The Northern Development Initiative Trust is giving research and development of the forest sector a boost.

“The Forest Innovation Fund will provide support to the small and medium-sized businesses that call our communities home, employ our family members and friends and are directly impacted by the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic,” said Evan Saugstad, Board Chair of Northern Development Initiative Trust.

“These grant dollars will help our local resource sector businesses innovate and diversify, supporting jobs that are the backbone of our economy.”

The Forest Innovation Fund provides up to 50 per cent to a maximum of $50,000 in grant funding per project.

Over a two-year period, the fund will provide up to $1 million in grants for small and medium-sized companies and community forests engaged in resource extraction, resource processing and other supply chain activities related to the forest sector.

Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, says the Fund aligns well with the recent $85 million investment by the Province to create the Forest Enhancement Society of B.C.

“Projects eligible for the Forest Innovations Fund, such as innovation in biomass and harvesting techniques, site remediation and enhancing seedling survival will complement wildfire risk reduction activities and reforestation activities that will be undertaken by the Society,” he said, adding that both programs have similar goals: to help extend mid-term timber supply in the Interior.

Eligible companies must be privately owned with less than 500 employees, and have annual revenue of less than $100 million. They are also required to be based within the service area of the Trust.

Examples of eligible projects include innovation in biomass and harvesting and gathering techniques, site remediation advancements, seedling survival enhancement, value-added forest products, new technologies and technology transfer.