Alberta is Canada’s second largest tech hub, however businesses across the province often find it difficult to commercialize their innovative technologies and products. This is mainly because employers lack the internal talent required to bring their ideas to market. To address this issue, the Government of Alberta has introduced funding programs like the Industry Commercialization Associates Program to help businesses hire the technical expertise they need.
The Alberta Innovates Industry Commercialization Associates Program supports innovation by helping businesses hire research and development professionals. Through the program, companies will be able to reduce the cost of hiring a new employee for commercializing pre-market technologies, including product testing and validation.
Eligible applicants may access up to $105,000 in Alberta government grants to hire a commercialization associate to assist with a project for up to two years.
Project proposals may be submitted to Alberta Innovates at any time, regardless of whether a new hire has been identified or not. Companies should consider applying as soon as their technology is ready for commercialization; this will help receive the optimal amount of funding from the program.
Industry Commercialization Associates Program for Innovative Tech Projects
Alberta Innovates’ Industry Commercialization Associates Program provides hiring grants to help tech-focused companies overcome the research commercialization gap. Alberta government funding can be used to offset a portion of wages and research expenses; this includes new hires or employees who’ve been hired for the project and have been on payroll for less than 12 months. For current employees, only future expenses (including salaries) are deemed eligible.
Eligible businesses can leverage the program to offset the cost of employing a full-time Level 1 or 2, or a part-time/full-time Level 3 commercialization associate:
- Level 1 Associates: Demonstrate the ability to sell the applicants products and services within a specified region or marketplace;
- Level 2 Associates: Possess the technical expertise to enhance the scope of the project and develop new processes;
- Level 3 Associates: Exhibit the ability to develop business growth opportunities and strategic partnerships necessary for the project’s success.
The program awards hiring grants of up to $52,500 for Level 1 associates, up to $75,000 for Level 2 associates, and up to $105,000 for Level 3 associates.
Alberta small business grants must be used to reduce an associate’s salary throughout the duration of the project. Applicants will be provided contributions in the form of a monthly stipend, in addition to an annual expense allowance of up to $7,000 to cover non-salary related expenses incurred by the associate.
Applicant Eligibility Requirements
To receive funding for hiring through the Industry Commercialization Associates Program eligible applicants must:
- Be a small and medium-sized for-profit businesses in Alberta;
- Be considered a legal entity incorporated or registered in Alberta;
- Provide evidence of the viability of the technology or innovation and its market value;
- Demonstrate how the program’s support will be necessary for the success of the project;
- Possess the required operational capital and financial resources to develop and commercialize the technology or innovative solution; and
- Hire the associate as a full-time or part-time employee for the duration of the project (up to a maximum of 2 years).
Program applicants may access Alberta government funding to hire Level 1, 2, or 3 commercialization associates. Eligible Level 1, 2, and 3 commercialization associates must:
- Be legally entitled to work in Canada and is prepared to live in Alberta for the project term;
- Be prepared to be hired on as a full-time (level 1 or 2) or part-time (level 3) employee and possess the necessary qualifications to fulfil the role;
- May not own or possess the ability to purchase more than 15% of the applicant’s share or balance;
- Not have been previously employed by the applicant (except in the case of a reapplication);
- Cannot possess an outstanding balance with any Alberta Innovates organization, subsidiary, or partner.
The program will provide Alberta small business grants to support technology commercialization projects focused on:
- Conducting manufacturing analysis and strategic planning tasks;
- Executing product testing and validation activities;
- Exploring new product market opportunities;
- Creating marketing and sales related resources;
- Developing financial strategies; and
- Executing strategic partnership activities.
Please Note: Applicants must prove how the project will address a technology gap or market requirements.
How to Apply for the Industry Commercialization Associates Program
To get started with the Industry Commercialization Associates Program, applicants must provide a detailed project proposal explaining the current business’ opportunity and market gap.
Businesses may submit applications throughout the year, but should ideally align with the start of a technology commercialization project to maximize the hiring grant’s total contribution. Typically, submissions will be approved 6-8 weeks after the application package has been received.
Contact Mentor Works to learn more about the Industry Commercialization Associates Program. We can determine if your business is eligible and provide comprehensive application support.