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Government of Canada helping small businesses innovate

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OTTAWAMay 8, 2019 /CNW/ – As the single largest purchaser of goods and services, the federal government is using procurement to help Canadian small businesses succeed.

Through the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program, government departments are inviting small businesses to come up with a new innovative product, service or solution in answer to specific challenges they face. Winning small businesses may receive up to $150,000 to refine their research and development and, if accepted into Phase 2, receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. The government can then act as a first customer, helping small businesses to commercialize their innovations, scale up their business and create good middle-class jobs across Canada.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, today announced the launch of two new challenges led by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

First, the CBSA is seeking a solution to process small packets and packages in and out of x-ray systems without being stopped or redirected on a conveyer belt. This technical improvement would help increase contraband detection and allow faster processing of post and parcels for Canadians.

Second, the CBSA is looking for a technological solution to safely and quickly extract and handle samples of potentially highly toxic substances. Currently, officers take samples of unknown substances by hand during the examination of packages from cars, cargo and people. This technological solution would improve the safety of border services officers.

Innovative Solutions Canada is a key component of the government’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a multi-year plan to make Canada a global innovation leader and prepare Canadians to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.


“Our government is using its purchasing power to help small businesses innovate and become more competitive. Through Innovative Solutions Canada, we’re accessing quality products, while businesses are growing and creating good middle-class jobs.” 
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and employ over 8 million hard-working Canadians. That’s why our government is committed to helping small businesses start up, scale up and access new markets. Innovative Solutions Canada is a fantastic program that uses government procurement to help small businesses innovate and then commercialize their innovations. These are worthy new challenges, and I can’t wait to see what our innovative Canadian small businesses come up with.” 
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion

Quick facts

  • Program funding will come from the 20 departments and agencies participating in Innovative Solutions Canada. Each department will set aside funding for this initiative that amounts to one percent of its 2015–16 combined procurement and internal research and development expenditures. Together, the funding from the departments and agencies represents a more than $100-million investment over the course of five years.
  • Small businesses make up 98 percent of Canadian businesses and employ over 8 million hard-working Canadians.
  • Innovative Solutions Canada is encouraging submissions from businesses owned and led by women, Indigenous peoples, youth and members of visible minorities by ensuring those groups are included in the program’s outreach plans and activities.
  • There are hundreds of programs and services that offer everything from funding to expert advice to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada’s economy. With a simple, story-based user interface, the Innovation Canada platform can match businesses with the most fitting programs and services in about two minutes.

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Follow Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada on Twitter: @ISED_CA

SOURCE Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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