Technology developers understand that the most critical stage of any project is the point of commercialization. Will the technology work once a prototype is created? Can it be tested to identify potential issues? Who will buy your technology, and how much of it will they buy? The commercialization gap kills innovation in all industries and is a top factor why so many early-stage technology businesses never reach maturity.
Fortunately, Alberta-based businesses can receive funding support towards their technology commercialization projects through the Alberta Innovates Product Demonstration Program. It provides Alberta government grants to technology developers who form partnerships with other for-profits or non-profit businesses. These partnerships should focus on the testing and evaluation of innovations. Following the project, tech developers should be ready to launch their product.
The Alberta Innovates Product Demonstration Program will provide for-profit tech developers with Alberta small business grants ranging from $100,000 to $300,000. This contribution can support up to 50% of a company’s project expenses, making technology commercialization projects less of a burden on cash flow.
What is the Purpose of the Alberta Innovates Product Demonstration Program?
The Alberta Innovates Product Demonstration Program was designed to support the innovative problem solving and product commercialization efforts of Alberta-based businesses. Through the program, small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) may work with up to two technology commercialization partners to test prototypes and provide technical feasibility studies.
Innovations with a technology readiness level (TRL) of at least 7 (prototype ready for demonstration in an operational environment) may receive commercialization support from a qualified testing or evaluation partner. Upon completion of the partner’s activities, there should be a clear path for later stages of commercialization.
Applicants Eligible to Receive Alberta Innovates Technology Grants
To be eligible for the Product Demonstration Program, please ensure your business:
- Is a for-profit, incorporated entity;
- Maintains fewer than 500 full-time employees;
- Earns less than $50 million in annual gross revenue;
- Has a physical presence in Alberta;
- Is a technology-oriented company in the process of developing innovative products;
- Has a need for Alberta Innovates project support; and
- Has a plan for applying and profiting from project results.
Please Note: These are minimum requirements for the Alberta Innovates Product Demonstration Program. The funding program does not guarantee that an applicant will receive funding, however, applicants meeting all of the above criteria are encouraged to submit an application.
Eligibility of Project Commercialization Partners
Through the program, lead applicants are required to collaborate with at least one (but no more than three) project partners. Partners must be an entity located in Canada and:
- Either another corporation, government institution/agency, or academic institution;
- Have demonstrated the abilities and capacity to perform project deliverables;
- Operate at arm’s length from the lead applicant; and
- Have a strong influence on a relevant target market.
Types of Projects Eligible to Receive Product Demonstration Program Funding
To be classified as an ‘eligible’ project for the Alberta Innovates Product Demonstration Program, innovations must have a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 7-9 and focus on:
- Technology optimization;
- Manufacturing of a prototype for demonstration;
- Gaining regulatory approval and certifications critical for market acceptance;
- Testing prototypes in an operational environment; and
- Verification of technical data.
Alberta Innovates PDP: Success Stories
Since 2013, the Product Demonstration Program has provided Alberta small business funding in support of innovative projects. Some of the past recipients of the fund include:
- Nanalysis Corp: Partnered with American universities to demonstrate compact NMR spectrometers;
- IntelliView Technologies Inc.: Partnered with TransCanada Pipelines Limited to demonstrate an oil and gas station security/leak detection system; and
- Vadu Inc.: Partnered with Ericksen M-B Ltd. and Go Auto Corporation to demonstrate a video-generated customer sentiment expression analysis tool for automotive dealers.
Apply for the Alberta Innovates Product Demonstration Program
To apply for the Alberta Innovates PDP program, innovators must submit an online application form (approximately 25 pages when completed) that includes:
- A current business plan;
- Current financial statements;
- A source of project support (where project funds will be drawn from);
- Quotes for partner(s) commercialization services; and
- Milestones, reporting, and an expense payment schedule.
Applications also require considerable background information about the project and partners. This is used to determine the quality of the project and the abilities of the company’s management team.