Contributing to the development of science and innovation in Canada

News release

Government of Canada challenges Canadian small businesses to innovate

December 7, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

The Government of Canada works to support innovators, including small and medium-sized businesses, across the country. Through an investment of over $100 million annually over the course of five years, federal departments and agencies are challenging Canadian small businesses to innovate and grow with the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) challenge program by inviting them to come up with new and innovative products, services or solutions in response to specific challenges they face.

In December 2017, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) launched the 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Challenge to address its specific R&D needs and allow it to contribute further into the field of 3D printing and additive manufacturing research, and support development in this area for the Canadian industry.

Now, the NRC is pleased to announce it is investing $435,041 for three contracts to support this challenge. These are the first contracts awarded under the ISC program:

Over the next 6 months, these companies will develop a proof of concept for their solution. If successful, they could be accepted into the next phase of the program and receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype.

The NRC is a key contributor to the ISC program, a core element of the Innovation and Skills Plan announced in Budget 2017 and the government's commitment to create better jobs and grow the middle class.


"Today’s announcement supports the broader efforts of our government to support the scale-up and growth of Canada’s entrepreneurs and create middle-class jobs. We are proud to issue challenges to benefit the program, as well as provide the services of NRC IRAP to the evaluation team."

— Iain Stewart, President, National Research Council of Canada

"Through Innovation Solutions Canada, our government is leveraging its enormous purchasing power to ensure Canadian small businesses can grow and innovate. We’re turning to Canadians for their best ideas to solve government challenges. Whether it’s about finding ways to remove plastic litter from our bodies of water or improving wireless connectivity in connected vehicles, we’re investing in Canadian-made solutions."

— The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and employ over 8 million hard-working Canadians. That’s why our government is committed to helping small businesses start up, scale up and access new markets. Innovative Solutions Canada is a fantastic program that uses government procurement to help small businesses innovate and then commercialize their innovations. Congratulations to these businesses. I can’t wait to see the innovative solutions they come up with."

— The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Quick facts

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

  • Innovative Solutions Canada is encouraging submissions from businesses owned and led by women, Indigenous peoples, youth, and members of visible minorities by ensuring those groups are included in the program’s outreach plans and activities.

  • In partnership with the Innovative Solutions Canada Secretariat, the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) evaluates every proposal to help inform departments in their decision-making process at the start and conclusion of the proof-of-concept and prototype development phases.

  • The National Research Council of Canada is the Government of Canada’s largest research organization. It is a key component of the Innovation and Skills Plan and of Budget 2018’s commitment to supporting Canada’s researchers to build a more innovative economy.

Associated links


Media Relations
National Research Council of Canada
Twitter: @nrc_cnrc
Instagram: @nrc_cnrc

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