The federal government has launched a new $100 million program to help western Canadian businesses bring their new technologies to market.
Under the Western Innovation Initiative (WINN), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the nation’s west can apply for funding to help commercialize new products, according to Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel.
The program will provide up to $100-million in repayable funding over the next five years to help SMEs with product testing and technology demonstrations, equipment purchases and installation, regulatory approval, marketing and intellectual property protection on the road to market.
“WINN demonstrates our government’s commitment to ensuring that Canadian businesses continue to grow and generate high-value jobs across the West,” Rempel said in a statement announcing the program. “This initiative will help address a need identified by western Canadian businesses to help bring leading-edge innovations to domestic and global markets.”
The WINN Initiative is taking aim at smaller firms across a range of sectors, including clean technology and energy, aerospace and defense and nanotechnology, among others.
“Getting a new idea into the marketplace can be a difficult prospect for a small business,” said Noah Decter-Jackson, CEO of Winnipeg video game developer Complex Games Inc. “The biggest challenge for western Canadian emerging businesses is the funding gap just prior to commercialization, where private investment becomes scarce and companies find themselves without the cash flow to take their innovation to the next level. WINN will help to bridge that gap.”