The Government of Canada has opened submissions for its $100 million procurement program encouraging small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs to create new technologies around robotics, law enforcement, and aerospace manufacturing.

The Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program was originally announced in the 2017 federal budget and invites SMBs to apply for funding to help them develop their ideas.

According to a Thursday press release, the federal government is now calling on businesses to apply to the program’s first three challenges.

  • develop technology to improve physical interaction between robots, humans and their environment; helping in areas like remote surgery
  • develop a technology to mould composite material to better protect soldiers and law enforcement
  • develop a simulation tool that will help manufacturers of aerospace components produce more cost-effective composite material structures

Chosen businesses will receive up to $150,000 for research and development and if accepted into phase two, will receive $1 million to develop a working prototype.

“The government will then act as a first customer, helping small businesses to commercialize their innovations, scale up their business and create good jobs,” the release stated.

The funding comes from 20 different government departments participating in the program, which are each setting aside one per cent of its procurement and internal research and development spending for the ISC. The overall total of $100 million will be distributed over the next five years.

ISC is part of a larger Innovation and Skills Plan that came from the 2017 budget. It’s a multi-year plan that the Liberal government is hoping will encourage Canadian innovation on a global scale.

Industry leaders see this program as a positive step in helping develop Canada’s technology sector.

“I think the program is tremendous, both in terms of how it can help these small startups and technology companies land a first buyer and also, quite frankly, get experience working with the government,” Ernst & Young government and public sector managing partner Kirsten Tisdale previously told ITBusiness.ca. 

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