With federal backing, University of Calgary gears up to launch ElevateIP Alberta program

Photographer: Riley Brandt University of Calgary, 2012
Startups will be able to access up to $100,000 in IP-related funding.

The University of Calgary is gearing up to fully launch ElevateIP Alberta, the Albertan iteration of the federal intellectual property (IP) program.

ElevateIP aims to help business accelerators and incubators provide tools for Canadian startups to understand, manage, and leverage their IP. Alberta’s program, delivered by the University of Calgary in partnership with Innovate Calgary and Economic Development Lethbridge, aims to support more than 2,500 startups in Alberta.

In 2021, the federal government invested $90 million over the four years for ElevateIP.

ElevateIP Alberta is nearing the end of what it called a successful pilot that saw over 175 applications from across the province. With $9.9 million in federal backing, the program will be launched in full, with more access to funding support. 

According to ElevateIP Alberta, with the full program rollout, participating startups will gain access to funding of up to $15,000 for the development of their IP strategies, as well as potential funding of up to $100,000 for implementation.

In a statement, Kevin Dahl, director of ElevateIP Alberta, said the pilot was focused on conducting local research, identifying gaps, and ultimately shaping the Alberta iteration of the program. 

“Protecting intellectual property is pivotal to a startup’s success – it safeguards innovation, secures competitive advantage, attracts investment, and ensures the uniqueness vital for market recognition and growth,” Dahl added.

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The federal ElevateIP initiative is part of Canada’s National Intellectual Property Strategy. In 2021, the federal government invested $90 million over the four years for the program. A spokesperson for Innovation Calgary told BetaKit that this latest federal injection is part of that $90-million commitment. 

Alberta is just one of the regions delivering the federal ElevateIP program. Last year, Springboard Atlantic, the Atlantic Canada delivery partner for ElevateIP, launched its “IP Advantage” program. That same month, the government of British Columbia committed $2.5 million for intellectual property support to bolster the federal ElevateIP program.

The launch of the federal IP program followed a series of reports that found Canada lagged global peers in intellectual property rights. In 2019, Canada was ranked the fourteenth country globally by number of IP rights filed, and according to a Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) survey from the same year, only two percent of Canadian SMEs said they owned a patent.

Feature image courtesy The University of Calgary.

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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