Converting innovative technologies into a commercial product can be a challenge for even the most disruptive tech developers. This obstacle is something many Canadian small and mid-sized businesses experience; those with the ability to conduct R&D activities but lack an extensive buyer network.
Luckily, the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) provides the ability to test and sell pre-revenue technologies to the Government of Canada. Not only does this help to overcome the difficulties of making a technology’s first sale, but feedback gathered through the process may also support additional future sales.
Through BCIP, businesses can potentially secure up to $500,000 (for standard innovations) or up to $1,000,000 (for military innovations) in revenue by securing a government department as their first buyer of new technologies. This is awarded through a government contract specifically for the individual piece of technology. Technology developers remain in sole possession of intellectual property (IP) during the process and the potential to receive testing support from the relevant government agency or department.
How the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) Works
BCIP is a competitive first-purchase program that matches technology developers to government and broader public sector departments. These partnerships provide two main benefits to businesses, including the ability to:
- Collect revenue on a pre-market technology; and
- Work with a testing partner to receive feedback.
There is a continuous, open call for innovations through BCIP. Innovators currently in possession of a product with a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 7-9 may apply to the program and request the ability to be matched with a testing organization.
Although this may be a convenient option for some innovators, it’s also possible to secure the interest of a public testing partner on your own ahead of program application. Not only will this process strengthen your application, but it also speeds up the process and ensures your technology will be tested by a department that can give valuable feedback.
Once approved into the program, the technology developer may be awarded a contract for up to $500,000 for non-military innovations, or $1,000,000 for military and defence innovations. Collaborators will then begin their testing and validation activities until the project is complete.
Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) Support Streams
There are two primary focuses for technologies purchased through BCIP:
1. Non-Military (Standard) Innovations
The majority of technologies that are considered by BCIP come through its Standard Stream, providing up to $500,000 in potential contracts related to the following areas:
- Health technologies;
- Environmental technologies;
- Safety and security technologies; and
- Enabling technologies.
2. Military Innovations
Although it can be more difficult to secure a testing partner and gain approval, BCIP’s Military Stream can provide the opportunity for contracts valued up to $1,000,000 to the following areas:
- Command and support technologies;
- Protecting the soldier technologies;
- Training system technologies;
- In-service support technologies; and
- Arctic and maritime security technologies.
Please Note: At the time of application, innovations must have a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 7-9.
Technology Developers Eligible for BCIP Support
The Build in Canada Innovation program is widely available to businesses and innovators across the country. The program aims to be flexible to support a range of technologies and applicants alike.
Applicants should be able to demonstrate how the innovation could be used to improve the function of government or broader public sector, in addition to being:
- A Canadian business, non-profit organization, or university;
- A partnership, post-secondary collaboration, or economic cluster; or
- An international entity with an eligible Canadian Bidder.
Additionally, participants must:
- Own their innovative product’s IP (intellectual property) rights;
- Ensure the product contains at least 80% Canadian-made resources; and
- Not be generating revenue from the product at time of application.
Successful Build in Canada Innovation Program Projects
Several innovations have already been purchased and tested through the Build in Canada Innovation Program. In early 2017, two projects were announced as recipients of government contracts through the program with full details of their product and how testing was completed and supported by the government.
While less detailed, the Government of Canada maintains a list of innovations that qualified, but applied to the program without a testing partner. These innovations have/might have received funding as long as a testing partner was secured.
How to Apply for the Build in Canada Innovation Program
There is an open call for BCIP applications, meaning that innovators can submit their pre-commercial innovations for BCIP consideration at any time. Completed application packages will often extend past 30 pages or more, so it’s important to understand your innovation’s eligibility before applying.
The best way to get started with BCIP is to locate a technology testing partner who can verify their need for an innovation. Establishing this relationship prior to application will strengthen your case and accelerate application approval times.
Mentor Works’ team of Government Funding Planners™ can also provide further insight into the matchmaking and application process. If you would like to discuss your technology’s suitability for BCIP, please contact Mentor Works.