Setting up your own business is a quagmire of problems and obstacles that only a few can traverse. You need to have a plan in place, an efficient team, resources and most importantly, an investing capital that is required to obtain all these requirements. Often paying out of your own pocket is not possible, and getting a bank to sanction large loans is difficult.
However, if your project has merit, there are other avenues you can pursue. Albert-Ontario Innovation Program helps projects like yours be set up and succeed without the hassle of diminishing money. Small business grants Ontario tells you how.
How the Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program works?
The Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program is a joint venture by Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures (AITF) and the Ontario Centers of Excellence (OCE) that aims to solve key industry and academia issues across the two provinces. The program tries to enable greater access to research and development in order to address challenges that plague a myriad of projects and thus provide economic benefit for both the provinces. Thus projects that involve job creation and retention, increased productivity, revenue growth or knowledge transfer have a higher chance of success in securing the grant.
The grant application process includes a competitive two-step procedure that requires the applicant to submit and extensive Expression of Interest (EOI). Applicants whose EOIs are selected are then requested to submit an NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council) application. The NSERC then coerces industries in both Ontario and Alberta to submit contributions for intriguing projects. In select cases, federal sources like IRAP or Genome Canada may be also requested for funding.
What are the minimum requirements?
To receive grants for a project, you must have at least one partner from any industry in either of the provinces. Your projects must have at least two research partners, one from each province. Project duration cannot exceed 24 months.
Industry partners require must be from either Alberta or Ontario and the company must exist as a provincially or federally registered organization. The industry must be for profit and be innovation driven. It must have been in operation for at least two years, have sound business plan and good financial standing. In case of NSERC funding, complying with NSERC rules is mandatory.Research partners must be full time employees at accredited academic institutions. Some institutions are eligible while others may be judged in a case to case basis.
How to apply for Alberta-Ontario Innovation Program?
Business owners who have carefully reviewed the eligibility criteria and wish to apply may submit an EOI at any time when the program is open. Applicants whose proposals are accepted will be invited by the NSERC to submit a full application. The full application may be submitted to the AITF, OCE or NSERC by the date recommended in the EOI form.
A joint AITF-OCE panel will review forms submitted and decide on applications that will be selected. Projects that are finally approved are required to follow the guidelines present on the NSERC website.For a complete list of guidelines and eligibility criteria, you can visit the AOP website.
The great thing about the AOP is that it recognizes projects that can actually help the community and strives to bring them to fruition. Since the organization uses provincial and federal funds there is little risk of you having to abandon your work mid-project because of loss of funding. If you can prove your work is worth it, with their help, you can bring it to success.