Today in government funding: Edmonton, Niagara, Vancouver

As the federal election looms, ISED is doling out a number of investments for innovation projects across Canada, totalling to more than $40 million. The investments are going to 23 projects in Edmonton for a combined $27 million, three Niagara projects receiving a total of $13 million, and two Vancouver initiatives receiving $453,000 overall.

Edmonton-based projects receive $27 million

The federal government has announced an investment of $27 million for 23 projects across Edmonton and surrounding areas through three different funding streams.

Funding from the Business Scale-up and Productivity program will support 12 small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Edmonton, DeBolt, and Leduc. The government will provide interest-free loans for these projects, which specialize in nanotechnology, cosmetics, electronics, health technology, textiles, and digital technology.

“These investments will help position Edmonton and surrounding areas to prosper from their unique advantages.”
– Minister Navdeep Bains

Through the Regional Innovation Ecosystems program, the government is providing $6 million to eight projects in Edmonton, related to advanced manufacturing, aviation, youth-developed technologies, natural products and foods, life sciences, and artificial intelligence. Notable recipients from this stream of funding include the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute, which received $2.7 million, and Startup Edmonton, which will use $250,000 to create a Youth Entrepreneurship Program.

The University of Alberta received $1.6 million from this stream, to test and validate renewable jet fuels, and to put on a hackathon and international advanced manufacturing event.

Through the Western Diversification Program, three projects in Edmonton will receive a combined investment of $2 million to support the development of autonomous vehicles, advanced manufacturing, and natural resources. From this stream, the University of Alberta received an additional investment of $1 million to develop an advanced manufacturing system for automated repairs of heavy machine components.

“A diversified economy is important to our ability to seize opportunities in the rapidly changing global economy,” said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science, and economic development. “Through the substantial investments the Government of Canada is making in Edmonton and surrounding areas, we are ensuring the region’s continued leadership in sectors such as autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, textiles, [and] life science. These investments will help position Edmonton and surrounding areas to prosper from their unique advantages.”

Niagara projects receive $13 million investment

The federal government also announced a $13 million investment for three Niagara, Ont.-based projects through FedDev Ontario. These investments include about $5 million for Niagara College, roughly $5 million to Brock University, and nearly $3 million to the City of Niagara Falls.

Niagara College will collaborate with Vineland Research and Innovation Centre as well as the University of Guelph to create a Greenhouse Technology Network. The network will bring together greenhouse growers and technology experts to accelerate the development, commercialization, and adoption of new greenhouse technologies.

Brock University will use its funding to launch the Brock-Niagara Validation, Prototyping and Manufacturing Institute (VPMI), a facility for businesses in the bioproducts, bioscience, bio-agriculture, and chemical manufacturing sectors.

Niagara

Leaders of Ontario’s post-secondary community and attendees at Tuesday’s announcement in Niagara (Courtesy MP Vance Badawey)

The City of Niagara Falls, in partnership with Ryerson University and Spark Niagara, will create the Niagara Falls-Ryerson Innovation Hub (NFRIH), a business incubator focused on digital media technologies. The incubator will be modelled after Ryerson’s DMZ, offering access to expertise, mentorship, research and development, and international partnerships to incubate and scale digital media startups. This funding is meant to help support 85 companies and commercialize 12 new innovations.

“Today’s announcement is truly exciting news for the Niagara region. The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening southern Ontario’s innovation economy by investing in the startups and entrepreneurs of this region,” said Vance Badawey, MP for Niagara Centre. This project will create a more diverse economy for Niagara, boosting our strong agri-business and digital media sectors, while adding good jobs for the region we call home.”

Vancouver Economic Commission gets $453,000

Finally, the government is investing $453,000 for two projects led by the Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) in the gaming and cleantech sectors.

VEC will receive $353,550 to develop the Technology Deployment Network, an online platform that joins large institutions with innovators to develop cleantech solutions. VEC will also receive $100,000 to develop a strategy to promote Greater Vancouver as an e-sports hub.

The government is hoping the Technology Deployment Network will accelerate early adoption of clean technologies by providing innovators with access to institutional partnerships, and a platform to prove the commercial viability of new products and services. The initiative intends to help 20 Western Canadian companies demonstrate their products or services, generate 10 partnerships, and create up to 30 procurement opportunities.

The VEC’s other initiative is aimed to establish Vancouver as an e-sports hub, by boosting tourism revenues, providing a platform for digital technology companies to showcase their talent, and promoting business growth in the region.

“Vancouver is Canada’s fastest-growing and most diverse low-carbon economy, with local companies continuing to play a crucial role on the front lines of climate action and digital innovation,” said Catherine Warren, CEO of VEC. “This federal funding for tech deployment unleashes the chance for startups to work with keystone institutions on urgently needed climate solutions. And funding for a regional Vancouver e-sports strategy underscores Vancouver’s bench strength in the tech, creative and entertainment industries.”

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast