Of the many innovative technologies in recent memory, few have had as significant an impact as artificial intelligence (AI). Some companies struggle to move their AI projects from the research phase to the application and commercialization phase. In Canada, Scale AI seeks to address this issue by supporting groundbreaking, collaborative projects that utilize AI to augment supply chains. Discover more about Canada’s Global AI Innovation Cluster and see if your business qualifies for financial support.
Objectives of Scale AI
Scale AI is part of Canada’s Global Innovation Cluster initiative, which brings corporations, non-profit groups, academic institutions, and similar organizations together to promote innovation and establish Canada’s leadership in global markets.
With Scale AI specifically, the goal is to build more intelligent supply chains by connecting businesses across various sectors, such as retail, manufacturing, infrastructure, transportation, and information and communications technology. Scale AI helps Canada partake in new markets and bring products and services to market first, ultimately empowering the nation to become a global export leader.
What Are the Funding Streams of Scale AI?
Scale AI is expected to have a momentous economic impact in Canada. The Global AI cluster is projected to produce more than $16.5 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create over 16,000 jobs by 2028. Funding from Scale AI is divided into three categories:
AI applications can only affect change in the supply chain process once they move from the lab into the field. With funding from Scale AI, businesses can expand their AI products and services and accelerate their time to market, which may also increase profits. Recipients are reimbursed for up to 50% of costs for approved initiatives.
To apply for funding through this stream, your business must submit a proposal to Scale AI. During the review, the Scale AI team will verify the proposal meets eligibility requirements that match their strategic objectives. The five requirements are:
- The project aligns with Scale AI’s goals and relates to AI in supply chains
- The project has been altered to progress Scale AI objectives
- The project involves one or more small to medium-sized enterprise (SME)
- The project has more than one participant, such as an SME, post-secondary institution, or research group
- The project is endorsed by the company’s CEO or another executive
If your business meets eligibility requirements, you will work with Scale AI’s investment team to create a more detailed proposal. This proposal gets a second review to confirm it meets the selection criteria. These stipulations look at the following aspects of your project to determine it’s score:
- Strategic alignment (30%): How effectively the initiative meets Scale AI’s objectives
- Team and project plan (25%): The viability and clarity of the plan regarding cost, management, and other factors
- Ecosystem impact (25%): How the project will benefit the overall ecosystem as it grows in terms of SME scalability, use of intellectual property, jobs creation, and diversity in the workforce
- Business impact (20%): How the initiative responds to market risks and the feasibility of commercialization efforts and AI adoption
If your proposal is chosen during the final selection stage, you will sign an agreement, and the project can begin.
The second component of funding from Scale AI entails investment in the workforce. The Supercluster delivers financial support to increase proficiency in artificial and digital intelligence nationwide. For businesses, this funding involves grants to subsidize the cost of creating personalized AI training programs.
To qualify for funding, a business must design a digital intelligence instructional program with a training organization and train employees who work in Canada. Companies in Quebec also need a business number (NEQ).
Financial support is a refund of 85% of eligible costs for the first $100,000 of the grant and 85% for the balance. To apply for funding, you should first gather all necessary documents from the training course, including the final service offer, the invoice, a list of all participants, and the final amount for reimbursement. Then, fill out the online form.
The Acceleration program focuses on fostering the growth of startups and SMEs that have the potential to become AI giants in the future. The types of projects it supports strengthen efforts between Canada’s top AI incubators and accelerators, cultivate the growth of start-ups bringing AI to supply chains, and encourage AI talent to launch their companies in Canada.
Unlike the other streams, the Acceleration program does not directly fund businesses. Instead, it provides financial support to the organizations that fund these enterprises. Programs Scale AI certifies to receive this funding may obtain up to $50,000 in reimbursement for qualifying expenses per AI startup or SME.
Innovative Project Financing with Easly
Funding from Canada’s Global AI Innovation Cluster can be essential in empowering your business to pursue pioneering projects. However, if you need the funding to begin the initiative, it may not be practical to wait until after the project to get reimbursed. With Easly, you can attain advances on government funding, such as Scale AI grants or Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit refunds, to access these funds sooner.
We align with government mandates to accelerate financial support and get it into the bank accounts of qualifying Canadian organizations. By partnering with Easly, your business can access on-demand and non-dilutive funding through an online Capital-as-a-Service platform.
Contact us today to learn more about Canada’s Superclusters and our financing product.