Article courtesy of The National Research Council (NRC)

The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State (Science and Technology), joined by John R. McDougall, President of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), announced a new program that will help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) access the business and technical services they need to get innovative products and services to market faster.

The Business Innovation Access Program, a $20-million investment, will leverage the extensive networks and knowledge within NRC’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) to connect SMEs with universities, colleges and other research institutions to address and resolve barriers to the commercialization of ideas, products and services. The support available through the program can involve external business services such as planning and marketing as well as technical services such as specialized testing, product prototyping and process development.

The Business Innovation Access Program follows from a series of recommendations made by the independent Research and Development Review Expert Panel lead by Tom Jenkins in 2010-11 to better focus federal investments while maximizing innovation and economic benefit for Canadians.

To date, the Government of Canada has delivered on a number of recommendations from the Panel: it has created a Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP) to increase private sector venture capital funds; transformed the National Research Council into a business-focused research council; created a Concierge service to help SMEs navigate existing government innovation programs; leveraged federal government procurement to encourage innovative Canadian products and services; doubled the investments of the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP); and encouraged continued partnerships between Canadian universities, colleges and businesses.