In addition to grants and funds for research and development in Canada, the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) is a permanent and competitive first-purchase program awarded by the Government. It offers contracts to innovative businesses to submit a proposal of any pre-revenue products or processes which could potentially improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Canadian government. The Government or the broader public service then reviews these submissions to test how they address current inefficiencies. In exchange for their new tech innovation, businesses receive up to $1,000,00o in government contracts to sell the finished products or services.
The inviting proposals are from technology, equipment, software or services that:
- is defined in one of the standard or military priority areas and can compete in the specified industry
- can clearly demonstrate the potential advantages and how it helps to bridge current inefficiencies over existing goods and services in the specific industry
- can be used effectively and efficiently within federal operations
- has never been sold commercially before applying
- meet the specified levels of technology readiness
- cost no more than $500,000 CAD for standard component innovations and $1,000,000 CAD for military component innovations. Please bear in mind this includes amount before taxes, shipping and proposed travel and living expenses.
- have minimum 80% Canadian content
- have never received an award before through BCIP for the same innovative product or service.
The standard component comprises of four over-arching priority areas namely, enabling technologies, environment, health and safety and security. These priority areas can be further sub-categorized in types of goods and services:
- Information and communications technologies manufacturing and services
- Information management
- Alternative energy
- Energy and material efficiency
- Greenhouse gases
- Health, Safety and security
The military component comprises of six over-arching priority areas namely:
- Arctic and maritime security
- Command and support
- In-service support
- Protecting the soldier
- Training systems
These priority areas can be further sub-categorized in detailed areas. It is mandatory for the technology to not have generated any revenue before submitting the application.
BCIP accepts proposals from any private company, not-for-profit organization, university or individual provided they meet the following eligibility criteria:
- The participating organization or individual must be Canadian or partnered with a Canadian bidder
- The participants own the complete Intellectual Property rights for the proposed innovative product or service alternatively, they could have received a licence to the Intellectual Property.
Recent examples of two notable businesses based in Ontario who have received the BCIP include:
- Interconn Development Ltd: – The company produced an innovative emergency response vehicle. It is aimed at enabling search and rescue operations to reach remote areas not easily accessible by helicopters. The company received an initial investment of $297,045.
- Desire2Learn: The company created an innovative Game-Based Learning System that is an alternative to traditional teaching and learning methods. It has received an award of $163,275 as part of the BCIP program.