B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program

The B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program supports producers and food processors through three business planning streams:

  1. Business Plan Coaching - Application intake is closed and will re-open in Spring 2022
  2. Business Disaster Recovery Planning - Application intake is closed and will re-open in Spring 2022
  3. Specialized Business Planning - Application intake is closed and will re-open in Spring 2022

Applications for the Business Disaster Recovery Planning stream will be prioritized.

What this program offers: up to $3,000 for support from a Qualified Business Consultant to further develop small and new farmers’ business plans and improve business management skills. Funding for support from Qualified Business Consultants will be on a first-come, first-serve basis to qualified applicants until funding has been fully allocated. Access by applicants to a Qualified Business Consultant will depend on individual consultant availability.

Who is eligible: Business entities, including sole proprietors, partnerships, or corporations, who meet the following four eligibility criteria1:

  1. Reported total farm annual gross revenue of less than $30,000 in the previous two years to Canada Revenue Agency. This applies to any agricultural business owned by any of the business entity’s owners, members, or shareholders.
  2. Primary agriculture producer growing or raising fresh food or agricultural products in British Columbia which are intended for sale2.
  3. All proprietors, partners, members, or shareholders must be residents of British Columbia.
  4. Primary agriculture producer who submits a written draft business plan that demonstrates the business has or will generate total annual gross revenues greater than $30,000/year within the next three years3.

1 Additional documentation may be required to demonstrate eligibility.

2 For primary producers engaged in commercial agriculture production annual gross farm income is defined as income from sales of farm commodities including production insurance, crop and livestock sales, and value-added farm products; but does not include income from custom work, (providing services to a person engaged in farming activities, i.e. Providing landscaping)  riding lessons, boarding horses, land and facilities rent, aquaculture, raising of pets, agri-tourism income, sales of forestry products and some agro-forestry products, government program payments, or any other non-commodity income.

3 For new farms such as fruit orchards, berry farms or Christmas tree farms that may take longer than three years to generate revenue, please provide details of the production plan and demonstrate when $30,000 will be reached.

What this program offers: up to $5,000 in business planning services and coaching for individuals and up to $20,000 for groups, from a qualified business consultant, to develop an immediate and long-term recovery plan.

Who is eligible: Business entities including sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, or other associations of persons (including cooperatives) who meet the following three eligibility criteria:

1. You have been impacted by an external event such a traumatic event that interrupts the normal production or flow of operations and puts the stability of the business at risk. Examples include fire, flood, drought, tornado, disease outbreak, COVID-19, death, or illness.

2. You are either:

a) Primary Agriculture

  • Producing fresh food, or agricultural products which are 100% grown or raised in B.C.
  • You reported total annual gross revenues greater than $30,000/year in the previous year to Canada Revenue Agency.

b) Agriculture, Food and Beverage Processors

  • Processing food, beverage, or agricultural products which are processed and packaged in B.C. with 51% or more of the direct cost of producing the product in its final form (i.e. the sum of raw materials, direct labour, variable processing, and packaging) originating in B.C. When the main raw materials are available in sufficient quantities from B.C. producers, they must be used.
  • You reported total annual gross revenues greater than $30,000/year in the previous year to Canada Revenue Agency.

3. You, as the owner(s) of the business, are a resident(s) of British Columbia.

What this program offers: up to $5,000 in business planning and services and coaching for individuals and up to $20,000 for groups, from a qualified business consultant to develop a plan on one or a combination of the following:

  • Business structures
  • Production economics
  • Business strategy
  • Cash flow and financial analysis
  • Value added ventures
  • Risk assessment and mitigation
  • Human resources
  • Succession / Transition planning

Find more information about the eligible activities in the Program Guide.

Who is eligible: Business entities including sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, or other associations of persons (including cooperatives) who meet the following three eligibility criteria:

1. You are either:

a) Primary agriculture producers

  • Producing fresh food or agricultural products which are 100% grown or raised in B.C. AND
  • Reported total annual gross revenues greater than $30,000/year in the previous year to Canada Revenue Agency.

b) Agriculture, Food and Beverage Processors

  • Processing food, beverage, or agricultural products which are processed and packaged in B.C. with 51% or more of the direct cost of producing the product in its final form (i.e. the sum of raw materials, direct labour, variable processing, and packaging) originating in B.C. when the main raw materials are available in sufficient quantities from B.C. producers, they must be used AND
  • Reported total annual gross revenues greater than $30,000/year in the previous year to Canada Revenue Agency.

