A valuable incentive offered by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the Voucher for Commercialization Program is designed for use by both existing Ontario-based companies and new ones looking to start up in the province. It allows for the transfer of research or the use of academic intellectual property as a means for firms to commercialize innovations produced at publicly funded Ontario colleges and universities. The goal of the program is for Ontario’s institutions of higher learning to play a leading role in helping the province’s companies maintain a competitive edge in the world market through the sharing of innovation and research and development.
How Funding Works
The funds provided in this program are intended for use in ways that enhance a company’s business plan by increasing the commercial potential of its output. This is typically done through such steps as prototype design and development, technology and innovation assessment, business and related plan development, and market assessment and strategy. The money may also be put towards consulting services that meet certain OCE criteria. The lifetime maximum amount of investments available from the program is $50,000 in services at Ontario research institutions. For their part, companies are obliged to provide an equal amount in cash and/or an in-kind contribution equal to 25% of the OCE investment.
The Benefits of Funding
There are several reasons why this program can be highly appealing to firms both well established and looking to begin operations. It is always risky to develop new products, even in a vibrant economy. The voucher program helps considerably by both reducing the potential financial strain and providing strategic planning and marketing assistance from OCE Business Development Managers well versed in the market and its challenges. Additionally, it allows organizations to potentially launch a product ahead of the competition, while also creating new revenue that can be used to expand their workforce and initiate other activities that will help the firm to further develop. The market for the project in question must have the potential to exceed $50 million to qualify for OCE funding consideration and the usual launch to completion duration for projects is up to one year.
The Application Process
Unlike some programs, applications for the Voucher for Commercialization can be submitted at any time and are considered by the Ontario Centres of Excellence in timely fashion (usually every six to eight weeks). Applicants feeling that they require assistance have the opportunity to work with OCE business development managers on any portion of the application process. The voucher is also open to companies who would like to use the funds outside of Ontario. For complete details of the program’s eligibility criteria, visit the OCE’s website.
The OCE Voucher for Commercialization Program quite ingeniously combines the intellectual power of Ontario’s publicly funded educational institutions with the savvy of both the province’s proven business leaders and its budding entrepreneurs. It is a talent marriage poised to help Ontario remain at the forefront of the most innovative and progressive entities on the world business stage.
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