Innovate BC and NRC IRAP investing in B.C. businesses through pilot program
by CM Staff
This third round of funding prioritizes regional projects, with a focus on cleantech and projects that involve physical installations and are capital intensive in nature.
VANCOUVER — Innovate BC and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) are providing a combined total of over $2 million in research and development funding to help 14 companies pilot their technologies and create new jobs across B.C.
The program helps small and medium sized businesses design, build, and operate a pilot plant or small demonstration of their technology while helping to solve real world problems. Examples of these solutions include mitigating the impacts of climate change, improving operational efficiencies, and increasing health and safety. By providing up to $200,000 in funding for each project, the B.C. Fast Pilot Program enables B.C. technology companies to demonstrate the impact of their product, measure the value of their solution, and encourage customer adoption. For customers, the program offers a way to minimize some of the risk that traditional industries encounter when adopting new technologies.
“Small and medium sized businesses are at the root of solving problems people face everyday,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “The BC Fast Pilot initiative is helping businesses take problem solving to a new level while tackling our worlds greatest challenges led by new ideas and innovations. I encourage all eligible businesses to take advantage of this great program and their solutions on how to contribute to a Stronger B.C. for everyone.”
“Great ideas are the first step in driving innovation. With this investment, talented Canadian entrepreneurs are getting the help they need to move their ideas to market and support a greener more sustainable future through technology,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
This is the third round of funding through the BC Fast Pilot Program, originally launched in 2019.
In the first two years of the program, 34 pilot demonstrations were funded a combined total of $3.8M. Notable outcomes include the creation of 65 jobs, the acquisition of 75 new customers, and an increase of $10.4M in new revenue for participating projects.
“Our province is full of great ideas that are just waiting to be uncovered,” said Brenda Bailey, Parliamentary Secretary for Technology, and Innovation. “This program has become a great resource for tech start-ups looking to develop and adapt pilot projects. I look forward to seeing businesses from this program flourish and go on to make their mark on the domestic and international stage.”
One of these projects, from Burnaby-based Acuva Technologies, provided low maintenance, mercury-free, and off-grid water disinfection systems that can meet the demand for purified water in First Nations communities in B.C. Founded in 2014 with the mission to address barriers to safe drinking water, Acuva has now grown into an international operation with B.C. based researchers.
“We’re thrilled to deliver the BC Fast Pilot Program with NRC IRAP. Access to funding is such an important part of accelerating technology development and adoption across British Columbia – especially for capital intensive projects,” says Raghwa Gopal, President and CEO of Innovate BC. “We couldn’t be prouder of the success of this initiative that has generated jobs, reduced GHG emissions, created opportunities for First Nations communities and contributed to the growth of B.C.’s innovation economy.”
This third round of funding prioritizes regional projects, with a focus on cleantech and projects that involve physical installations and are capital intensive in nature, and those that involve Indigenous communities or organizations.