Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation


December 3, 2018

Canada’s regional development agencies (RDA) are one of the four national innovation platforms identified in Budget 2018 to provide the customized support needed for Canadian businesses to succeed. Along with the Industrial Research Assistance Program, the Strategic Innovation Fund and the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, the RDAs support high-potential Canadian businesses by providing them with the resources, tools and knowledge they need to scale up and expand into new markets.

With the goals of advancing growth and innovation and of diversifying economies to build stronger and more innovative communities across Canada, the Government of Canada has refocused existing RDA innovation programming to place a greater emphasis on business scale-up and productivity and on regional innovation ecosystems. To this end, the RDAs are implementing the Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation (REGI) program, which aligns with the Government of Canada’s national objectives while ensuring that their funding programs are tailored to fit and benefit regional needs. The national scope of this program will ensure that innovative businesses are provided with consistent service and support across all regions.

Under REGI, investments by RDAs will focus on two new program streams:

  • Business scale-up and productivity: Investing in and supporting businesses at various stages of development, including high-growth firms, to accelerate their growth, assist them in scaling up, and enhance their productivity and competitiveness in both domestic and global markets.
  • Regional innovation ecosystems: To create, grow and nurture inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs and foster an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness.

While REGI will focus on these two streams, RDAs will continue to support businesses and communities through existing programming to foster economic development opportunities and diversification in their regions.

Economic growth and the creation of good jobs for Canadians require innovation and the participation of our businesses and regions in tomorrow’s economy. Canada’s RDAs are fostering growth and innovation among businesses and entrepreneurs:

  • By helping them knock on the right door and by clarifying who is doing what within the Government of Canada to support innovation;
  • By further supporting innovative projects in the regions;
  • By simplifying their access to innovation programs through the creation of REGI, which provides a consistent set of parameters across Canada; and
  • By offering support tailored to their needs while taking into account the specific context of their region.

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