I am always surprised when the time comes to write my annual year-end message. It seems that in a blink another year has passed. And while at times, it may seem we are not moving as quickly as we should be, in these moments of reflection it becomes clear that we are making progress.
It has been a good year for Protein Industries Canada.
In March, in Budget 2022, we learned that the Global Innovation Clusters (formerly the Superclusters) have been renewed for another five years. This was a pivotal moment for Protein Industries Canada and our Cluster colleagues, as it provided the support and reassurance to fully grow and establish these burgeoning sectors for Canada. Thank you to each of you who supported us during the recapitalization process, and thank you to the Government of Canada, and Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne, for the continued trust.
By summer we had fully committed our first tranche of funding, and we are now managing a portfolio of nearly half-a-billion dollars. We are starting to see the results of those projects with the commercialization of new products and processes. Next time you’re in a grocery store or ordering off a menu, you will see some of the products and ingredients that came because of a co-investment from Protein Industries Canada. Our focus now is on wrapping up the projects from the first round of funding and building off the foundation created by those projects to further the industry.
In the Fall of 2022, we submitted our proposal for funding for the next five years of programming under the Global Innovation Cluster. During the creation of the proposal, we talked to more than 300 members of the ecosystem to ensure that our strategy was rooted in the needs of industry. Thank you to everyone who took the time to be a part of an engagement session and help guide the creation of our proposal. A summary of our submission can be found here. The basis of our proposal continues to be rooted in innovation along the value chain, with an increased focus on ingredient processing, GHG emissions, commercialization and company scale-up. We expect to announce our new funding in early 2023, with an intake for new projects to begin shortly thereafter. We will again be heading out to connect with our members to help catalyze collaboration and create partnerships.
This year also saw an increased international presence for Protein Industries Canada. Throughout the year, I had the opportunity to travel to the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Egypt for COP27, France and the Netherlands. We also hosted the first-ever Plant Forward, where we welcomed delegates from 11 countries. I am honoured to be able to represent Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredient sector on the international stage and tell our story. And our story is resonating. When I visited the Netherlands in October, I was amazed (and honestly pleased) at how much they knew about Canada and our ecosystem, and at their interest in working with us.
As we look forward to 2023, I am filled with excitement and hope for the future. We have come a long way in the last four years, yet I believe we are just getting started. I am looking forward to launching our second round of co-investments and making progress on The Road to $25 Billion, and mostly continuing to be able to work with each of you.
On behalf of the entire team at Protein Industries Canada, thank you for your continued support. May you all have a happy holiday season, and all the best in 2023.