If I think back to this time one year ago, I was the lone employee of Protein Industries Canada.
I was alone in my office, wishing for a Christmas miracle, a manual on how to build a Supercluster to appear on my desk.
The manual never appeared, but we did start to figure things out. And while we have experienced some bumps along the way, we are making progress. We truly believe we get better every day. This is largely due to the support and insight from industry and the expertise and commitment of our Board of Directors.
Looking back over the past year we have come a long way:
- We have built out a strong, dedicated team, who are passionate about the work they do. Much of our success comes from them and I want to thank them for their vision and commitment.
- We now boast a membership of more than 170, representing a strong cross-section of the sector from across Canada and the world.
- April 18 - We launched our first call for Expressions of Interest which resulted in 40 EOIs with a total project value of more than $340 million.
- Throughout the spring we went on the road with our Transformation Tour with stops in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge and more than 600 people attending.
- May and June – We supported bringing two international Bridge2Food Summits to Canada, with more than 300 people attending the two events.
- June 24 – Our first Annual General Meeting saw 170 people gather in Calgary to hear Arlene Dickinson talk about the importance of innovation in Canada’s agriculture sector and participate in our first Pitch Day.
- June 26 – We announced our first project! The consortium of Botaneco Inc, Corteva and Rowland Farms will work to commercialize a new processing technology that will yield a variety of new oil and protein.
- July – We dove into the Ecosystem activities and built out our strategy for each eight of the priority areas.
- September 13 – Our second round of Expressions of Interest closed. This time we saw 19 projects submitted valued at $133 million.
- October – Our Chief Technology Officer, Chris Anderson went to France and The Netherlands to continue to develop partnerships, with a specific focus on building the relationship between Canada and the EU as a supplier of high-quality plant protein and global research partnerships.
- November – Our Chief Marketing Officer, Tiffany Stephenson, traveled to India to attend the Canada – India Business Foundation event to explore opportunities for our members to better engage the Indian market for products and technology.
- As of December 1, we have six Eligible Project Selection Committee approved projects, with a total project value of over $60 million. Our pipeline contains an additional 18 projects currently going through the process. We will share more information on these projects early in the New Year.
When one looks back, there is much to celebrate. We have come a long way in a short 12 months. But we truly believe we are just getting started.
We are excited for the New Year and the opportunities that exist for our sector. We have recently completed our Science Plan and will be hosting several workshops to help inform how we fill the gaps and reach our true potential. Our Ecosystem Strategy continues to gain traction and we will continue to work with partners to help implement the strategy and mobilize the industry.
In closing, I would like to thank everyone for their support, guidance, and patience over the past year. The Protein Industries Canada Team will be attending many events in the New Year and I look forward to continuing working with each of you.
I hope that each of you has time to unwind and can take the opportunity to spend some quality time with family and friends over this holiday season.
Best Wishes for 2020.