Government Funding Opportunities for SMEs

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The lack of readily available funds that often exists within a growing small or medium technology enterprise (Tech-SME) can result in management having to juggle many competing priorities; unfortunately, this sometimes means that protecting the enterprise's intellectual property (often one of its most valuable assets) is passed over for other critical needs. There may be a variety of reasons why this is the case, but undoubtedly with access to more money, Tech-SMEs would have the financial resources to better address their priorities, including by protecting their intellectual property assets. With this in mind, the Intellectual Property team at Bennett Jones set out to create a representative listing of some of the many government programs that may be of interest.

Canadian government support for Tech-SMEs (namely, enterprises with fewer than 500 employees and less than $50 million in annual revenues) takes many forms, from programs and resources to direct funding and tax credits, each focused on a particular policy objective, market segment or industry. These programs often have specific deadlines and criteria, and may be subject to change without notice. As such, it is important that every Tech-SME stay current with the available programs, resources, funds and credits as they seek to invest in and grow their enterprise.

While no one program will fit all Tech-SMEs, to assist with this review, we have identified a number of such resources for consideration. This listing is not intended to be exhaustive, but instead to act as a starting point for your review of available programs.

Federal Funding Opportunities

What is the name of the grant? What entity is funding the grant? How much money could be granted? Who can apply?
Financial support for technology innovations Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), National Research Council

$50,000 typical contribution;

$1 million/year maximum (75% of eligible salary costs and 50% subcontractor costs)

Canadian businesses pursuing technology-driven innovation

Supports research and development projects at various stages of the innovation cycle

Planning to pursue growth and profit by developing and commercializing new technology or improved products

Money for international commercialization Going Global Innovation (GGI) Up to $75,000 (75% of eligible expenses associated with commercializing your technology abroad)

Canadian innovators who aim to commercialize their technology to establish new R&D collaborations with foreign partners

Eligible expenses: travel, promotional material, legal fees, visa, etc.

Must be an employee of Canadian SME and have the decision-making authority for the IP

Must have a pre-identified foreign partner R&D must lead to commercialization within five years

Must demonstrate clear benefit to the Canadian economy

Tax Credit for Research and Development Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program, Canadian Revenue Agency

Tax credit of 15%; or

Refundable tax credit of 35% on the first $3 million of qualified expenditures

Must be a private Canadian-controlled corporation involved in R&D
Funding to develop export markets CanExport, Trade Commissioner Service

$10,000 - $50,000 typical contribution;

Maximum investment: 50% of project costs

Reimbursement of expenses related to developing export opportunities

Must be a for-profit incorporated company or limited liability partnership in Canada with a CRA business number

Must have $100,000 to $100 million in annual revenue

Must have identified an eligible target market

Business expansion loan BDC Xpansion Loan, Business Development Bank of Canada Maximum amount: $750,000 Loan may be used to expand your market, invest in technology, launch a new marketing campaign, develop new products, etc.
Funding to develop next-generation technology Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada Reimbursement of up to 44.4% of eligible costs for projects $1 to $20 million

Drives connections between technology and industrial companies to accelerate development

Must be either a for-profit organization or a not-for-profit organization that facilitates and funds research and development who receives primarily private-sector funding

Must be collaborating with multiple partners on projects like advanced robotics, machine learning, 3D printing and the Internet of things

Loan guarantee for capital purchases Canada Small Business Financing Program, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Maximum amount: $1 million;

Registration fee: 2% of the loan (can be rolled into loan)

Canadian government guarantees the loan to establish start up or expand small business

Access fund for land, buildings and purchase new or used equipment

Must have a maximum annual revenue of $10 million

Financial backing for R&D and commercialization Strategic Innovation Fund – Stream 1 and 2, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Up to 50% contribution for eligible expenses

Contribution to conduct R&D that will accelerate technology transfer and commercialization of innovation products, processes, and services; support the expansion or material improvement of existing industrial or technological facilities or projects

Must be a for-profit corporation incorporated in Canada, funding is focused on projects requesting at least $10 million

Must have a clear economic, innovation or public benefits for Canada (e.g., create jobs, develop new technology, support local communities)

Funding to develop new assistive and adaptive technologies Accessible Technology Program, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Up to $4 million per year

Funding to develop affordable and commercially viable new technologies that will improve access to the digital economy for persons with disabilities and increase their employability

Must be a legal Canadian entity

Financial assistance for energy management projects Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation Up to 50% of eligible costs to a maximum of $40,000

Eligible projects should be intended to improve industrial energy performance and reduce GHG emissions, demonstrate potential for learning and/or replication, and have results that can be disseminated to promote energy management best practices

