Innovative companies located in Western Canada are receiving significant funding support through the Canadian government for research and development projects. A total of 14 unique businesses, located in British Columbia (BC), have been approved for funding via the BC Fast Pilot Program, an initiative offered by Innovate BC in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).
Through the combined effort of these two government programs, total funding support will amount to north of $2 million across the 14 successful candidates and will fund pilot project costs for technology innovation, as well as the creation of new jobs in BC.
“Small and medium sized businesses are at the root of solving problems people face everyday. The BC Fast Pilot initiative is helping businesses take problem solving to a new level while tackling our worlds greatest challenges led by new ideas and innovations. I encourage all eligible businesses to take advantage of this great program and their solutions on how to contribute to a Stronger B.C. for everyone.”Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation
This article highlights the aforementioned award recipients, as well as provides a program overview for both the BC Fast Pilot Program and NRC-IRAP. Analyzing these companies will provide good insight to readers as to the kinds of IRAP examples and projects that make for competitive funding applications for research and development programs, including those offered through Innovate BC and NRC-IRAP.
BC Fast Pilot Program Funding Awardees
The BC Fast Pilot Program was launched in 2019 and has since awarded funding to 48 pilot demonstrations. The following companies received funding from the latest intake of the program:
- DBE Hytec;
- H2 Portable Power;
- Hydron Energy;
- Lyne Systems;
- MicroWest Design;
- Offshore Designs;
- Oxygen8 Solutions;
- Performance Biofilaments;
- Poseidon Ocean Systems;
- Quantum Technology;
- Skaha Remote Sensing;
- Swyched; and
- Wiser Marine Technologies.
What is the BC Fast Pilot Program?
SMEs in BC can participate in the BC Fast Pilot Program by designing, building, and operating a pilot plant or small demonstration of their technology in a real-world environment. Early customer adoption is stimulated by helping companies demonstrate their product impact and measure their solution value.
Amount of Funding
Successful applicants may receive up to $200,000 in funding support for their project costs. The exact percentage of total project costs that is eligible for funding support will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
To be eligible for the BC Fast Pilot Program, applicants must be able to meet the following criteria:
- Business must be incorporated in B.C.;
- Employ fewer than 500 people;
- Prototypes have been developed, and the technology is at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of at least 7 and ready for demonstration;
- Identify a potential customer or early adopter;
- Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for NRC-IRAP funding; and
- Obtain an IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA) from the NRC.
Pilot plants are typically designed, constructed, and operated at customer sites to demonstrate long-term performance of a new technology. Projects conducted as pilots should have physical installations and equipment; they should also be capital intensive, not just software related.
The following activities may be considered supportable for a project (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Pilot plant commissioning;
- Generating data for large commercial installations;
- The collection and recording of data;
- Testing product durability and stability; and more.
This program’s expression of interest intake deadline was April 19, 2022, and is not currently accepting more applications.
What is the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP)?
The NRC-IRAP grant funding program offers support to businesses by funding contributions for research activities related to process improvement, technology adoption projects leading to new capabilities, and large-scale projects that result in new capabilities.
Amount of Funding
Successful applicants may be approved for up to 60-80% of internal technical labour and subcontractor costs for a specified innovation project.
Incorporated and profit-oriented small- and medium-sized businesses with 500 or fewer full-time equivalent employees are eligible. The company must plan to develop and commercialize innovative, technology-driven products, services, or processes in Canada in order to achieve growth and profit.
Technology and process enhancements must be incorporated into projects to solve an internal technical challenge. Focus should be on products, processes, and service developments that are innovative.
NRC’s IRAP has an open intake and no current deadlines announced, with projects to be carried out between April 1 and March 31 of every year.
Although these programs provide significant funding opportunities to Canadian technology companies, there are many more programs available. To learn more about the top programs for technology, visit our Research & Development Funding Directory.
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