The Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) is a competitive first-purchase procurement program led by Canada’s federal government. Through BCIP, Canadian technology developers can connect with government departments, test their pre-revenue innovations in real-world settings, and potentially sell their solution to the government in exchange for a federal government contract.
BCIP funding can help Canadian innovators access up to $500,000 for most innovations, and up to $1 million for innovations supporting Canada’s military and police.
To access the Build in Canada Innovation program, technology developers must either be a Canadian business, non-profit, post-secondary institution. Partnerships, collaborations, and economic ‘clusters’ are also eligible as long as their product meets the program’s requirements and can be used to improve government function. These are only a few of the program’s eligibility considerations; continue reading to learn whether you’re eligible for BCIP funding.
Build in Canada Innovation Fund: Why Access BCIP Funding?
There are two main advantages for Canadian innovators using the Build in Canada Innovation Program. These include:
- Technology Testing and Preparing for Future Sales: BCIP participants benefit from working with a federal government department or broader public sector (BPS) department to test and provide user feedback about technologies. This can support further technology development and lead to future sales.
- First-Purchase of Technologies: BCIP is meant for pre-revenue technologies. Innovators can use the program to sell their products for the first time and generate revenues to further support research and development or other core business activities.
Ways to Access BCIP Funding Support
With the launch of BCIP’s new Challenges Initiative in 2017, there are a few ways to access support through the program:
- Submitting an Innovation without a Tech Testing Partner: Innovators can submit their product to Public Services and Procurement Canada who lists it on their website as a pre-qualified innovation. Government departments can then choose technologies that they’d like to test and purchase.
- Submitting an Innovation with a Tech Testing Partner: Alternately, innovators can proactively find a BCIP technology testing partner and develop an application stating that there is a formal arrangement between both parties. This bypasses the matchmaking process and helps to accelerate projects.
- Responding to a Testing Partner’s BCIP Challenge: As of 2017, innovators can now respond to unique ‘innovation challenges’ where government departments request solutions to problems they’re having. Innovators can respond to these calls and begin working with government departments.
Applicants Eligible to Apply for BCIP Funding and Technology Testing Support
As a federal government procurement program, BCIP is available to innovators across the country. To participate, applicants should be able to demonstrate how their innovation could be used to improve the function of government or broader public sector, in addition to being either:
- A Canadian business, non-profit, or post-secondary institution;
- A partnership, post-secondary collaboration, or economic cluster; or
- An international entity with an eligible Canadian Bidder.
Additionally, innovators must:
- Not be generating revenue from the product at time of application;
- Own their product’s IP (intellectual property) rights; and
- Ensure the product contains at least 80% Canadian-made resources.
Technologies Eligible for BCIP Program Support
There are two types of innovations that can be used for the Build in Canada Innovation Program. This includes:
- Standard (Non-Military) Innovations such as health technologies, environmental technologies, safety and security technologies, and enabling technologies.
- Military Innovations such as command and support technologies, technologies to protect soldiers, training system technologies, in-service support technologies, and arctic and maritime security technologies.
In addition, all technologies (whether military or non-military) must have a technology readiness level (TRL) of 7-9:
- TRL 7: Operational Environment Demonstration: Using the prototype in an operational environment to understand how it performs in non-simulated testing. Further development may be required to address performance issues.
- TRL 8: Final Testing and Evaluation: Upon further testing, the technology has proven itself to be successful under normal operating conditions.
- TRL 9: Successful Deployment: The application of a technology, in its final form, in real-life conditions.
How to Access the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP)
For qualified innovators, there are a few possible ways to get started with the Build in Canada Innovation Program. We recommend searching for current BCIP Challenges to identify if you can submit a proposal towards a testing partner’s request for technologies. If there are no Challenges suitable for your innovation, you’ll need to apply under the traditional BCIP component.
Build in Canada Innovation Program applicants are usually held up in the process of becoming matched to a government department. To overcome this, we recommend trying to find a government testing partner which can help speed the process. Pre-established relationships with eligible government departments can also improve the competitiveness of applications, so finding them ahead of time can greatly improve your outcomes with the program.
If you would like to discuss BCIP funding and learn more about how government grants and loans can support your technology development project, please contact Mentor Works.