Atlantic Innovation Fund: Is Your Business Eligible?

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)’s Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) provides Canadian government grants to support innovative research and development projects. Canadian small business grants can be used to support industry- or non-profit-led research and development (R&D) collaborations with post-secondary institutions and research institutions. Ideal projects should focus on the development and adaptation of commercially-viable technologies.

AIF provides eligible businesses with up to 75% coverage and non-profits up to 80% coverage of project expenses to a maximum $3M in Canadian research grants.

Interested technology developers in eastern Canada can learn more about AIF by reviewing the Atlantic Innovation Fund Program Overview. If you still have questions regarding your eligibility, this article should help you determine whether your business and project are a fit for the program.

Atlantic Innovation Fund Eligibility Requirements

The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) is a Canadian government funding program that supports research projects that focus on the development and enhancement of innovative technologies. The program aids private-sector partnership with post-secondary or research institutions.

To qualify for the Atlantic Innovation Fund, applicants must:

  • Be a private-sector business, post-secondary institution, research institution, or provincial Crown corporation; and
  • Operate and carry out the proposed project in Atlantic Canada, including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island.

What Projects Are Eligible for AIF Research and Development Grants?

The Atlantic Innovation Fund provides Canadian research grants to companies that successfully develop commercially-viable technology-based products, processes and services. The program endorses collaborative research projects that helps businesses work with researchers to adapt existing technologies to serve new market opportunities.

To qualify for AIF funding, projects must:

  • Demonstrate a strong research and development component;
  • Possess a high potential for commercialization;
  • Support new and/or enhanced technologies
  • Propose new methods for applying technologies;
  • Have scientific and/or technic components;
  • Provide economic development opportunities for Atlantic Canada; and
  • Be concluded within 5 years, however projects ranging from 18 to 36 months are more suitable.

What Expenses Does the Atlantic Innovation Fund Cover?

The Atlantic Innovation Fund will provide Canadian research grants to offset the following project expenses:

  • Employee wages and salaries;
  • Capital costs; and
  • Any other operating expenses that are directly related to the project.

Businesses may receive up to 75% coverage of project costs to a maximum $3M in research and development funding. Non-profit led projects may receive up to 80% coverage to a maximum $3M in grants.

AIF provides as conditionally repayable funding to industry-led projects, this means that repayment amounts and conditions will depend on project competitiveness. However, non-profit led projects will receive a non-repayable contribution.

How to Apply for Atlantic Innovation Fund Research Grants

To get started with the Atlantic Innovation Fund, interested businesses and research institutions must:

  1. Complete a R&D project outline and submit it to a local ACOA office. If your project is a suitable fit for the program, a representative from ACOA will contact you to discuss your project; and
  2. After discussing your project with ACOA, eligible candidates will be required to complete and submit an Application for Financial Assistance.

The program operates on an open-call basis; interested parties may apply at any time throughout the year.

If you have any further questions regarding your eligibility or need assistance getting started, you may contact Mentor Works or the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

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Katlynd Poulton holds an Honours Bachelor of Public Relations with Distinction at Conestoga College. She believes in the power of communication and how it can fuel business success. As Mentor Works' Online Marketing Intern, Katlynd engages with business owners and executives through social platforms. ​​​​​​

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