Government of Canada highlights support for innovative and early-stage small and medium-sized businesses in British Columbia

News release

Over the last two years, Industrial Research Assistance Program has invested over $115.2 million in innovative B.C. companies supporting good jobs in the province

July 28, 2021 – Vancouver, British Columbia

As Canadians begin to look toward economic recovery, Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) will be the backbone of economic growth in communities across the country. These firms are already supporting more than 10 million jobs for Canadian workers, and many of them are making groundbreaking discoveries to improve Canadians’ lives and drive innovation and technology. To achieve even greater success, these firms need funding, advice and connections to gain capital, increase expertise and scale up.

Today, the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, visited Aspect Biosystems Ltd., a company receiving support through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), to highlight how the government is providing critical support to British Columbia’s innovative SMEs. Aspect Biosystems is receiving up to $1,122,127 to support two innovative projects: integrating unique 3D bioprinting technology to develop implantable cardiac and pancreatic therapeutic tissues; and developing novel 3D printing technologies enabling the fabrication of implantable tissues that can engraft and be vascularized in living organisms.

Some further notable B.C.-based projects to benefit from the program’s research and development funding assistance include the following:

  • AbCellera Biologics is receiving up to $2,617,300 for the development, validation and integration of new technologies to create a platform for the discovery of antibodies for next-generation biotherapeutics.
  • MineSense Technologies Ltd. is receiving up to $2,950,000 for the design, development and testing of a digitally connected bulk material sensing system for mining operations.
  • Semiosbio Technologies Inc. is receiving up to $2,490,000 for the development of an accurate microclimate data and agronomic model–based service for acres within fruit and nut orchards that have few or no climate sensors. This will involve integration of new distributed wireless sensor technology and agronomic models calculated from real and predicted microclimate data.

Over the last two years, NRC IRAP has provided advisory services and over $115.2 million in research and development funding to B.C.-based SMEs, helping them grow, build their innovation capacity and successfully take ideas to market.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Innovation Assistance Program was put in place to help innovative firms keep their doors open, keep their employees on the payroll, and recover quickly. Over 400 innovative firms in British Columbia have received support of approximately $73 million under this program.

Quotes

“We know that supporting innovative Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs is critical to spurring our economic recovery and to creating good jobs in communities across Canada. That’s why we made significant investments in IRAP to support innovative firms across Canada. British Columbia is home to one of Canada’s leading innovation ecosystems, and this investment will be critical to supporting companies with world-class ideas that need access to funding, expertise and networks to further their innovations.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“The success of Canada’s economy depends on the growth of Canadian businesses that innovate and take their products and services to global markets. The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program helps Canadian small and medium-sized businesses pursue this goal through comprehensive advisory services, research and development funding, and connections to Canadian and international opportunities across all sectors.”
– Mitch Davies, President, National Research Council of Canada

Quick facts

  • The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) has been providing advice, connections and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.

  • In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada announced $500 million over five years, starting in 2021–22, and $100 million per year ongoing, to expand NRC IRAP to support up to 2,500 additional innovative small and medium-sized businesses.

  • Through its network of over 265 industrial technology advisors in over 110 locations across Canada, NRC IRAP provides customized solutions to Canadian small and medium-sized businesses through expert advice, funding, and access to national and international networks across all industry sectors.

  • In fiscal year 2020–21, NRC IRAP assisted more than 9,340 firms, funded over 3,800 projects and provided more than 14,340 advisory services to unfunded firms.

  • On April 17, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced over $1 billion in new support for small businesses in Canada to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement included $250 million for NRC IRAP to put in place the Innovation Assistance Program to aid innovative firms that were not eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

  • On November 6, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a further investment of $155 million to extend the Innovation Assistance Program.

  • The Innovation Assistance Program supported more than 2,200 firms and 26,000 jobs across Canada.

Associated links

Contacts

Mohammad Hussain
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
mohammad.hussain@ised-isde.gc.ca

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
mediarelations-mediasrelations@ised-isde.gc.ca

Media Relations
National Research Council Canada
613-991-1431
1-855-282-1637
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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