North Van AI firm gets $3-million grant

The North Shore may not be known as an agribusiness destination but something here is growing.

North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson announced Thursday that Lower Lonsdale-based Ecoation Innovative Solutions will receive a $3-million grant aimed at increasing crop yields.

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The artificial intelligence firm produces a pest management and yield prediction robot that patrols the inside of tomato growers’ greenhouses using lights, lasers, chemical measurement and machine learning to detect early signs of stress in plants.

“At Ecoation, we believe access to clean food is a human right. Our made-in-Canada technology democratizes healthy eating. Our platform captures and digitizes the knowledge of growers and translates the signals of stressed plants before symptoms become visible,” said Saber Miresmailli, founder and CEO of the company. “Ecoation merges the art and science of food production. We are extremely honoured to receive this investment, which will enable us to take our Canadian technology to the global stage while creating more jobs and opportunities here in Canada.”

The company currently employs 25 people in North Vancouver but that is expected to jump by another 23 following the government grant from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, set up to help Canadian entrepreneurs deploy globally competitive clean technology.

“We are boosting growth in Canada’s clean technology sector to foster the growth of Canadian technologies and companies. The technology developed by Ecoation will have a positive economic and environmental impact on the ever-growing farming industry,” Wilkinson said in a release.

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