2. You, as the owner(s) of the business, are a resident(s) of British Columbia.

Stream 1: Business Plan Coaching Stream

Applicants to the Business Plan Coaching Stream can only apply as an individual business, including sole proprietors, partnerships, or corporations.

Step 1: Identify and approach a Qualified Business Consultant on the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries’ program website to work with you on your project and application.  If you have a pre-existing working relationship with a business consultant with whom you would prefer to work on your project, but who is not part of the Qualified Business Consultant list, please contact Program Staff to discuss possible options (Agribusiness@gov.bc.ca or 1-888-221-7141).

  • Section 1: Applicant Eligibility and Information, to be completed by Applicant.
  • Section 2: Business Overview and Self-Assessment, to be completed by Applicant.
  • Section 3: Project Proposal, to be completed by Consultant and Applicant. Optional Kick-off meeting, to be completed by Applicant.
  • Section 4: Declaration and Consent, to be completed by Consultant and Applicant.

Step 2: Complete application in collaboration with a Qualified Business Consultant. 

Step 3: Consultant or applicant submits application AND applicant’s Draft Business Plan to Agribusiness@gov.bc.ca.

 

Stream 2 and 3: COVID-19 Business Recovery Planning AND Specialized Business Planning

Applicants can apply for COVID-19 Business Recovery Planning and Specialized Business Planning as an individual business (sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations or other associations of persons, including agriculture or food cooperatives) or as a group where all members of the group participating in the application must meet eligibility criteria.

Step 1: Identify and approach a Qualified Business Consultant from the list available on the program website to work with you on your project and application.  If you have a pre-existing working relationship with a business consultant with whom you would prefer to work on your project, but who is not part of the Qualified Business Consultant list, please contact Program Staff to discuss possible options (Agribusiness@gov.bc.ca or 1-888-221-7141).

Step 2: Complete the application in collaboration with Qualified Business Consultant.

  • Section 1: Applicant Eligibility and Information, to be completed by Applicant.
  • Section 2: Project Proposal, to be completed by Consultant and Applicant.
  • Section 3: Declaration and Consent, to be completed by Consultant and Applicant.
  • Section 4: Optional Kick-off meeting, to be completed by Applicant.

Step 3: Consultant or applicant submits application to Agribusiness@gov.bc.ca.

Note

  • If you have any questions regarding the process OR selecting a consultant, please contact program staff at Agribusiness@gov.bc.ca or 1-888-221-7141.
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Work started on projects prior to receiving program approval will not be eligible for support under this program.

 

Consultant list and application forms

For Stream 1: Business Plan Coaching

For Stream 2 and 3: Business Disaster Recovery Planning and Specialized Business Planning

Frequently asked questions

This pilot program supports agricultural entrepreneurs who:

  1. Produce fresh food or agricultural products which are 100% grown or raised in British Columbia are intended for sale.
  2. Reported total annual gross revenues less than $30,000/year in the previous two years to Canada Revenue Agency; and

3. Have a written draft business plan that demonstrates the business has or will generate total annual gross revenues greater than $30,000/year within the next three years.

For NEW food processors and other small businesses who are not eligible, there are other resources available including ​ Innovate B.C., Small Business B.C. and Futurpreneur

Agricultural entrepreneurs who reported total annual gross revenues more than $30,000/year in the previous year to Canada Revenue Agency, may apply to the Specialized Business Planning or Business Disaster Recovery Planning streams.

Yes, a draft business plan allows the applicant and consultant to concentrate their efforts on the highest priority business planning and management areas prioritized in your business plan, making the best use of your time with the consultant.

The Consultant and applicant work together. Think of yourself as a partner with personal responsibilities and accountability in the development of your business plan.

Applicant and Consultant to jointly complete a Coaching Record for each session. This will include:

  • 2-4 goals related to key topics and discussion areas for the session.
  • Follow-ups from last session and progress made.
  • Summary of the discussion, including key information and resources shared, points raised, and questions discussed.
  • Action items that are assigned to the Consultant and Applicant.
 

I would like to apply for Business Disaster Recovery Planning support, but I am not sure if the event that has interrupted the normal production and/or the flow of my operations would qualify me for the program. What are our options?

Please contact program staff to discuss the specifics of your application via AgriBusiness@gov.bc.ca or 1-888-221-7141.

