Last Friday, we were thrilled to be selected as 1 of 5 pre-qualified innovations in Toronto that the Federal Government may buy and test via its Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program. In total, 36 innovations qualified across Canada, in what is the program’s second round. The full press release is available here.
As an added bonus, Public Works and Government Services Canada, who administer the CICP program, organized an event at 30 Ordnance to announce the Toronto innovations. We had the great honour of hosting the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister of the Asia-Pacific Gateway, as well as his PWGSC colleagues, representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI), and other companies who either were selected for the program, or who are interested in applying for the next round.
Here are some photos I took from the morning, starting with John Paul explaining the Sun Simba™ technology to Minister Fast, as his father Eric Morgan (left), also the Strategic Advisor to our Board, and Manny Agiropoulos from PWGSC, look on.
My initial impression from mentioning CICP to others in the industry is that it’s a little lesser known than other Federal and Provincial commercialization programs, perhaps because it’s relatively new. It fills a much-needed gap though, which is the space between the R&D support programs that have a hard stop at your first sale – e.g. Ontario’s Innovation Demonstration Fund and the Federal Sustainable Development Technology Fund Canada – and the incentives that governments offer more established companies to locate R&D and/ or manufacturing, and their associated jobs, in a given place – e.g. Ontario’s Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund.
That’s why programs like CICP, which encourage early adopters to purchase a new technology for demonstration, are so valuable. They represent “intelligent blends of public and private investment”, as a 2005 Forbes article on new technology commercialization put it, that help start-ups traverse that affectionately called ‘Valley of Death’ – the gulf between R&D completion stage, and successful commercialization.