Traditional government funding instruments like grants, contributions and tax credits are well known to Canadian businesses, but you may not have heard about vouchers, a new type of industrial incentive that could greatly contribute to your growth and R&D efforts.
Vouchers are pre-paid funds flowing from a government agency to a research institution to conduct R&D, e-business or commercialization services on behalf of a business. For example, your company may receive a $100,000 voucher (or credit note) to support commercialization or business development services provided by a Canadian research institution, such as a university, college or research hospital.
Growing in popularity in recent years, vouchers are currently available to Canadian businesses through several federal and provincial programs, including:
• The Collaboration Voucher Program: Administered by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), this voucher program helps businesses connect with research institutions to support activities related to innovation, productivity, and e-business. The maximum award per project under this program is $150,000 over two years; and
• The Business Innovation Access Program: Administered by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), this $20-million, two-year voucher program helps SMEs access business and technical services offered by post-secondary institutions across the country. Eligible services include product optimization, process development, analysis or optimization, specialized testing, market research, marketing strategy development, competitive analysis, and business strategy development.
Governments across Canada administer more than 4,500 different funding programs available to businesses, including these two voucher programs featured above. Other popular voucher programs across the country include the Micro-Voucher, Voucher and Product Demonstration Program at Alberta Innovates, and the Government of Nova Scotia’s Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program.
Do you have a specific question about funding or a topic you’d like to see covered in our next post? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment on this post or email us at [email protected].