The technology sector forms a robust economic foundation in Alberta, with the number of technology companies soaring by 87% between 2009 and 2020. With this upward trend, more programs have been made readily available for Alberta, Canada, in 2021, including tax incentives and grants, in addition to non-governmental assistance initiatives. Beyond incentives offered via the federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program, Albertan companies will find a host of Canadian innovation programs available to them to help bring innovative technologies to market.
Government Sources of Funding for Innovation
The provincial government offers several programs designed for companies of all sizes pursuing commercialization of technological developments. These programs seek to expand Alberta’s knowledge economy, attract investment dollars and support positive environmental, economic, and social outcomes.
Innovation Employment Grants
The Innovation Employment Grant is available to businesses in any industry. It covers the same expenditures as the federal SR&ED program. In general, the grant focuses on those companies that may not yet be profitable and have less than $50 million in taxable capital. No application process is required. Instead, companies may claim the grant as part of their annual corporate tax returns.
The funding rate is 20% of qualifying expenditure that exceeds a corporation’s base spending level. This fills the gap from 2020 where the funding rate was 0%, and is an increase from the 2019 funding rate of 10%. Additionally, a corporation may receive an 8% payment for qualifying R&D expenses up to its base level of spending. This funding is available in addition to the 35% Federal ITC refund, and eligible businesses may receive up to $4 million.
GreenSTEM supports high-tech entrepreneurial development and the founding of clean technology companies throughout Alberta. The program provides the funding, expertise, and infrastructure required to help recent Master’s and Ph.D. graduates pursue technological entrepreneurship.
Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA)
ERA helps build clean technology from pilot to deployment. Investments are offered for cleaner oil and gas, low-emitting electricity systems, food, fibre and bio-industries, and low-carbon industrial processes and products.
Alberta Export Expansion Program
By supporting expansion into global markets, the Alberta Export Expansion Program brings provincial innovations to an international audience. The program provides up to 50% of eligible international travel expenses for companies in the manufacturing, technology, energy, environment, agriculture, and cultural sectors.
Outside provincial funding sources, the City of Calgary continues its important role in Alberta’s innovation and growth with the Opportunities Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF). Unlike many other noted opportunities, OCIF provides financial support for anchor companies to fuel economic development within the city.
Non-Governmental Canadian Innovation Programs
Alberta-based companies will find support from numerous non-governmental organizations dedicated to empowering the technological economy. With opportunities for all industries and stages of development, these programs provide generous funding for R&D expenditures.
Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)
SDTC funding covers up to 33% of project costs related to the development of pre-commercial technologies that will yield environmental and economic benefits. Developers are expected to seek additional funding from governmental sources and private investors.
The province’s largest research and development agency, Alberta Innovates, provides grants and other financial support across industries to fund every commercialization process stage. Available programs include:
- Micro Voucher Program: Eligible SMEs receive grants up to $10,000 to fund expenses related to new product technology development.
- Voucher Program: Grants of up to $100,000 are offered for eligible activities in the middle or late stages of technology development, although applicants at all stages will be considered.
- Carbon Capture and Utilization Program: This program funds the resources needed to support clean technological innovations in carbon capture, utilization, and hydrogen generation.
- TIER Economic Recovery Program: As part of the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction System, the TIER program helps fund innovations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while growing the clean technology sector.
- R&D Associates Program: Qualifying organizations receive up to $67,500 for hiring an R&D professional to speed technology from research to market.
- Commercialization Associates Program: Similar to the R&D Associates Program, this funding opportunity offers qualifying SMEs up to $105,000 for hiring commercialization specialists.
- Product Demonstration Program: This program delivers up to $150,000 over one year to showcase promising technological offerings to prospective clients.
- Accelerating Innovations into Care (AICE) Programs: AICE-Validate funds up to 75% of project costs up to $300,000 for up to two years to bring digital and data-enabled health technologies to market. AICE-Market Access offers up to 50% of applicable project costs up to $300,000 over two years to fund clinical and real-world trials at any location.
- ImplementAB.digH: This program helps companies engage in direct healthcare delivery to overcome implementation barriers with up to $300,000 in funding for up to two years.
Maximizing Sources of Funding for Innovation – Including SR&ED Advances
Success in the technology sector requires capital to support payroll, engineering services, materials, and more. In addition to exhausting available Canadian innovation programs for Alberta, consider financing your Grants and SR&ED refunds with Easly. Our Capital-as-a-Service platform allows companies to receive funding up to a year in advance, helping them stay ahead of competitors and expenses. Contact us to learn more.