The first part of the Growing Forward 2 grant program is open for applications, as we discussed in an earlier blog post. For for-profit companies, that part is the collaboration projects. Collaboration projects bring two or more companies together in an application for funding. There will be a lead applicant and collaboration members and the benefit of working with some of your customers or suppliers is that you both win. The grants for collaboration projects can cover up to 50% of applicable costs, whereas if you go for a grant individually (those applications will open in September) the most you can gain is 35% of your project.
Note that this grant is not just a traceability grant. It is not meant just for you to apply and get support for implementing traceability software. As a company that sells a traceability tool and traceability training and services we are still very excited about this grant. Why? Because we have always believed that through successfully implementing a system for traceability, you will realize so much more business value than simply regulatory compliance. Often, our customers had not perceived of the value the project could accomplish at the outset. This grant focuses on the outcomes every business owner want to achieve—to gain profitability by retaining and ideally adding more business inside and perhaps outside of your province or Canada. That’s what most business owners want, to increase profit and grow their business.
How do you increase profit?
You can sell your goods for higher prices or lower your costs. To get the market to pay higher prices you have to differentiate and offer a better product, but sometimes in a tight commodity market increasing prices is not an option. Therefore to make more money, you need to lower costs.
How do you do it?
You could produce more output with the same people, reduce overhead and become more efficient. Something like Minotaur, traceability ERP is just part of what you can apply to use this grant for. Minotaur offers an ability to gain more control over your entire business by tying together everything in one system, giving you traceability, better costing, better QC and risk management, allowing you to maximize productivity of your staff and scale up as you access new markets. But you can use the grant to train people in your company, to reduce your energy expenditure, to develop markets…all things designed to help you become a more profitable company.
This grant is offered in two phases. The first is Capacity Building and the second is Project Implementation. First you get help developing your plan and then you get approval of your implementation costs.
In the Capacity Building phase, you plan out what you are going to do and why and how you feel it will help you improve your business in one of the key six areas (Environment and Climate Change Adaptation, Market Development, Assurance Systems (food safety, traceability and animal welfare), Animal and Plant Healthy, Labour Productivity Enhancement and Business and Leadership Development). Minotaur offers services to help you prepare a plan, assessing where you are now and ways you can improve your efficiency of labour, reducing paperwork, removing duplicate entry, adding technology on your plant floor or office. Often our customers know they want to improve but being able to have someone with over 20 years of experience observe their current processes and note down exactly where those improvements can be achieved and how, can help you envision what’s possible and give you the justification you need for how technology can achieve a healthy return on investment and help you grow your business to be more profitable.
In the Implementation Phase, you take your plan and you go to work making it a reality. When you have implemented your plans, you assess how you did against your plan and where you realized the gains.
Why would you want to collaborate?
It’s simple, collaborating allows you to work with key partners to both grow and benefit one another. To collaborate, you have to agree to share information that is relevant to your partnership. For example, if you are a vegetable processor and you team up with a vegetable grower, you may provide yield information back to that farmer that can help them better plan and improve their growing. Perhaps they share what fields the vegetables they are shipping you were grown on and you then process those vegetables as a batch sharing the yield back to the grower. Over time, the grower could see what fields produce the best yields. Perhaps they are trying different growing techniques and that information can help them to improve their overall yields in future seasons. Plus, you each get 15% more toward your project than you would if you apply separately.
The pre-proposal application form in Ontario is just 3 pages long. We at Minotaur can offer a no-obligation first appointment/discussion with one of our Consultants to review your starting point and provide big picture ideas of where you could gain improvements. That discussion can provide you with ideas for where you could achieve gains for completing the pre-proposal. Growing Forward is a Canadian Federal program but is administered by provincial bodies so each form may differ but the overall objectives are nationwide. Let us at Minotaur help show you how having one system to store your information can help give you a leg up on your competition.
Minotaur Software is a provider of enterprise software for manufacturers and distributors. We can be reached by phone at 1-800-668-1284 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .