The Western Innovation Initiative (WINN) is a research and development funding program for small businesses located in western Canada. Companies operating in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba may apply for up to 50% of their project’s expenses to a maximum $3.5 million in repayable funding contributions. Innovative businesses use this fund to lead their research projects through to development, and ultimately to commercialization.
Vitalus Nutrition Inc., a value-added dairy ingredients processor, was recently announced as a recipient of the Western Innovation Initiative. The manufacturer will use WINN funding to extend cash flow during their project involving the commercialization of a proprietary enzymatic process.
In total, the project will leverage up to $13.5 million in repayable funding from the federal government. This includes a maximum allowable loan of $3.5 million through WINN, and another $10 million in repayable funding through the federal Agri-Innovation program.
Vitalus’ Innovative Research and Development Project
Vitalus will leverage their repayable funding contribution to commercialize a proprietary process where milk by-products are turned into a high-value carbohydrate. This product can be used as an additive in nutritional supplements, health-related foods, and baby formula.
The process will enable Vitalus to become more competitive by reducing production costs and formulating new, higher-value products.
The Abbotsford, British Columbia business may now deliver customized solutions to a greater number of customers. The Government of Canada’s investment into Vitalus will help the company grow nationally and around the world.
About the Western Innovation Initiative (WINN)
WINN is a 5-year (2013-2018) research and development funding program aimed at commercializing innovative products or processes. Western Canada businesses (those from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) may use the program to secure repayable funding for upcoming R&D projects.
Eligible companies may receive up to 50% of their project’s expenses to a maximum $3.5 million in funding. Businesses may secure a total of $7.5 million in total funding for multiple projects.
Apply for WINN Western Canada Research Funding
The Western Innovation Initiative briefly opens in the spring of each year. During application intake, participants may submit their funding proposals to Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). The review for these applications typically takes 4-6 months, and upon approval, businesses may begin to perform the project and incur expenses.
At the time of this article’s posting, WINN is not currently open. However, we anticipate there will be another application intake period in spring 2017. When the program becomes available, Mentor Works will notify businesses through our Canadian government funding blog. To make sure you receive this critical program update, please subscribe for our small business funding newsletter.
Learn More About the Western Innovation Initiative (WINN)
- Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative: $800k for XCO Tech Inc.
- Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative Invests $20M into 17 BC Companies
- Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative: $21M for Alberta Businesses
- Western Innovation Initiative (WINN) Awards $3.5M in Small Business Loans
- Western Innovation Initiative: Product Development Funding