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Federal Government Invests in BC Tech Companies through BC Fast Pilot Program

By September 20, 2020 October 13th, 2020 No Comments

National Research Council’s (NRC) Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and Innovate BC announced over $2 million in R&D funding for 22 new projects in BC through the BC Fast Pilot Program. This is the second round of the program.

The B.C. Fast Pilot Program helps Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) design, build, and operate a pilot plant or small demonstration of their technology in real-world conditions by providing a contribution of up to $200,000. It is funded jointly by the NRC and Innovate BC. A full list of projects, both round one and round two, can be found on the Innovate BC website, and the news release is available on the NRC website.

Program eligibility:

•Be a B.C.-based business.
•Have less than 500 employees on payroll.
•Have developed a prototype and are ready to demonstrate the technology
Science or knowledge put into practical use to solve problems or invent useful tools.
at a customer site.
•Have an early adopter or potential customer identified.
•Secure an IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA) and;
•Meet NRC-IRAP’s eligibility criteria for financial support.

Priority areas include but are not limited to:
1. Regional B.C. SMEs and pilot implementations/sites in B.C., especially outside the Lower Mainland.
2. Pilot initiatives in the cleantech sector defined as processes, products, or services that reduce negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities.
3. Pilot initiatives related to emergency management and involving Indigenous communities or organizations.

Background:

  • Since 2019, $3.8M has been invested into 34 B.C. pilot demonstrations through the B.C. Fast Pilot Program
  • The first round of 12 projects featured pilot demonstrations across British Columbia, including regional communities in Merritt, Kamloops and Okanagan Lake. Notable companies to receiving funding during the first round of the program include:
    • Open Ocean Robotics (Okanagan Lake, B.C.) The firm created the first solar-powered uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) for seafloor mapping and revolutionized the way hydrographic data is collected in coastal areas and lakes. This demonstrated the feasibility of using a zero-emission autonomous vessel for work that is typically done using a crewed boat, which has advantages of no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increased safety for crew, reduced cost, and faster results.
    • CommandWear (Kamloops, B.C.) The project enabled Field Commanders and Emergency Operations Centre Commanders to communicate, collaborate, access, and assess real-time situational data to enable a cohesive, fast, accurate, and safe team response to emergency situations in remote areas, including forest fire management and response in B.C.’s First Nations communities.
    • Acuva Technologies (Burnaby, B.C.) The project provided low-maintenance, mercury-free, and off-grid water disinfection systems that can meet the demand for purified water in First Nations communities in BC.