Voucher for Innovation and Productivity Program

In Ontario, businesses are crafting new innovative technical solutions every day. However, it can often be challenging for these companies to effectively commercialize their market-ready products with internal resources alone. To overcome these barriers, businesses can access assistance by partnering with post-secondary institutions that offer high-skilled researchers. In fact, the most recent statistics indicated that Canadian businesses invest over $15.5 million per year to cover R&D expenditures.

To help offset the costs associated with research and development activities, businesses can access Ontario government funding. The Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE)’s Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) program supports industry-academic research collaborations in Ontario. Research grants provided through the program help businesses design, generate, and commercialize innovative technologies.

OCE VIP provides up to 50% coverage of eligible research expenses to a maximum $20,000 – $75,000 in non-repayable Ontario small business funding.

To get started with OCE VIP funding, interested businesses must contact an OCE Business Development Manager to discuss their research project. Program vouchers are provided to the post-secondary partner to offset a portion of the project’s costs that would typically be incurred by the industry partner.

OCE Voucher for Innovation and Productivity: Funding for Collaborative Research and Development

The Ontario Centre of Excellence (OCE)’s OCE Voucher for Innovation and Productivity program provides small business funding to help companies overcome challenges, develop new products and processes, and become more innovative. Program vouchers can be used to help Ontario-based businesses access academic researchers that can assist with a project’s research activities. Ideal projects demonstrate how successful project outcomes will lead towards expanding the business’ exporting activities.

The program is divided into two streams, including:

  • OCE Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I (VIP I): Up to 50% coverage of the project’s research costs to a maximum contribution of $20,000 in research funding.
  • OCE Voucher for Innovation and Productivity II (VIP II): Up to 50% of eligible research costs to a maximum contribution of $75,000 in Ontario government funding.

The OCE VIP I stream supports research partnerships between Ontario-based businesses and post-secondary institutions for up to 12 months. Projects must support the development of new knowledge mobilization, commercialization of technical solutions, increased productivity, new revenues, and high-quality job opportunities.

The OCE VIP II stream supports collaborations between Ontario-based businesses and academic institutions for up to 12-24 months. Projects must focus on the development of new products and/or processes, productivity improvements, increase sales revenues and high-quality job creation.

Applicants Eligible for OCE’s Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I (VIP I) Program

The OCE Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I program helps business access research talent to develop, verify, and commercialize technical innovations. Through program allows businesses to access new skills and talent, network with post-secondary researchers to extend R&D capabilities, and access state-of-the-art research facilities and equipment to support their project.

Eligible collaborations may receive up to 50% coverage of a project’s research costs to a maximum of $20,000 in Ontario government funding.

The applicant business is responsible for supporting at least 50% of the project’s research costs. OCE will provide the academic partner with the investment to offset project expenses that would typically be incurred by the business applicant.

Industry Partner Eligibility

To qualify for OCE VIP I funding, eligible business partners must:

  • Be an Ontario-based company;
  • Verify they have been in operation for at least 2 years;
  • Employ a minimum of 2 full-time workers;
  • Not have any outstanding balances with OCE; and
  • Not be participating in any active OCE projects receiving $100,000 in funding.

Academic Partner Eligibility

To qualify for OCE VIP I funding, eligible research partners must:

  • Be a principal investigator at an Ontario-based academic institution (university, college, research centre, etc.); and
  • Facilitate a relationship that remains at arms-length with the industry partner.

Please Note: For college-led projects, applicants must be a representative of the institution’s applied research facilities and include all primary researchers as team members.

Applicants Eligible for OCE’s Voucher for Innovation and Productivity II (VIP II) Program

The OCE Voucher for Innovation and Productivity II program helps businesses partner with post-secondary researchers to accelerate the development of new technical products and processes. OCE VIP grants support projects that range from early-stage research and development activities to late-stage validation and demonstration activities.

Eligible collaborations may receive up to 50% coverage of a project’s research costs to a maximum of $75,000 in Ontario government funding.

Similar to the OCE VIP I stream, industry partners participating in the OCE VIP II stream are responsible for providing at least 50% of the project’s research costs. Upon being accepting into the program, OCE will provide the contribution to the post-secondary applicant to offset project expenses.

Industry Partner Eligibility

To be considered for the VIP II stream, eligible businesses must

  • Have at least 5 full-time employees;
  • Be in operation for a minimum of 2 years;
  • Possess a manufacturing and/or R&D presence in Ontario;
  • Demonstrate the ability to commercialize and/or implement the project’s outcomes;
  • Not have any outstanding balances with OCE; and
  • Not be participating in any active OCE projects receiving $100,000 in funding.

Please Note: Businesses may apply for OCE VIP II funding is they have successfully completed a OCE VIP I project with the academic applicant in the past.

Academic Partner Eligibility

To qualify for OCE VIP II stream, eligible post-secondary research partners must:

  • Be a principal investigator at an Ontario-based academic institution (university, college, research centre, etc.); and
  • Maintain at arms-length relationship with the industry partner.

How to Apply for Voucher for Innovation and Productivity Funding

To get started with the OCE Voucher for Innovation and Productivity program, interested businesses must contact an OCE Business Development Manager to discuss their research project. Applicants must request that the Business Development Manager endorses the projects eligibility and suitability (endorsements can take up to 1 week to complete). If approved, the BD will initiate and oversee the full application process. Research partners can apply any time; application packages will be assessed within 6-8 weeks after the date of submission.

Contact Mentor Works to discuss whether your business is eligible to apply for VIP grants and receive application support to accelerate your company’s funding process.

Apply for Canadian Government Funding

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Katlynd Poulton holds an Honours Bachelor of Public Relations with Distinction at Conestoga College. She believes in the power of communication and how it can fuel business success. As Mentor Works’ Online Marketing Intern, Katlynd engages with business owners and executives through social platforms.
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