Then-minister Don McRae announces the new Buy BC marketing program last September.
Last November the government announced the reintroduction of the ‘Buy BC’ program – sort of. The name was changed to ‘Buy Local,’ but unlike the program shut down by the Liberal government in the first term of its mandate, Buy Local is a one time event with no commitment past 2013.
Last fall the government committed $2 million to the program, but applicants must match program funding with their own money.
The money can’t be used for capital purchases like equipment and the projects they promote have to feature products that are grown, raised, harvested or processed in the province. The products do not have to be edible, so flowers or pet food and other agricultural products are eligible.
The applications will be reviewed by two organizations: The British Columbia Agriculture Council (BCAC), which will oversee $500,000 of the grants with the remaining $1.5 million to be administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF).
Grants can be a maximum of $100,000 in size, but Peter Donkers, who is looking after the program for the IAF, says most of the applications received this far are looking for much smaller amounts of $10,000.
Only one application has received approval from the program administrators so far. The government announcemented $15,700 given to the BC Cranberry Marketing Commission to promote the berries to consumers and manufacturers.
So far, Donkers says his organization has received 16 applications, but he knows of another 10 or so in progress. He adds, “Because it’s cost shared it is causing the number of applications to be slower than usual.”
Of the applications received five have been approved, another has been conditionally approved, one was rejected and the others are still under review, but he says, “There are a number of high profile applications that haven’t come in yet.”
There is no cutoff for the program. Applications will be considered until funding is exhausted.
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