When the budget was announced in March 2017, the federal government promised $950 million towards ‘superclusters’, which would be provided on a competitive basis to business-led clusters. At the time, there were few details.
Today, the federal government announced specifics on the innovation superclusters initiative, which officially launched its application process. Today is the beginning of a two-phase application process; the first phase includes a Letter of Intent, and the second phase later this year begins with an invite-only full application.
“The historic superclusters initiative announced today will create well-paying middle-class jobs and help grow the economy,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “Our government’s Innovation and Skills Plan will equip Canadians with the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and this investment in innovation will create those jobs.”
The initiative is open to “industry-driven consortia,” which it defines as a group of SMBs or SMEs, and organizations like not-for-profits and research institutions. An eligible consortium must include a minimum number of partner applicants, and be represented by a lead applicant. To receive the funding, each consortium must be incorporated as a not-for-profit organization governed by a board of directors.
However, the money doesn’t come with no strings attached; consortia are required to leverage funding from the private sector, and co-invest, dollar for dollar, to match the federal contribution approved under the program.
The initiative will select up to five clusters in areas like advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, digital technology, health and biosciences, clean resources, and infrastructure and transportation.
The Globe and Mail reports that applicants in the second phase of the process have until October 20 to submit detailed proposals, and winning consortiums will include two leading anchor companies, six small and medium-sized enterprises, and one postsecondary institution.
Applications will be assessed based on their strategy for creating and growing new companies, creating jobs that require advanced skill sets, attracting private investment, and generating meaningful economic activity that benefits the country. Startups find out more details on the Letter of Intent here. Letters of Intent are due by July 21, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST.