Launched just this year by the Canadian government, the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) provides financial assistance for projects that focus on technology development and increased productivity.

Purpose of the SIF

The SIF supports the development of innovative products and services, thereby encouraging the transfer and commercialization of technological initiatives. Ultimately, the goal of the SIF is to help expand the Canadian technology and industrial sectors, while promoting large-scale investment in Canada.

How much funding is available?

This funding program provides repayable and non-repayable contributions of up to 50% of project costs. The exact amount of funding will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Some of the costs that are eligible for financial assistance include direct labour costs, materials and equipment, land and buildings, subcontractors and consultants, and overhead. Examples of ineligible costs are sales and marketing expenses, depreciation of assests, income taxes and GST, and losses on investments.

What types of projects qualify for funding?

Proposed projects are assessed according to their Technology Readiness Level (TRL), a measure, on a scale of 1 to 9, of how close they are to commercialization. The SIF offers funding through four distinct streams of activities, and each stream has its own criteria for project eligibility:

  • Stream 1: R&D that encourages technology transfer and commercialization of innovative products. Project should have a TRL of 1-9.
  • Stream 2: Activities that accelerate business growth and expansion in Canadian-based organizations. TRL of 8-9.
  • Stream 3: Investment attraction and reinvestment in Canadian business. TRL of 2-9.
  • Stream 4: Collaborative activies that advance industrial research, development, and technology. (We will discuss this stream further in a later blog.)

Who can apply?

All small, medium, and large companies can apply for funding as long as they (1) are incorporated under the laws of Canada, and (2) do business in Canada. Thus, non-incorporated businesses are not eligible for funding.

As you can see, funding through the SIF is open to a wide range of business sizes and industries. However, as this is a very competitive program, companies with strong potential for growth and proven advances in innovation will definitely have an advantage.

How do I apply for the SIF?

For Streams 1-3, there are no submission deadlines, so applications for funding can be submitted any time throughout the year. To apply:

  1. Submit a Statement of Interest (SOI). This provides an overview of your project and explains why it may be a good fit for the SIF. (You can dowload and submit the SOI forms on the Government of Canada’s website.)
  2. If your SOI is successful, you will be asked to complete a full application. This is a more detailed description of your project, including an analysis of your project’s innovation and economic benefits.

Final thought

This funding program has been allotted $1.26 billion over 5 years, a great incentive to spur innovation and advance technology in all sectors of Canada’s economy. Could your business benefit from funding via the Strategic Innovation Fund? Contact ConnexFund to find out whether your project is a suitable candidate for the SIF.

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!