One of the greatest difficulties small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) frequently face is taking their ideas from the drawing board to the marketplace.
This is what Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) heard during consultations with western Canadian businesses. When it comes to commercializing a product or service or expanding existing ones into new markets, risk-averse private investors often shy away.
Starting November 9, entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan, will have access to a new federal government program designed to bridge that funding gap according to Michelle Rempel, minister of state for western economic diversification.
“This initiative will help address a need identified by western Canadian businesses to help bring leading-edge innovations to domestic and global markets,” Rempel said.
Rempel announced the five-year, $100 million Western Innovation Initiative (WINN) October 25.
Eligible businesses can apply for up to $3.5 million for a single project and $7.5 million total over the course of the program in matching repayable investment.
To be eligible a business must meet seven criteria including being incorporated in Canada, having less than 50 full-time employees and having operating facilities in one of the four western provinces.
Eligible projects include new products, processes or services, improvement of products processes and services, product certifications and pilot projects.
Full criteria for business, project and costs eligibility are currently available on WD’s website; application information will go up at 12:01 mountain time November 9.