Photo Credit: Alberta Innovates
Alberta Innovates Tech Futures (AITF) is part of the research and innovation ecosystem that is helping to build healthy and sustainable businesses in Alberta. The government-funded organization offers a variety of programs and services to help SME’s, entrepreneurs, researchers and investors develop and commercialize local technology.
AITF is most commonly known for administering its voucher programs, which are funded by the Government of Alberta and Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education. In 2013/14, AITF awarded 60 $15K Vouchers for opportunity assessments and 16 $50K Vouchers commonly used for product development. They fund innovation products that address a technology gap or current market need in at least one of the following sectors:
- Food and Agriculture
- Oil & Gas
Technologies in other sectors may also be considered, but these sectors are given preference.
Changes to Alberta Innovation Voucher Programs
AITF recently overhauled its $15K and $50K innovation voucher programs and made the following changes:
Increased Funding – vouchers now range between $10K and $300K
More Flexibility – more flexible guidelines on how the funding can be spent
Broader Eligibility – companies with <$50M in revenue and <500 employees are now eligible to apply
Ongoing Application Process – ongoing online application as opposed to submitting a Word doc application for 4 competitive deadlines each year
Faster Processing & Turnaround Times – now notifications will be sent within a few weeks for applications under $10K
More Assistance – Technology Advisors will help entrepreneurs throughout the application process.
Updated Alberta Innovation Voucher Programs:
1. Micro Voucher (Up to $10K)
The Micro Voucher is meant to help early stage companies with market assessment, business planning and buying equipment.
2. Voucher ($10- $100K)
The Voucher is meant to help companies with advanced studies, product/prototype development, IP work.
3. Product Demonstration Program ($100 – $300K)
The Product Demonstration Program (or “PDP”) is meant to enable SME’s to showcase the performance, method and features of a prototype as well as validate its economic and technical feasibility in collaboration with a Project Partner. The specifics of this funding program have not changed.
Who Can Apply?
Alberta-based SMEs, which are defined as “being an incorporated company with fewer than 500 full time employees and less than $50,000,000 annual gross revenue.”
How to Apply?
Contact AITF to connect with your appropriate Technology Advisor (new role within AITF). Work with your Technology Advisor to prepare for the online application.
Note that the application forms will be made available online at the end of June/early July. Once the application forms are available, you can submit an online application at any time (no more quarterly deadlines!)
Other AITF Funding Programs
Here are a few other funding programs that are now available through an online application process:
-Industry r&D Associates Program
-Industry Commercialization Associates Program
For more detailed information about the Voucher Program changes and other funding programs, please visit www.albertatechfutures.ca; Call Edmonton staff at 780-450-5111 or Call Calgary staff at 403-210-5222.
Note: Boast Capital does not assist with AITF voucher applications. We are merely sharing this information so that you are aware of other valuable innovation funding programs.
Program Guide for the Micro-Voucher, Voucher and Product Demonstration Programs