To be competitive in Canada’s fastest growing technology-driven industries, businesses in Atlantic Canada need to invest in innovative products, processes and services. Although it can be difficult to devote a sizable budget towards research and development, there are ways to reduce the cost and improve the scale of R&D projects. Government funding provided through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is one option available to support a variety of technical research projects.
One of ACOA’s programs, the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) provides support for a broad range of innovative projects aimed at fueling technology commercialization and creating partnerships with research institutions. Businesses may use this Atlantic Canada government funding program to develop technologies and prepare them for market launch.
Businesses from Atlantic Canada may receive up to 75% of eligible project costs to a maximum $3M in research and development funding. Projects requesting less than $500,000 may be well-suited for a similar ACOA program.
The Atlantic Innovation Fund is offered to businesses as conditionally repayable funding, this means that repayment amounts and conditions will depend on project competitiveness. All projects should lead to benefits for the company and broader economy. Interested companies may submit applications year-round.
What is the Atlantic Innovation Fund?
The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) is a government funding program dedicated to supporting the research of innovative technologies. The program enables both private-sector research and collaborations with academia and research institutions. Companies may access the fund in support of commercially-viable technology development or adaptation projects.
To improve projects, AIF provides conditionally-repayable funding. This helps improve company cash flow during the project and helps lead to market commercialization sooner. Companies are required to pay back a portion of the total funding contribution; however, this repayment varies on a project-by-project basis and is based on the project’s risk and proposed benefits.
Atlantic Innovation Fund: Eligible Applicants
To qualify for the Atlantic Innovation Fund, applicants must:
- Operate and carry out the proposed project in Atlantic Canada, including Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island; and
- Be a private-sector business, post-secondary institution, research institution, or provincial Crown corporation.
Types of Projects Eligible for the Atlantic Innovation Fund
AIF provides government funding for companies to successfully develop and commercialize technology-based products, processes and services. The program also helps businesses work with researchers to adapt existing technologies to serve new market opportunities. While projects can last up to 5 years, projects ranging from 18 to 36 months will have a higher likelihood for funding approval.
To be eligible, projects must:
- Have a strong research and development component;
- Have a high potential for commercialization; and
- Provide economic development opportunities for Atlantic Canada.
Atlantic Innovation Fund: How to Apply
Interested small businesses and research institutions may apply for the Atlantic Innovation Fund year-round. The application process has two stages, this includes:
- Completing a research and development project outline and submitting it to a local ACOA office. A representative from ACOA will contact you to discuss your project; and
- After discussing your project with ACOA, completing and submitting an Application for Financial Assistance.
Contact Mentor Works to help evaluate your eligibility for the program and receive comprehensive support through the funding process.