Canada, like a growing number of nations world-wide, has implemented policies designed to boost the success of technology companies.

These programs target elements of the business system where barriers impede the growth of tech firms.  A commitment to build the innovation ecosystem has led to extensive investments in basic and applied research in universities and colleges, tax credits for business spending on research and development, funding academic commercialization and establishing government-backed venture capital and business lending programs.

More recently, federal programs have been directed at facilitating customer acquisition through public procurement,  improving access to capital from private and public investors,  creating channels for international business development and increasing the technical capacity of firms to compete.

Notable programs

Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program
The Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program (CICP) is a new initiative that enables entrepreneurs with pre-commercial innovations to sell to the government and use it as a reference customer. Priority is placed on companies with an ability to win supplier bids in areas of innovation related to the environment, safety and security, health and enabling technologies.

Investing in Business Innovation Program

If you’re a start-up company with a term sheet from a recognized angel investor, the Investing in Business Innovation supports eligible businesses with product research, engineering design, technology development, product testing, intellectual property commercialization and other market adjacent activities.  FedDev Ontario launched this program to stimulate  investment by angel networks in early stage companies. It’s also intended to encourage growth in private sector investment funds.

Going Global Innovation Program

The Going Global Innovation Program was designed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to support international innovation and attract direct foreign investment to Canadian companies through financing R&D collaborations.

The NRC Industrial Research Program

The NRC Industrial Research Program is a technical and advisory service for small and medium enterprises. Through a national network of Industrial Technology Advisors companies are mentored through the commercialization process and receive financing for research and technology development that enhances product quality and business competitiveness.

Taken together, these federal programs represent opportunities for tech start-ups to tap into financing, relevant expertise and business opportunities in foreign markets.

For more information and a chance to hear from the agencies responsible for these initiatives, follow this web link to the Innovation Information Forum.

Discover more grants and programs with our Funding Directory.

Earl Miller

Earl Miller was the Director, Global Initiatives at MaRS. He led international partnering activities designed to open strategic markets for MaRS technology ventures. See more…