include only activities that they are confident will be completed on time and within budget. IAF Program Staff will be providing several resources to address any questions and assist you with the development of your funding application. Check the resource section below for a list of all available resources. Consult calls will be limited with booking priority given to new applicants and those who have not received funding in the past.

Completed applications must be submitted through IAF’s online portal by 4:30 pm PST by December 9, 2021. Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted. Once submitted, your application cannot be changed.

Ready to Apply?

The 2022/23 funding application window is open until December 9, 2021 at 4:30pm

applications closed

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Considerations for Evaluation

  • If the applicant has had a project funded by IAF previously, did they complete all of the project reports on time?
  • Were they responsive and professional in their communications with IAF Staff?

Considerations for Evaluation

  • If the applicant has had a project funded by IAF previously, did the project meet its stated objectives?
  • Were the activities completed on time and within budget?
  • Did the applicant request multiple revisions to the project for items that were within their control?

Considerations for Evaluation

  • Has the applicant completed a marketing and/or export plan?
  • To what extent is the marketing plan fully developed to support either product marketing in Canada or export marketing internationally?
  • If they have not completed any marketing research or export plans, are they applying for funding to develop one?

Considerations for Evaluation

  • Are the project activities well defined with clear timelines, clear deliverables, etc.?
  • Does it seem that the activities can be completed within the allotted budget and timeframe?
  • Do the activities align with program objective(s)?

Considerations for Evaluation

  • Does the budget contain any ineligible costs under the program?
  • Are budget line items reasonable and within industry standards?
  • Are large budget items (i.e. $5,000 and more) supported by quotes?

Considerations for Evaluation

  • Will the project activities help the applicant expand their market reach outside BC in the following two ways:
    • Extent to which sales are increased through project activities;
    • Alignment with program objectives

Considerations for Evaluation

  • The timeframe given for activities is reasonable

Notifications & Obligations

Funding Notifications and Contracts

Funding is awarded on a competitive basis and the budget is limited. Only a limited number of projects will be approved. Complete applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed and scored against the program evaluation criteria and adjudicated by the Technical Review Committee in February 2022.

If an application is approved, IAF will inform the applicant of the details of the decision and any associated terms and conditions via email. The applicant will then enter into a Contribution Agreement (contract) with IAF that outlines the obligations of each party for the approved funding period. If an application is not approved, the applicant will receive a written response from IAF via email with a reason for the decision.

Funding Acknowledgements

All marketing and communications materials produced as part of your project require approval to ensure program funding has been acknowledged appropriately. Communications materials must be submitted to IAF (communications(at)iafbc.ca) for approval before they are produced.

If a program client does not submit their communications materials to IAF for approval before they are produced/distributed, they risk losing reimbursement funds.

Reporting Requirements

Successful applicants will receive a reporting template along with their fully executed Contribution Agreement before the project start date: April 1, 2022. This template will be used to complete both Financial and Activity reporting requirements for your project. Reporting deadlines will be outlined in each funding recipient’s Contribution Agreement. All project activities must be completed and expenses fully paid by or before February 24, 2023 or according to your project’s completion date.

Expenses are paid for upfront by the funding recipient and reimbursed by IAF according to the approved cost-share ratio for your project (50/50, 70/30). Funding reimbursements are made following the submission of paid invoices and a Financial Report, which includes payment information for all expenses to be cost-shared under this program.

If you are unable to submit your report on time, please notify IAF as soon as possible.

Changes to Contracted Projects

Once a contract for the project has been established and fully executed, we are not able to make repeated adjustments to the approved budget or set of activities. Each project is allowed one opportunity to make a project change due to extenuating circumstance. Any changes to projects under contract will need to be approved in writing by IAF before they are made. Activities undertaken that have not been pre-approved are not eligible for cost-sharing.

