Ag-West Bio: A catalyst and connector for Saskatchewan’s bioscience industry

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Are you building an agri-food business in Saskatchewan,
looking for connections, training or support? We can help!

Are you an investor looking for opportunities in the agri-food sector?
Learn what Saskatchewan has to offer by contacting Ag-West Bio.

We grow biobusiness in Saskatchewan

What’s special about Saskatchewan?
Saskatchewan is home to one of the most vibrant bioscience innovation clusters in Canada, at the heart of the country’s agricultural biotechnology sector.
Centred at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) campus and Innovation Place technology park in Saskatoon, the research cluster includes public and private research organizations, such as Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Light Source, Global Institute for Food Security, Global Institute for Water Security, National Research Council Canada, the Saskatchewan Research Council, the Toxicology Centre, and the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO). Off campus, the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre is a key player in the value-added sector.
With the support of this cluster—along with a business-friendly provincial government that promotes science-based policy—the bioscience and agri-food sectors are growing, with new companies emerging around the province.
Ag-West Bio is a catalyst and connector for the provincial bioeconomy—the province’s bioscience industry association. Located at Innovation Place in Saskatoon, we work with industry stakeholders, innovators, and investors to help bring research to market, and to assist local agri-food start-ups or companies who want to relocate to this region.

What we do:
We support businesses
We catalyze initiatives
We create connections
We promote science

Support for businesses
Ag-West Bio helps move research to market and grow agri-food business in the province.
Combining expertise and experience, we provide personalized input and a suite of services tailored to a company’s unique commercialization needs.
We provide a centralized hub for linking private business with market knowledge, advisory input, mentoring, and guidance. And we provide linkages to research and market networks.
We can help start-ups advance their business plans based on opportunity and feasibility, which they can then use to gain investors and strategic partnerships.

Ag-West Bio’s Technology commercialization Fund
There is a crucial stage that start-up companies need to navigate, often called the “Valley of Death,” when they are not yet able to attract venture capital, but they’re beyond start-up investment. This is the stage that Ag-West Bio’s Technology Commercialization Funding is meant for.
Companies that qualify for Ag-West Bio funding have undergone a rigorous due-diligence process, which leads to investor confidence, enabling investee companies to leverage investment dollars.
Ag-West Bio financing is in the form of flexible and patient capital, and targets initiatives where start-ups (or expanding agri-food companies) show that a clear pathway to commercialization has been established, with suitable return on investment and significant benefit to Saskatchewan.

Catalyzing initiatives
Saskatchewan’s bioscience research and development cluster continues to grow. Exciting new technologies are emerging from this cluster, such as digital agriculture, imaging, biologicals, and the growth of the plant protein sector.
By staying up to date with research and commercialization activity and market trends, we recognize opportunities when they arise. Ag-West Bio acts as a catalyst, making connections and encouraging collaboration so the province can benefit from those opportunities.
Recent Ag-West Bio initiatives include the Protein Industries Canada supercluster (PIC) and the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership. We are currently involved in the development of the Saskatoon Food Cluster, with the goal of supporting the creation of more food and ingredient companies in the province.

Filling the gap in Saskatchewan’s agri-food innovation pipeline
Agri-food start-ups have unique challenges. They often need highly specialized equipment and staff, have high upfront costs, and face a long road to market entry and revenue generation.
To address those challenges in Saskatchewan, Ag-West Bio joined forces with the Global Institute for Food Security, Innovation Place, and the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre to create the Global Agri-Food Advancement Partnership (GAAP), located at Innovation Place in Saskatoon.
Officially launched in December 2021, the GAAP provides facilities, mentorship, equipment training, and funding to early stage, homegrown companies, as well as international clients looking to establish a presence in Western Canada.

Creating connections
Business is built on relationships. One of Ag-West Bio’s roles is to help people make the connections they need to grow their businesses.
To do this, we bring groups together in many forums, including hosting meetings and workshops, as well as organizing tours for international visitors.
Ag-West Bio manages the Agricultural Bioscience Innovation Centre (ABIC) Speaker Series, where experts from around the world inspire and teach entrepreneurs and the public about bioscience innovation. Past speakers have included Dr. Jennifer Doudna, Nobel Laureate and biochemist, and the co-inventor of CRISPR gene editing technology; Brent Zettl, president and CEO of ZYUS Life Sciences; and Curtis Frank, president and COO of Maple Leaf Foods. The Spring 2022 event on April 19 features Sylvia Wulf, president and CEO of AquaBounty Technologies.

The Knowledge Farm
Is a new event series that we co-host with Innovation Place to encourage our community to explore all kinds of agri-food topics. Watch the calendar at theknowledgefarm.ca to discover exciting learning and networking opportunities coming your way – in person at the Boffins Event Centre or from the comfort of your own computer.
Take advantage of networking opportunities we offer. Our Weekly Update and online event calendar can keep you up to date!

Open communication
Keeping information moving is an important aspect of business development. In the bioscience sector, information must flow along many lines—from researchers to entrepreneurs, investors and consumers. Visit our database of Saskatchewan agri-food organizations at saskagrisource.ca.
With good communication networks, entrepreneurs can discover potential partnerships and learn from others with more business experience. People who have already navigated the path to commercialization are usually happy to share their knowledge.
Visit Ag-West Bio’s website for information about Saskatchewan’s bioscience organizations and activities. Check out our blogs and subscribe to our quarterly e-magazine, the Bio-Bulletin. Find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook.

Get connected, stay informed
The Ag-West Bio team is working to grow the bioeconomy in Saskatchewan—and you can be a part of it!
As a member, you support our efforts to promote Saskatchewan’s bioscience capacity. Keep us aware of your needs so we can work for you. Knowing your challenges, we strive to keep our government informed so the sector can flourish. Visit the website to learn more. www.agwest.sk.ca

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