There are many resources such as funding programs, expert advice, mentorship programs and more that can help small businesses accelerate.
But because there’s so much information out there and business owners don’t necessarily know what they are looking for, many business owners give up the search in frustration or remain unaware of how they could have taken advantage of various programs.
A new program has recently been launched across Canada to solve this problem. The Concierge Service aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises navigate the many innovation resources and support programs offered by the government and partner organizations.
The bilingual Concierge Service is delivered by the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program in collaboration with over 40 federal and provincial partners.
The aim is to have a place that business owners can turn to for one-on-one expert advice and a one-stop shop where all relevant information can be accessed. The program provides advisers who can conduct an audit of a company’s needs and provide relevant advice as well as contact information for the right organizations or people to meet those needs.
The advisers won’t help a company create a business plan, but they will direct company owners to where they can get assistance to do so.
The goal is to fast-track the company’s search for the right information rather than simply direct someone to a website where they can get lost and frustrated.
The Concierge Service is best suited to Canadian small and medium-sized businesses in any industry or sector, incorporated or not, that are:
- Looking to expand their business through innovation
- Looking for support with research and development initiatives
- At any stage of company life cycle (early startup, pre-revenue, etc.)
- At any stage of product or technology development (prototyping, testing, manufacturing, etc.)
- From zero to 500 employees
- Looking for help accessing funding, advice, expertise, facilities or equipment to support innovation.
What is innovation?
The Concierge Service defines innovation as the ability to create new products and services, to find novel uses for existing products or services and to develop new markets. This includes:
- Developing an innovative product by adapting, enhancing or improving an existing one
- Creating a completely new product that uses/embeds a new technology and in itself is like no other because it performs the product function in a new way
- Developing innovative processes whose goal is to change how a product is produced and delivered, which reduces cost, increases convenience or adds to a company’s ability to grow
- Conducting research where the goal is to create an innovative product or innovative process for commercialization.
How to contact the Concierge Service
You can visit the Concierge Service website at www.concierge.portal.gc.ca to search for and access relevant programs and resources.
For more customized assistance, businesses are encouraged to contact the Concierge Service Client Contact Centre at 1-855-53-GUIDE.