Enterprise Machine Intelligence and Learning Initiative

Logo of Enterprise Machine Learning Intelligence and Learning Initiative

The Enterprise Machine Intelligence and Learning Initiative (EMILI) is an industry-led non-profit organization established to accelerate the growth of the agri-food industry in Manitoba and the other Prairie provinces by promoting digital agriculture and digital agriculture technologies.

EMILI's expertise is based on its membership and its connections to the digital agriculture, plant protein industry, and general agri-food sector. EMILI has also developed links with numerous academic institutions and organizations from across the technology sector. EMILI's vision is to lead the development of Manitoba's Digital Agriculture Ecosystem through its four strategic pillars:

  • Innovation and Research
  • Intelligent Technology Integration
  • Skills, Training, and Talent Development
  • Capital Enablement

Innovation and Research

Sustainable Protein Action Framework Alignment: Innovation

EMILI partnered with the University of Winnipeg in 2019 to create a project that combines academic research and industry innovation. Research partners Dr. Chris Bidinosti and Dr. Chris Henry oversee the dataset's continued expansion into the 2021 growing season. The project continues to:

  • generate a robust database of millions of labeled images of prairie crops and weeds, including wheat, canola, soybean, and fava bean
  • deliver an accessible dataset that will enable Manitobans to adopt and adapt to innovations and compete in the global market

Photo of a robotic arm conducting tests in an agricultural field

Intelligent Technology Integration

Sustainable Protein Action Framework Alignment: Information & Knowledge

EMILI's Technology and Talent Program launched in the spring of 2021 with the Digital Agriculture Asset Map. The project aims to:

  • maintain a database that brings together information on industry members, post-secondary institutions, digital agriculture courses, researchers, and their respective research and support resources for technology and development and work-integrated learning programs
  • facilitate connections across Manitoba's agri-food value chain, providing appropriate access to relevant, reliable, and usable information, knowledge, and intellectual property
  • create a space that embraces interdisciplinary approaches to research to advance sustainable protein initiative objectives

Closeup photo of a seedling breaking ground in an agricultural field

Skills, Training, and Talent Development

Sustainable Protein Action Framework Alignment: Workforce

EMILI is collaborating with Protein Industries Canada (PIC) to develop a program that will introduce youth in kindergarten through Grade 12 to the career opportunities available to them in the plant protein, agri-food, and digital agriculture sectors. The program will be delivered over three years by post-secondary student-educators with a critical focus on Manitoba. The project aims to:

  • ensure Manitoba has a workforce that is equipped with the necessary skill sets to support and accelerate innovation across the sustainable protein sector
  • develop an awareness of the opportunities in the sustainable protein sector to grow a workforce of qualified and talented people
  • direct the program toward Indigenous and other under-represented student groups that are excited to lead, support, and expand the sustainable protein sector
  • build capacity and foster a competitive business environment as Canada works toward positioning itself as a global leader in the supply of plant-based proteins


Sustainable Protein Action Framework Alignment: Branding, Communication, and Marketing

In 2020, EMILI co-founded the Manitoba Digital Agriculture Table. The table brings together 40 representatives from many of Manitoba's key agriculture companies, government organizations, and post-secondary institutions. The table has defined digital agriculture as the application of intelligent technologies to any or all of the components of the agri-food value chain before, during, and after on-farm production.

The table is committed to:

  • sharing their expertise to grow a sustainable protein brand that distinguishes Manitoba products
  • building trust through developing our collective agriculture capacity
  • inspiring valuable action through all agri-food industry sectors
  • continuing to identify priority areas and building programs to contribute to the overall improvement of the industry

The table's current priority areas include:

  • industry and academia research and development alignment
  • education and training programs
  • skills and talent gap identification and mitigation.

Manitoba's Digital Agriculture Table is co-hosted with the Manitoba Industry-Academia Partnership.

Capital Enablement

Sustainable Protein Action Framework Alignment: Finance

EMILI has partnered with Bioenterprise, Canada's Food & Agri-Tech Engine, to drive digital innovation in the agri-food sector. The collaboration expands the organization’s national network to Manitoba and provides resources to talented digital agriculture, food start-ups, and early-stage companies throughout the province. The program provides digital agriculture companies in Manitoba with:

  • access to strategic guidance, mentorship, and financial support that is critical for business scale-up activities to ensure success and growth
  • resources to diversify and access financing to test, commercialize and path-find new funding resources to scale new sustainable protein applications in a competitive market

For more information, visit:

Photo from the perspective of a farmer on a tractor of a tablet being used to measure and monitor conditions in a canola field

Directions for Future Research

Sustainable Protein Action Framework Alignment: Working Together

EMILI hosted the Agriculture Enlightened conference on Oct. 20, 2022, in Winnipeg and virtually.  




LinkedIn: LinkedIn/emilicanada


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