Government helping small businesses innovate

News release

Canadian small businesses invited to develop innovative solutions to five government challenges

July 16, 2018, Ottawa, Ontario

As the single-largest purchaser of goods and services, the federal government is using procurement in a new way to help Canadian small business owners commercialize their ideas and solve complex government challenges.

Through the Innovative Solutions Canada program, government departments are inviting small businesses to come up with a new innovative product, service or solution in answer to a specific challenge they face. Winning small businesses may receive up to $150,000 to refine their research and development and, if accepted into phase 2, could receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. The government may then act as a first customer, helping these small businesses commercialize their innovations, create middle-class jobs and grow our economy.  

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, and the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, today announced five new challenges.

The Public Health Agency of Canada wants:

  1. to process satellite images faster and more reliably in order to better locate and evaluate health risks across Canada.
  2. to create an innovative communications platform to provide Canadians with immediate access to relevant, trustworthy, public health information.

The National Research Council of Canada wants:

  1. to establish a new, interactive and affordable platform to improve simulation training for the medical community.
  2. to use augmented and virtual reality headsets to assess and correct problems associated with neurological disorders.
  3. to improve additive manufacturing, repair and coating by measuring the temperature of cold spray particles to allow Canadian companies to offer more world-class products.

Innovative Solutions Canada is a key component of the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year plan to make Canada a global innovation leader and create middle-class jobs. 

Quotes

“Through Innovative Solutions Canada, our government is transforming challenges into opportunities—opportunities for innovation and for small business success that will result in a strong innovation economy and more middle-class jobs for Canadians.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Innovative Canadian small businesses are well positioned to help the government find creative solutions to its needs. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and we created Innovative Solutions Canada to support the scale-up and growth of Canada’s entrepreneurs, resulting in good, middle-class jobs. This is a true win-win for Canadian jobs, creative businesses and government.”
– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

“The Innovative Solutions Canada program provides a unique opportunity for Canadian small businesses to showcase their expertise and help improve the health of Canadians for the future. Access to new technologies can help improve the quality and efficiency of health care services. We look forward to seeing the innovative proposals resulting from this challenge.”
– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • Small businesses will be able to bid on these five new challenges until September 17, 2018.

  • In addition to these five new challenges, National Defence currently has four live challenges that are seeking innovative solutions. The application period for these challenges closes on July 31, 2018. Six challenges have closed since the program was launched in December 2017.

  • Program funding will come from the 20 departments and agencies participating in Innovative Solutions Canada. Each department will set aside funding for this initiative that amounts to one percent of its 2015–16 combined procurement and internal research and development expenditures. Together, the funding from the departments and agencies represents an annual $100-million investment over the course of five years.

  • Innovative Solutions Canada will encourage submissions from businesses owned and led by women, Indigenous peoples, youth and other traditionally under-represented groups by ensuring those groups are included in the program’s outreach plans and activities.

  • There are hundreds of programs and services that offer everything from funding to expert advice to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada’s economy. With a simple, story-based user interface, the new Innovation Canada platform can match businesses with the most fitting programs and services in about two minutes.

Contacts

Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA

Mallory Clyne
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
343-291-2500

Sandra Aubé
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism
343-998-5328

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
343-291-1777
ic.mediarelations-mediasrelations.ic@canada.ca


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