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Innovative Solutions Canada Challenge Opportunity

Innovative Solutions Canada is a new program with over $100 million dedicated to supporting the scale up and growth of Canada’s innovators and entrepreneurs by having the federal government act as a first customer. Twenty participating federal departments and agencies will set aside a portion of funding to support the creation of innovative solutions by Canadian small businesses.

Innovative Solutions Canada is aimed squarely at innovators. By funding proposed solutions, the program is supporting the development of early-stage, pre-commercial innovations. The program is 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.

The Concept

A new approach to give small businesses an opportunity to be part of the solution by participating in a highly competitive program that encourages innovation by supporting cutting-edge research and the development of technology and products that will help solve challenges issued by the Government of Canada.

Why Apply

Innovative Solutions Canada want innovators who are willing to push the envelope, scale up their business and undertake the latest in research and development to advance the next generation of solutions that can become viable commercial products.

Responding to a posted challenge and winning an innovative solutions canada grant or contract means that you:

  • Receive funding to develop your solution with no repayment or repayable contribution
  • Retain the rights to the intellectual property you develop
  • Maintain all equity in your company

Getting into the program sends a powerful signal to potential investors and customers that your small business is ready for a challenge, ready to scale up and capable of developing truly novel solutions.

The Challenge

Innovative Solutions Canada have challenges across a wide range of fields that have an impact on the lives of Canadians. To overcome these obstacles, it takes innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. That’s why we’re setting out to work directly with Canadian small businesses and innovators from proof of concept, to prototype, to commercialization. In return, the government will gain access to the latest, most innovative products and services.



Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:

  • For profit
  • Incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
  • 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees
  • Research and development activities that take place in Canada
  • 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in Canada
  • 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of work
  • 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residence

How It Works

The Innovative Solutions Canada program is structured around a graduated, three phase process:

  1. Phase 1 (Proof of concept) If your proposal is selected, you will receive up to six months and up to $150,000 in funding to develop a proof of concept for your solution.
  2. Phase 2 (Prototype development)With a successful concept, you would then be eligible to receive up to two years and up to $1 million in funding to support prototype development.
  3. Phase 3 (Pathway to commercialization)Based on the success of the prototype developed in Phase 2, the federal department or agency that supported the early stage research and development may opt to procure the novel technology or service from the eligible Canadian small business. In Phase 3, funding is to be provided by resources other than the set-asides in Phases 1 and 2. There is no minimum or maximum a department can decide to spend.


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