Must be a Canadian Industry Partnership for Energy Conservation Leader to apply

SD Tech Fund Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Up to $5 million (33% of project costs)

Maximum term: five years

Funding for Canadian SMEs advancing innovative pre-commercial technologies that have the potential to demonstrate significant environment and economic benefits in climate change or clean air, water, and soil. SME must have at least one other partner, recommended to seek end user partners

Alberta Funding Opportunities

What is the name of the grant? What entity is funding the grant? How much money could be granted? Who can apply?
Voucher for early, mid-to-late, and advanced stage development in Alberta Alberta Innovates, Government of Alberta

$10,000 to $100,000 (mid-to-late stage)

$100,000 to $300,000 (advanced stage)

Maximum investment of project costs: 75% (early, mid-to-late stage); or 50% (advanced stage)

Technology Readiness level will be assessed to categorize SME

Early Projects to fund: market assessments, business plan development, IP assessments

Mid-to-late Projects to fund: Leading-edge design, patent development, advanced product testing and refinement

Advanced Projects to fund: technology optimization, manufacturing/testing a prototype for demonstration, applications for regulatory approval, and results assessment and verification

Accelerating Innovation into Care (AICE) – Market Access Health Innovations, Alberta Innovates

Up to $250,000 per project

Maximum investment of project costs: 50%

Maximum term: 18 months

Supports real-world implementation projects that involve a market-ready health technologies, and digital or data-enabled health innovation

Innovation must satisfy all relevant regulatory and certification standards

Must establish a partnership between SME and Testing Site prior to application

SME Export Support Fund Government of Alberta

Reimbursement: $1,000 to $20,000

Maximum investment: 50% of eligible expenses

Supports SMEs entering new international markets, that currently represent up to 10% of their sales (15% for the United States and China)

SMEs must be incorporated in for at least two years and have at least one full-time employee in Alberta with annual sales between $50,000 and $25 million

Eligible sectors include: alternative energy and clean tech, information and communications technology, life sciences and health technology, manufacturing, and oil and gas products, services and technology

British Columbia Funding Opportunities

What is the name of the grant? What entity is funding the grant? How much money could be granted? Who can apply?
Industry Innovation Program Genome British Columbia

$100,000 to $1 million

Funding in the form of debt, equity and royalties

Provides commercialization support for companies developing innovative life science technologies and digital health technologies that will move the concept of precision medicine into clinical practice
Genome Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) Genome British Columbia

$100,000 to $2 million

Maximum investment: 1/3 of project budget

Maximum term: three years

Funds downstream R&D projects that address real world opportunities and challenges of genomics knowledge and technologies

Projects must be collaborations with academic researchers

Projects must have the potential to generate significant social and/or economic benefits for Canada

Ontario Funding Opportunities

What is the name of the grant? What entity is funding the grant? How much money could be granted? Who can apply?
Funding for development and commercialization in Northern Ontario Northern Innovation Program, Applied Research & Technology Development Projects

Contribution of up to $250,000

Maximum investment: 50% of eligible costs

Financial assistance to Northern Ontario businesses to undertake applied research or pre-commercialization activities

Eligible projects must involve R&D or commercialization activities for new technology in the natural resources, advanced manufacturing, clean technology, health sciences, bio economy, and digital economy

May be a private company alone, or in a partnership with an Ontario research institution

Funding for pilots and commercialization in Northern Ontario Northern Innovation Program, Pilot Demonstration & Commercialization Projects

Contribution of up to $500,000

Maximum investment: 50% of eligible costs

Financial assistance to Northern Ontario businesses to reduce technical and financial risks associated with scaling up

Eligible projects must involve research and development or commercialization activities for new technology in the natural resources, advanced manufacturing, clean technology, health sciences, bio economy, and digital economy

May be a private company alone, or in a partnership with an Ontario research institution

Funding for Northern Ontario Start-Ups Small Business Start-Up Projects, Northern Business Opportunity Program

Contribution of up to $200,000

Maximum investment: 50% of eligible costs

Financial assistance to Northern Ontario businesses to commence operations in existing and emerging economic sectors including: advanced manufacturing, digital economy, health sciences, renewable energy and services

The proposed new business should not unreasonable impact existing Northern Ontario businesses and should result in net economic benefits for Northern Ontario

Funding to diversify the economy in Southern Ontario FedDev Ontario, Innovation, Science and Economic Development $250,000 to $5 million per project

Businesses or not-for-profit organizations in small communities who are working to develop, diversity and transform their local economies

Available for business attraction, investment, retention and employment opportunities

Eligible projects may include: creating financing opportunities to reduce risk and enable businesses to make investment in innovative technologies

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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