Businesses with innovative pre-commercial products and services have until Jan. 7 to submit a proposal to participate in the federal government’s Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP).
The BCIP awards contracts through a competitive procurement process to assist businesses in the commercialization of their innovative products within the government and reduce the risks associated with the commercialization of untested products. Testing and feedback on the chosen goods and services is also provided to successful applicants.
Canadian entrepreneurs often report that funding is hardest to obtain once their product is ready to move from the lab to the marketplace. In order to help fill this funding gap, the federal government announced last July that it was making its pilot Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP) permanent and renamed it to the BCIP.
In November, the government announced the fourth Call for Proposals under the BCIP, which will close on January 7.
The BCIP accepts proposals in five different priority areas: environment, safety and security, health, enabling technologies and military. The military component is new to this latest round and focuses on “protecting the soldier.”
Under this component, the BCIP is seeking technologies that protect soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces. Examples of such technologies include smart textiles, night-vision technologies, training equipment and sensor technology.
Economic development agency Invest Ottawa organized an event last week to introduce this new opportunity to its members.
“Invest Ottawa is committed to keeping its members up to date on the latest funding opportunities that can help grow their business. The BCIP, in particular, offers an innovative solution for defence and security companies to receive support in the testing of their pre-commercial products and services,” said Bernadette Terry, Senior Business Development Manager, Defence & Security, Invest Ottawa.
“The National Capital Region boasts an extensive network of defence and security organizations. Ottawa is home to more than 300 companies active in the aerospace, defence and security sector, with technologies and services that span the full range of capabilities. The cluster is supported by the full ecosystem, including federal, provincial and municipal government, trade associations, world class research institutions and academia.”
Grant McDonald, a chartered accountant with KPMG and The Funding Portal’s expert in funding for aerospace and defence firms, says the BCIP’s new military component helps to diversify the support instruments that the government has already made available to businesses in the sector, such as the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI).
“Given that every billion dollars spent on defence and security generates $710 million in gross domestic product, it is clear that the government has made investing in the sector one of its top industrial stimulus priorities. The BCIP helps companies bridge the funding gap in an industry where projects are typically complex and high risk,” said Mr. McDonald.
In order to qualify for the Build in Canada Innovation Program, products and services must be ready for testing—this means that at a minimum the prototype must be ready for an operational demonstration.
Applicants must go through a two-stage procurement process. First, companies submit their proposal to be screened, reviewed and evaluated. Top ranked approved projects then move on to a pool of pre-qualified proposals, at which point the government will seek a match to test and evaluate the product. Those pre-qualified proposals that find a successful match can enter into a contract with the government.