Resources

Market Development Program Guide

All applicants are encouraged to review the 2022-23 Program Guidelines to ensure they understand all eligibility and application criteria.

download

Pre-qualified Consultants

List of service providers that have been pre-qualified to provide Market Research Services and/or Strategic Market Development Planning Services for your funded project.

view

Eligible Training Courses

List of pre-approved courses that can be included in applications requesting funds for Market Skills Training.

download

Project Overview Form

Need a Project Overview Form? Contact us to request a market research and/or market development planning form.

request a form

Book a Consultant Call

Consultant calls are available between Nov 24 to Dec 8, 2021. Priority is being given to first time applicants. If you are interested in booking a call, please follow the link and complete the form to express your interest.

complete form

Have a Question?

Our team is here to support you, contact us today! Please remember to upload your draft application and budget to the online Portal before requesting a consult call.

contact us

Market Development Program Brochure

Download the program brochure for an overview of the Program

download

Frequently Asked Questions

All applicants, regardless of whether or not they have applied for and received funding from IAF in the past, need to confirm their eligibility for the program through IAF’s online portal.

Consultant calls are available between November 24 and December 8. Priority is being given to first time applicants or those that have not received funding in previous years. If you are interested in booking a call, please follow the link above and complete the form to express your interest.

Funding is awarded on a competitive basis. Complete applications submitted by by the deadline will be reviewed and scored against the program evaluation criteria, and adjudicated by the Technical Review Committee in February 2022.  All applicants will be notified via email of funding decisions.

Not all applicants will be successful due to the oversubscribed nature of this program and limited funds.

Approved project activities (expenses) cannot take place before the contracted start date: April 1, 2022*. Project competition dates are unique to activity/workplans. All activities must be completed, paid, with final project reports submitted to IAF by February 24, 2023.

*Exceptions will be made for tradeshow registrations.

Information about your proposed activities and expenditures should match receipts/invoiced expenses you would be including in a future expense claim.

For example: the activity details for paid advertising should include name of service provider or contractor, # adverts/months/hours, cost per ad, name of magazine or social media platforms etc.

In “Step 4 – Attachments” of the Application section of Portal, you will be able to upload your application form and supporting documents. Note, each attachment that you would like to submit with your application must be loaded as a separate note/attachment under the section “Supporting Documents”.

When applying for cost-shared funding to support export development activities, it is expected that the eligible applicant’s product is ‘market-ready’. Market-ready refers to an organization that has its licenses, permits and insurance documents in place so it can market/sell its product(s) legally. The product also meets the required quality standards for export and have SKUs and labelling in place.

No. The $20,000 cap per applicant for tradeshow attendance includes registration fees, booth costs, set-up fees etc. for a maximum of two (2) tradeshows. The $5,000 cap per applicant is for all travel-related costs (airfare, transportation, accommodation etc.).

All cost-shared expenditures must satisfy the eligibility criteria outlined in the Program Guide. Eligible project activities and expenditures are grouped by cost category: 1) Market Information & Research; 2) Market Development Planning; 3) Export Development; 4) Marketing Skill Training.

Please review the list of eligible/ineligible expenses, including those expenses deemed as “in-excess”.

No. Only those consultants that have been pre-qualified by the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries to conduct Market Research/Information and/or Market Development Planning activities will be eligible for cost-sharing.

Please refer to the Program Guide for complete details.

All Export Development activities must target markets outside of British Columbia (interprovincial/international).

Market Research and Planning activities, however, may focus on the B.C. (domestic), interprovincial and/or international markets.

If your project is approved, project payments will be released upon receipt and validation of all invoiced expenses for activities completed.

Only eligible, approved expenses will be considered for cost-sharing; a percentage of the claimed expense will be reimbursed according to your project’s funding ratio.

The application form is available for download through the online portal.

Once an applicant has successfully completed program eligibility screening, the Application Form is available for download in “Step 3 – Program” of a new application. Simply click the link in the text to download.

Yes. Whether you will be attending a tradeshow in person or virtually, the $20,000 cap applies to attendance at a maximum of two (2) tradeshows during the 2021-22 program cycle.

Funding provided by:

CAP Logo, Province of BC Logo, Government of Canada Logo

Please note: the Government of BC may, from time to time, give instructions to IAF in relation to the delivery and administration of this program. IAF must and will comply with those instructions.