THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay-based start-up has won the Northern Ontario Innovation Challenge run by Bioenterprise Canada, a network of entrepreneurs, accelerators, and service partners that promotes innovation in the agri-tech and food industry.
BioNorth Solutions has developed a line of microbe-based products that encourage plant growth, including in crops such as wheat and barley.
As the grand prize winner, the company receives $5,000 and an upgraded membership to Bioenterprise Canada which will provide one year of business mentorship and networking support.
Another Northwestern Ontario business, Agri-Tech North of Dryden, was awarded second place.
It's said to be the first-of-its-kind year-round wholesale-scale grower of fresh produce in the Northwest.
TECC Agriculture Ltd., a precision agriculture comany in New Liskeard, finished third.
Both these runners-up will also receive upgraded access to Bioenterprise Canada.
The Thunder Bay area was well-represented in the competition, as My-Pride Farm –a producer of locally-raised meat – boutique fruit winery Northern Vinter Inc., and Cramer Dairy Farms of Slate River were also among the seven finalists.
"We congratulate all our winners and are really pleased with the level of interest in the challenge and the quality of participants that came forward," said Bioenterprise Canada CEO Dave Smardon.
The competition is part of Bioenterprise Canada's Northern Ontario pilot hub project that was launched last year as a single source of agri-food sector networking and business acceleration services.
Funding comes from FedNor's Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation Fund.