Yukon University & Bioenterprise Canada collaborate on agri-innovation

Guelph ON/Whitehorse YT, 11 January 2022 - Canada’s only university north of 60 is joining forces with Canada’s largest food and agri-tech accelerator to advance innovation and commercialization services for the agricultural sector.

Yukon University’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) and Bioenterprise Canada, Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The partnership between Bioenterprise and I&E’s business incubation program, IncubateNorth, will foster collaboration by providing innovation support, resources and commercialization services to start-ups, entrepreneurs, research organizations and businesses in the food and agriculture sector in the Yukon.

“This new collaboration marks a milestone for Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine as we expand into Canada’s north for the first time,” says Bioenterprise Canada CEO Dave Smardon. “As the first agri-tech accelerator in the North, we look forward to bringing the Engine’s services and resources to Yukon University and working together to help grow agri-food innovation in the Yukon and beyond.”

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship department at Yukon University has supported Yukon innovators and entrepreneurs for over 13 years with expertise and funding to help start, grow and market their innovations. IncubateNorth is a business incubation program that assists start-ups and entrepreneurs with shared workspace, support and programming, and is funded by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and the TD Ready Commitment initiative.

“This partnership allows us to support Yukoners in food and agribusiness with access to entrepreneurial, mentorship and investment networks across the nation,” says Lauren Manekin-Beille, Department Head Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Yukon University. “YukonU is committed to providing Yukoners with the tools, resources and allies that support northern, place-based economic development - allowing them to play on the national stage.”

The MOU is expected to offer opportunities for YukonU to work more closely with the Bioenterprise Northern Ontario team, which was established in 2021, on broader collaboration across Canada’s northern regions in support of agri-food innovation.

“We can reach out to ensure companies in outlying and remote areas and Indigenous communities have access to the collective advisory expertise we bring to the North,” says Thora Cartlidge, Bioenterprise Regional Manager for Northern Ontario.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship (I&E) is a Yukon University service that supports innovators and entrepreneurs through funding, resources, expertise and incubation. I&E is located at NorthLight Innovation with funding contributions from Government of Yukon Department of Economic Development and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor).

About Bioenterprise Canada

Bioenterprise Canada is Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine, bringing more than 15 years of industry experience and a national and international network of research institutions, academia, mentors and experts, government, and industry to help small and medium-sized businesses in the sector nationwide Connect, Innovate, and Grow. Through its experienced service partner network, Bioenterprise offers a wide range of expertise and support to its clients, and partnerships with other industries help open doors to new technologies and platforms to help food and agri-tech businesses innovate and grow. Visit https://bioenterprise.ca/ to learn more.

About Yukon University
Yukon University is a flexible post-secondary institution that includes a place and pathway for every learner. Our students are grounded in education and research relevant to the North. Our resourceful and creative graduates are building a resilient, versatile and ambitious future for all northerners.

With over 40 degree, diploma, certificate and trades programs, local learners can access opportunities without needing to leave home—those from across Canada and internationally are invited to deepen their understanding of our rapidly changing circumpolar world. Our 13 campuses are located on the traditional territories of the 14 Yukon First Nations. We respect and honour Yukon First Nations knowledge, worldviews, and educational priorities in every aspect of YukonU.

Dave Smardon
Bioenterprise Canada
519 821 2960