Alberta Innovates tops up COVID-19 relief program for small businesses with $350,000


At the end of December, Alberta Innovates extended its Innovation Relief and Recovery Program with $350,000, in an effort to help more small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Alberta Innovates identified a further need to support more projects to help Alberta businesses.”

The program initially launched in the fall of 2020 with $400,000 in funding from the federal government through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), the regional development agency for Alberta. That initial funding was part of a total $1.3 million contribution from WD to Alberta Innovates.

“The [Innovation Relief and Recovery] program has received a tremendous response with outstanding proposals from the applicants,” Alberta Innovates said in a statement last month. “Consequently, we heard from entrepreneurs there is a need for more of this kind of support.”

This new funding, which was provided entirely by Alberta Innovates, is aimed at supporting an additional 38 SMBs in their recovery from disruptions caused by the pandemic.

The Innovation Relief and Recovery program offers tech businesses with access to various technical and business supports that are not covered through other relief programs.

Project activities may include product testing and refinement, manufacturing capacity improvement, customer discovery work as well as professional services such as human resources, legal, and financial required to support relief and recovery. Support for each project Franges from $5,000 up to $10,000.

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The $400,000 in federal funding for Alberta Innovates’ relief and recovery program was delivered in the fall through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, a national program created to deliver more than $1.5 billion to help businesses and communities recover from the pandemic.

“Alberta Innovates identified a further need to support more projects to help Alberta businesses adapt to new realities, and to keep people working,” said Laura Kilcrease, CEO of Alberta Innovates. “Continuing to grow our economy through strong innovation-based businesses is a high priority for us.”

The top-up of Alberta Innovates’ program came at the end of a significant year of development for Alberta’s tech sector. One of those developments included the Alberta government’s $75 million investment strategy, which outlines various strategies for specific sectors, including technology and innovation, and FinTech, among others.

The investment strategy was hinted at when the province revealed its economic recovery plan, which was focused on driving capital into Alberta. That plan included funding to several key innovation organizations, including the Alberta Enterprise Corporation.

Image source Wikimedia Commons.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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