Ottawa grants $31m to B.C. business incubators, accelerators

Ottawa is cutting a cheque worth $31.4 million for B.C. business accelerators and incubators looking to ...

The BCTIA moves into a new innovation hub at the end of November.

Ottawa is cutting a cheque worth $31.4 million for B.C. business accelerators and incubators looking to boost the performance of local tech startups.

Industry Minister James Moore announced in Vancouver Friday (November 21) the B.C. Technology Industry Association (BCTIA), Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Wavefront Wireless Commercialization Centre Society (WWCCS) and Highline would all receive funds from the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP).

Moore said about one-third of Ottawa’s CAIP funding will go to B.C.

“Here in British Columbia, here in the Lower Mainland, we’re getting double the funding that we would get per capita,” Moore, the MP for Port Moody-Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, said in front of an audience of B.C. tech industry executives and workers.

“It’s not by any bias or any pushing by me as the British Columbia(-based) minister. It’s because all of you have done that well.”

The minister later told reporters B.C. is “where the demand is” for incubator and accelerator funding.

“It’s not proportionate to B.C.’s population but it’s more than proportionate to British Columbia’s demand for the (CAIP) program,” Moore said.

Accelerators and incubators provide early stage companies with resources such as office space, mentorship and networking opportunities to secure funding from investors.

The BCTIA will receive $10.4 million from the federal government, the CDRD gets $10.9 million, WWCCS gets $9.5 million and Highline — which formed in the summer after Vancouver’s GrowLab merged with Toronto’s Extreme Startups — gets $600,000.

The funding announced today will allow the BCTIA to move into a 26,000 square-foot innovation hub in Vancouver by the end of November, BCTIA CEO Bill Tam told Business in Vancouver.

Although a $35-million innovation hub broke ground in Kelowna last month, the BCTIA’s Centre4Growth accelerator as been without a physical space in Metro Vancouver.

Tam said the Centre4Growth program would soon begin transitioning from being a virtual program to one that offers more tangible resources.

“We’re going to be able to support entrepreneurs in an open area,” Tam said, adding he expects about 30 companies to set up in the new facility located on Great Northern Way.

“This will be a great platform, if you will, for a lot of the next generation (of startups).”

Money granted by Ottawa will have to be matched by the four organizations on a 1:1 basis, meaning the BCTIA will have about $21 million to put toward its programs and a new facility.