If you are a health technology or medical device start-up, where do you get funding from? In this blog, I illustrate what some of our clients did. Hopefully, it will help give you ideas on how to fund your great venture! By and large, this is not a comprehensive list and is intended for illustration only.

Assuming you have your technology patented or have protected your innovation through other means (provisional patent, industrial secret), there are a couple of options for you.

Funding in the first 4-12 months

So, you finally incorporated and got your team more or less assembled. Now what? Where do you get your first cash flow from?

Your first funding program to go to would be the OCE SmartStart fund. This program funds early stage companies less than 3 years old. There are two funding streams: $30,000 or $60,000. If you are under 30, you can apply for either stream. If you are over 30, your only option is the $30,000 stream. More specific details on the funding can be found in “Grants Ontario: SmartStart”.

Recently, OCE announced a new program – the Health Technologies Fund. For this program you can be either an early stage or more mature company. As an early stage company, you can apply for a Prototype Development Stream. In this case, you may be eligible for up to $100,000. In one of our last blogs, we explained this program in detail. The program has several calls for proposals each year with a specific topic. The last two were “Better Care Closer to Home”.

Funding in the next 12-18 months

So, you’ve reached your first year-end mark and most likely threw a big party. Who wouldn’t? After all, you are making history and it is the right time to celebrate. Of course, you still need to find funds to finish building your prototype or debugging the app. Here are your next options.

Once your company is 1 year old, you can consider applying for IRAP Technology Innovation Projects. Your chances of success are higher if you have some revenue. However, with a solid team commitment and a strong strategy to get your product on the market, you can still be quite successful in leveraging up to $50,000 from this program.

In fact, many Canadian companies benefited from the Technology Innovation Project funding program and I strongly encourage you to contact the funding agency [http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/irap/services/financial_assistance.html].

Next, think about the Health Technologies Fund again. Remember, the program has several streams. As a result, by now you are probably eligible for Pre-Market Evaluation or Early Adoption. Both streams offer up to $500,000 in funding support.

Funding in the next 18-24 months

So, hopefully at this point in time you were able to collect somewhere between $30,000 and $100,000 in funding support. Perhaps even more than that – around $500,000. However, I do know it is still not enough. What else can you do?

Before you start selling, consider applying for the Build in Canada Innovation Program. This is one of my favourite funding programs and I wrote another blog to help you understand this program better. In short, the program matches you with a federal department that will test your technology. But that is not all. To test the technology, they will actually buy it from you. Yes, they will buy it – with up to $500,000 available per innovation in a standard component. (Similarly up to $1,000,000 is available in a military component.)

Final thought

Are there any other grants you can leverage? If you need to hire people, then you may want to read one of our blogs on hiring.


ConnexFund specializes in grants and funding for innovative companies and start-ups with a focus on technology and manufacturing. Many Canadian businesses are aware that there is some free money available for them. But not so many know where to find it, how to access it and how to prepare a grant application that is successful. And this is exactly what ConnexFund does!