Innovate BC and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC)’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) have announced they will be providing a combined total of over $2 million in research and development funding to help 14 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) pilot their technologies and create new jobs across British Columbia.
This will be the fourth round of funding through the BC Fast Pilot Program. With applications opening soon, this round will prioritize regional projects, with a focus on cleantech and projects that involve physical installations and are capital intensive in nature, and those that involve Indigenous communities or organizations. Prospective applicants can sign up here to be notified when the intake period begins. The deadline for applications will be April 19, a spokesperson for Innovate BC told IT World Canada.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are at the root of solving problems people face every day,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation of B.C. “The BC Fast Pilot initiative is helping businesses take problem-solving to a new level while tackling our world’s 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.”
Originally launched in 2019, the program helps SMBs design, build, and operate a pilot plant or small demonstration of their technology while helping to solve real-world problems. Examples of these solutions could include mitigating the impacts of climate change, improving operational efficiencies, and increasing health and safety, Innovate BC explained.
By providing up to $200,000 in funding for each project, the B.C. Fast Pilot Program aims to enable B.C. technology companies to demonstrate the impact of their product, measure the value of their solution, and encourage customer adoption. For customers, the program offers a way to minimize some of the risks that traditional industries encounter when adopting new technologies.
“Our province is full of great ideas that are just waiting to be uncovered,” said Brenda Bailey, Parliamentary Secretary for Technology and Innovation. “This program has become a great resource for tech start-ups looking to develop and adapt pilot projects. I look forward to seeing businesses from this program flourish and go on to make their mark on the domestic and international stage.”
In the first two years of the program, 34 pilot demonstrations were funded, for a combined total of $3.8M. Notable outcomes included the creation of 65 jobs, the acquisition of 75 new customers, and an increase of $10.4M in new revenue for participating projects. Innovate BC recently also revealed those funded in the third round of the program in a blog post.
“We’re thrilled to deliver the BC Fast Pilot Program with NRC IRAP. Access to funding is such an important part of accelerating technology development and adoption across British Columbia – especially for capital intensive projects,” said Raghwa Gopal, president and chief executive officer of Innovate BC. “We couldn’t be prouder of the success of this initiative that has generated jobs, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, created opportunities for First Nations communities and contributed to the growth of B.C.’s innovation economy.”