For companies that have been a part of a Protein Industries Canada project, the involvement of the cluster’s staff is nothing new. From the preparation of the expression of interest through to project wrap-up, Protein Industries Canada’s staff are dedicated to ensuring a project is as successful as possible—much of which comes down to appropriate project management.
To help ensure collaborative project management, Protein Industries Canada ensures each consortium has access to one of the cluster’s project management team members and finance team members. Between their expertise and that brought by each of the consortium members, projects are more likely to reach their milestones and add to the growth of Canada’s plant-based food, feed and ingredients sector.
The exact nature of Protein Industries Canada’s contribution to the project’s success varies, but always comes down to providing the support consortium partners need most.
“Consortium members that haven’t had much formal experience with project management will have an opportunity to ask questions and get project management input from our team and other consortia members,” explained Protein Industries Canada Project Advisor Steph Lunde. “Some things that we’ve helped with include project management software or cloud suggestions, setting up milestones in an app for easier tracking and collaboration, or how to create a Gantt chart. We have a flexible approach, as long as we can see progress on your milestones and deliverables.”
Regardless of the type of support staff offers, their involvement in the project comes with benefits for all consortium members. Lunde mentioned the ability for cluster staff to connect consortium partners with new suppliers or clients as one of the most significant.
“When Protein Industries Canada is involved in the project monitoring and execution, we are better able to assist with industry connections,” she explained. “If there are roadblocks along the way, chances are that we have a connection through our Member group that may be able to help. We really enjoy being matchmakers here at Protein Industries Canada.”
As the cluster transitions into its next round of projects under its second fund, Lunde expects Protein Industries Canada’s role in project management—and the benefits that come along with it—to continue. What will change is the makeup of consortiums themselves.
Under the cluster’s first fund, technology projects required consortiums of two or more companies, with at least one SME. While still requiring an SME, projects under the second fund will now require consortiums of at least three companies. The change will help further connect the plant-based value chain and lead to increased product commercialization, which Lunde said is a common goal among project partners.
“Our partners are passionate about furthering the Canadian agrifood industry, which makes the conversations surrounding the project optimistic and future-focused. The types of approved projects vary in our program, which makes every day and every project different and fascinating,” she explained. “I really enjoy seeing these projects come together with our development team, and then the torch is passed to a Protein Industries Canada project management team member. Ideas are great, but as the project is progressing, I get to see firsthand the initial goals of the consortium come to life in the form of shelf-ready plant-based products, improvements in equipment or a new farm technology software, for example.”
For more information about Protein Industries Canada’s technology program, including how to apply, please visit www.proteinindustriescanada.ca/technology.