The financial technology (fintech) sector is a growing component within Canada’s knowledge-based industries and focuses on the development of innovations and technologies for the financial services industry. By 2018, it is expected financial institutions will spend over $14 billion annually on fintech to solve internal technical challenges.
Businesses like Secure Key, Phoenix, and eSentire are making major impacts within the cybersecurity fintech space. However, there are many startup businesses that can offer game changing innovations and technologies, but lack the funding to do so. To mitigate this issue, the Government of Ontario has launched a pilot program to help cybersecurity fintech businesses partner with financial institutions to accelerate the development of new technologies.
The government will provide small business grants through Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE)’s Cybersecurity Fintech Innovation Pilot Program (CFIPP), which supports collaborative technology development and demonstration projects. The program provides up to 50% coverage of eligible project costs to a maximum $100,000 in Ontario small business grants. Ideal projects focus on the creation and adoption of user-ready technologies that solve fintech challenges within Ontario’s finance sector.
The program will be accepting applications until December 15, 2017; however, since this is a pilot program the pool of funding is only expected to support a total of 28 projects.
Cybersecurity Fintech Innovation Pilot Program (CFIPP)
The Cybersecurity Fintech Innovation Pilot Program helps accelerate the growth of Ontario cybersecurity startups or scale-ups by partnering with financial institutions (FIs). The program matches businesses with FIs in need of innovative tech solutions for cybersecurity challenges. Tech businesses with innovative cybersecurity products/services can partner with medium and large-sized financial institutions to develop and/or demonstrate solutions for the finance sector.
Eligible applicants can access up to 50% coverage of project costs to a maximum $100,000 in Ontario government funding.
The CFIPP has two unique funding streams, including:
- Stream 1: Technology Development and Demonstration Projects; and
- Stream 2: Talent Development Projects.
Please Note: OCE expects to fund 28 projects through this stream during the course of the pilot program.
CFIPP Post-Secondary Internships and Fellowships
The Cybersecurity Fintech Innovation Pilot Program provides additional government funding to applicants that request internship and fellowship funding to expand the project’s team. This funding may be applied for separately, or requested as part of the Technology Development and Demonstration Project stream. The purpose of this funding is to help post-secondary students gain experience and talent within the cybersecurity and fintech sectors.
- Internships may be up to 4, 8, or 12 months in duration;
- Four-month internship units are valued at $20,000 (OCE will provide $10,000 and the lead applicant must provide the additional $10,000); and
- Interns must receive a minimum compensation of $15,000 per four-month internship period.
- Fellowships must be 12 months in duration;
- 12-month fellowship units are valued at $85,000 (OCE will provide $35,000 and the applicant must provide the remaining $50,000);
- Participating fellows must receive a minimum compensation of $60,000 per 12-month fellowship.
Who Is Eligible for CFIPP Ontario Government Funding?
To be considered eligible for CFIPP, both lead applicants and project partners must meet the following criteria:
To qualify for the CFIPP program eligible lead applicants must be a(n):
- Ontario-based, for-profit, start-up/scale-up with in-house R&D capacity;
- Ontario or other provincially, territorially or federally incorporated company;
- Have less than 500 employees on payroll; and
- Be committed to developing and/or demonstrating the project in Ontario.
Project partners must meet the following criteria to be considered eligible for CFIPP:
- Be a financial institution with operations in Ontario (including banks, insurance agencies, asset management, financing institutes, etc.);
- Be an Ontario post-secondary institution (partnering with the FI);
- Demonstrates the capacity to act as the development and demonstration site for new products and services; and
- Must be an end-user of the newly developed technology.
What Projects Qualify for Cybersecurity Ontario Business Grants?
To receive CFIPP small business grants, projects must:
- Be focused on cybersecurity that is applicable to the finance industry;
- Involve the collaboration between at least one startup/scale-up and at least one Fl;
- Develop/demonstrate an innovation or technology that possess a high potential for adoption; and
- Aim to meet a marketplace need by developing or offering a validated product, process or service.
Please Note: This program will fund projects that do not exceed more than 1 year in duration, start before March 31, 2018, and end by March 31, 2019.
How to Apply for CPIFF Cybersecurity Grants
To get started, interested businesses must request to request access to OCE’s application portal through an OCE Business Development Manager. If eligible, the applicant will receive login information for AccessOCE to complete and submit an application.
All application packages must include a signed letter of support from the participating financial institution, confirming their commitment to the project, the project scope, budget, and timelines. The program will be accepting applications until December 15, 2017 or until funds have depleted.
Please contact Mentor Works or OCE to discuss whether your project is a good fit for the CPIFF program and how to leverage funding.