The eligible activities are listed here. The program is flexible to focus on different aspects of recovery whether it is financial, strategy, human resources, etc. Possible scenarios include:

  • If you are applying for a loan from a financial institution, you could complete a financial recovery plan to model your cash flow and plan the most effective and efficient way to use the additional capital.
  • If you are adapting to changes in one or more of your sales channels because of COVID-19 impacts, you could apply for a business strategy component to your recovery plan to pivot your business.
  • If you need help with cost of production analysis for new crop and/or livestock choices to pivot your business, mitigate risk and gain access to alternate marketing outlets.
  • If you need help with the development and financial analysis of a value-added venture to process crops and/or livestock that you are not able to market through your previously existing market channels.

The program is flexible to focus on different business disaster recovery projects. Possible scenarios include:

  • The family dairy barn has been burned down by a fire. The farm family thinks its time to get out of the dairy business and start a new venture but isn’t sure where to start. The Qualified Consultant could facilitate discussions with the family for the 
    • Development of a new vision, business purpose and mission statement
    • Preparation of a preliminary assessment (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and goals
    • Exploration and assessment of options for a new venture
    • Preparation of a financial analysis of the new venture
    • Preparation of an implementation plan
  • There has been an accident on the farm, and the family matriarch wants to pass the business on to a successor but hasn’t started a transition plan. The Qualified Consultant could facilitate discussions with the family for the
    • Preparation of a financial analysis for the retirees and the successor (can the fam fund both? What about the non-farming family?)
    • Development of a training plan for the successor (when, where, how)
    • Development of a contingency plan (what can upset the plan, and how to mitigate the risk?)
    • Preparation of an implementation plan

The Ministry actively seeks Qualified Business Consultants with extensive experience in the sector. If you have a pre-existing trusted consultant with the required skill set and expertise for your project with whom you would prefer to work, but who is not part of the Qualified Business Consultant List, please contact program staff to discuss possible options (Agribusiness@gov.bc.ca or 1-888-221-7141).

Funding for the B.C. Agri-Business Planning Program is provided through the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (the Partnership) Agreement, which is in effect from October 1, 2018 to March 31, 2023. You cannot receive support for the same eligible activities under this program more than once during the Partnership funding cycle. The completion and submission of an application form does not oblige the Ministry, its agents, or employees to provide funding for the services; those who have never accessed the program and/or require disaster recovery support may be prioritized.

If approved, you cannot exceed the annual maximum funding contribution of $10,000 per fiscal year (April to March) for eligible individual applicants or eligible applicants with common partners or shareholders.

The maximum funding amount from the Ministry is disclosed in your authorization letter. If the proposed project budget exceeds the approved funding limit, the applicant is responsible for paying the difference to the consultant.

  • For example: Specialized Business Planning: Succession/Transition Project
  • Sometimes additional time/additional resources may be required for a complicated project. A complicated succession plan may involve many family members (in different generations, on and off the farm) who cannot come to an agreement on how to start and/or implement a fair transition plan for the family farm. In this example:
  • If a proposed budget ($7,500) exceeds the Ministry’s maximum allowable funding ($5,000); and
  • If this proposed budget is mutually agreed upon by the applicant and consultant on the application form (before the project starts)
  • Then the applicant is responsible for paying the consultant for all the amount over and above ($2,500) the approved amount ($5,000) in their authorization letter.

The goal is to review applications and respond to applicants within two weeks. In some cases, often when more information is needed, a review may require more time.

Individual projects must be completed within 90 days and group projects must be completed within 120 days. All projects started after April 30, 2021 must be completed by February 1, 2022.

Yes. A group project of two eligible group members is eligible for maximum funding of up to $10,000, while a group project of three is eligible for maximum funding of up to $15,000, and a group application with four or more eligible group members is eligible for maximum funding of up to $20,000. Non-eligible members may benefit from the project, but their membership does not increase the maximum funding available.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the business planning services and coaching and/or the quality of your project, do not hesitate to contact program staff at Agribusiness@gov.bc.ca or 1-888-221-7141.

As per program guidelines, Consultants must submit a draft final report to the Applicant AND the Program Manager (via Agribusiness@gov.bc.ca) for review and feedback a minimum of two weeks prior to the project end date.

Should revisions be requested by the Applicant and/or the Program Manager, we ask the Consultant to complete the revisions and get approval from the Applicant and the Program Manager prior to submitting the final project report, invoice, and signed claims form to the Ministry at the end of the project.

 

CAP