Since launching in 2010, the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) has extended more than 240 government contracts and provided over $100 million to Canadian innovators. This includes a range of military and non-military innovations, such as these two BCIP success stories from early-2017. A total of 30 Canadian government departments have participated in the program, and BCIP innovations have experienced an 80% commercialization rate.
BCIP is a Canadian government procurement program offers a first-purchase opportunity for businesses. Government departments can buy and test technologies, helping companies improve cash flow and use test results to accelerate the commercialization process.
Now, seven years since the program launched, BCIP has been expanded to offer a new pilot stream called the BCIP Challenges Initiative. It helps government departments identify real life needs that innovators are invited to solve with their products and technologies. Periodic calls for proposals, or ‘challenges’, will be issued to transparently request solutions.
The first round of challenges has been released and innovators can apply immediately. The challenges mainly focus on finding innovative ways to protect Canadian soldiers, civilians and infrastructure. These challenges could all provide up to $1 million and prepare technologies for market commercialization.
How the Build in Canada Innovation Program Works
The Build in Canada Innovation Program is a competitive first purchase program offered by the Canadian government. It’s not a government funding program; it is a government procurement program where a Canadian government agency or department can become the first buyer of a pre-commercial, state-of-the-art innovation.
Technologies can be purchased by the government for up to $500,000 (standard innovations) or up to $1 million (military innovations).
Traditionally businesses would need to search for a government testing partner or be matched to one to initiate the technology procurement process; however, the program’s new Challenges Initiative allows innovators to respond to an open call for innovations.
New BCIP Challenges Initiative
Under the new program stream, Public Services and Procurement Canada will issue periodic ‘challenges’ where businesses are invited to submit technology proposals. These proposals should indicate how the company’s late-stage (TRL 7-9) innovative technology could be used as a solution.
The first round identified five innovation challenges for companies to apply for. This includes:
- Advanced Vehicle Protection: Improving Canada’s fleet of armoured vehicles.
- Armoured Door Protection: Keeping members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police safe in patrol cars.
- Soldier Ballistic Protection: Building lighter and more durable combat armour.
- Portable Ballistic Protection: Protecting police officers from harm.
- Retrofitting Canadian Building Armour: Protecting Royal Canadian Mounted Police buildings.
September 2017 Update: : This call for proposals has expired. New ‘Challenges’ will be posted when available.
Traditional BCIP Component
Businesses may still apply for the program under BCIP’s traditional format, which requires firms to either find a government department on their own, or enter a matchmaking service. For companies unable to participate in a current department innovation challenge, this is an opportunity to still receive support.
The Build in Canada Innovation Program offers support for specific types of innovations. This includes:
- Non-Military (Standard) Innovations: Including health technologies, environmental technologies, safety and security technologies, and enabling technologies.
- Military Innovations: Including command and support technologies, protecting the soldier technologies, training system technologies, in-service support technologies, and arctic and maritime security technologies.
How to Get Started with the Build in Canada Innovation Program
The traditional Build in Canada Innovation Program component operates on an open call for proposals; this means companies can connect with a government department and apply whenever they’re ready. Under the new Challenges Initiative, companies must wait for a call for proposals before they may apply. The government departments will then call ahead the most promising applicants.
To get started with the standard BCIP program, you may find it useful to review some tips on locating a technology testing partner. Proposals for the BCIP Challenge Initiative are not currently being accepted, but are still being accepted through the traditional BCIP component.
Mentor Works can assist the application process. If you would like to discuss your technology’s suitability for BCIP, please contact Mentor Works.