The Innovation Fund assists businesses to bring a new product, service, or process (“product”) to market by providing financial support for the costs to refine and commercialize an innovative product that has demonstrated potential for export market uptake.
The Innovation Fund has two streams:
- The New Product stream can support the transition from a demonstrated beta/pilot/prototype product to the final stage refinements for scale-up and full commercial development of the product.
- The Product Diversification stream can support the adaptation of an existing product for a new market segment, where refinement and enhancement changes are required to function in a new geographical area, vertical or industry (to adjust to different requirements, such as regulatory/legal, business environment, industry requirements, culture, etc.).
Who is eligible for Innovation Fund?
To be an eligible applicant, a business must be located in Prince Edward Island and:
- be registered to conduct business and actively operating in Prince Edward Island;
- exports products that it manufactures, processes, or develops; and
- operates within one of these strategic sectors:
- aerospace and defence
- advanced manufacturing and processing
- renewable energy and clean technology
- information and communications technology
- creative and cultural industries
- first-of-its-kind exportable goods or services in other sectors may be considered.
A business that has a defaulted outstanding debt obligation on file in the Province’s Central Default Registry is not eligible for Innovation PEI assistance.
What activities and costs are supported?
Funding may be available to support costs associated with validation, refinement, diversification, and/or commercialization.
To be eligible, a business must demonstrate that the product:
- is at a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6,7, 8 or 9 or equivalent as per Industry Canada;
- has demonstrated potential for export market uptake; and
- has a high likelihood of successful commercialization and a demonstrated path to market, including detailed timeline and milestones.
Eligible costs are limited to non-recurring direct costs to complete the project, including (this list is representative, not exhaustive):
- business incurred labour and wage costs (maximum of 25% of project);
- subcontracting, engineering, and consulting expenses;
- product or process testing and refinement;
- intellectual property strategy and protection;
- market research and market strategy development;
- regulatory strategy;
- cost of industry or product certification required for entry into new markets;
- refinements related to regionalization, industry customization, etc. to adapt an existing product for entry in a new market;
- production / process strategy and planning; and
- other direct project costs required to complete supported activities, as approved by Innovation PEI and detailed in a letter of offer to a successful applicant.
What level of assistance is available?
The Innovation Fund may be accessed once per product; the business should consider the stage at which the support will be most beneficial.
The Innovation Fund provides up to 50 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $50,000 in assistance per approved project.
The combined project funding from all non-repayable government sources cannot exceed 75 per cent of eligible costs.
What criteria are used to evaluate funding applications?
All applications will be subject to due diligence on the business and the new product, to evaluate the capacity of the business to complete the project and achieve the stated outcomes. Innovation PEI may use external experts to review technical aspects of an application. All reviewers will be bound by confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements.
Not all projects meeting the minimum criteria will receive funding. Applications will be evaluated on factors that include:
- demonstrated innovation and market potential;
- senior management, technical, and workforce capability;
- track record of the business, including any demonstrated success in the commercialization of new products;
- intellectual property ownership or rights to allow for exploitation of the new product;
- evidence the business has the financial capacity to complete the project, including business contribution and assistance from other government programs;
- potential for the generation of:
- export sales, including entry in new markets or new market segment
- additional employment opportunities for Prince Edward Island residents
- environmental impact; and
- brief and clear business case that the new product:
- will satisfy customer needs unmet by existing products,
- will meet customer needs in a novel way, or
- otherwise demonstrates a unique value proposition for customers.
The project must provide economic benefit to the province of Prince Edward Island.
If the application is approved, Innovation PEI will require acceptance of a letter of offer stating the terms and conditions of approval. When accepted, the letter of offer shall constitute a contract between Innovation PEI and the applicant(s).
How do I apply?
Innovation PEI encourages potential applicants to consult with an Innovation PEI Business Development Officer for guidance on the suitability of the project and the application process. If the project is not a good candidate for the Innovation Fund, the Business Development Officer may recommend alternative funding programs that may be available.
An application must be submitted before any financial or legal commitment is made on the project.
What do I need to apply?
To complete the application, be prepared to provide detailed business information and supporting documents including:
- outline the history and provide a description of the business;
- existing businesses will need detailed Financial Statements for the previous two years;
- new businesses will need a completed business plan;
- description of the proposed project or activity in relation to the products and/or services delivered by the business;
- detailed description of the economic benefits to the organization and to Prince Edward Island;
- detailed information on the estimated costs of the proposed project or activity (cost estimates should be supported by written quotations);
- source of funds for the project (for example, lending institutions, banks, government loans and/or grants);
- explanation of the business's current market position and projected market, outlining any increases in market share; and
- a list of all shareholders and key management personnel.