January 31, 2020
By Carmela De Luca and Alissa Hyppolite
Québec: Have Your Part 1 Applications Ready for April 1, 2020
In April 2018, the Government of Québec launched a new Innovation Program. While the program runs until March 31, 2021, the Ministry of Economy and Innovation has temporarily interrupted Part 1 of the Innovation Program until April 1, 2020 due to the high volume of applications received. Applications received between October 22, 2019, on or after 4:30pm, and March 31, 2020 will not be considered. If you have submitted your application during this period, you will need to resubmit your application on or after April 1, 2020.
The new Innovation Program aims to support businesses, specifically small and medium size businesses, at different stages of an innovation project. Specifically, the program aims to help build innovation capabilities, support companies in their efforts to protect their intellectual property assets, promote more valuable research results and expertise, and foster business partnerships between businesses and between businesses, universities, and research centers in Québec or abroad.
To achieve its objectives, the new Innovation Program consists of two parts:
1) Part 1 of the Innovation Program: Support for Innovation Projects
As per the Ministère de l'Économie et l'Innovation du Québec, Part 1 of the Innovation Program provides support for planning to pre-commercialization of eligible innovation projects.
a) Applicant Eligibility
An applicant must be a single company, a group of companies, or a company/group collaborating with one or more members of QuébecInnove performing research and development. The project may be completed with a partner outside Québec if the project yields results and substantial economic/technological benefits for Québec.
b) Project Eligibility
A project must relate to the development of a new or improved product or process, must have a significant advantage over existing solutions in the national and international market, involve a risk or technological/business uncertainty for the company, need research and development, and have a potential for commercial success once on the market.
c) Eligible Steps/Activities
Eligible project steps and activities include project planning, product and process research and development, product or process qualification performed by a specialist, including intellectual property activities, and technological showcases.
d) Eligible Intellectual Property Expenses
Intellectual property expenses eligible for funding include, essential and reasonable expenses related to preparing an intellectual property protection strategy, obtaining intellectual property protection, and acquiring intellectual property rights or licenses, especially those expenses related to patent applications, such as the fees of a patent agent. These expenses can include prior art searches; opinions on registering, counterfeiting, and the validity of industrial designs; domestic and international patent applications; industrial design registrations; domestic and international integrated circuit topography registrations; and where applicable, research on regulatory approval or certification for the use of a product.
e) Financial Support Available
The funding provided through Part 1 of the Innovation Program is a non-repayable contribution. A company may receive up to $500,000 in non-repayable contributions for the entire duration of the program (from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2021). The maximum rates of financial assistance an applicant can receive from this part of the Innovation Program ranges from 30% to 50% of eligible expenses. The maximum cumulative government assistance an applicant can receive ranges from 50% to 75% of the total project expenditure. Finally, the maximum amount of assistance an applicant can receive per project ranges from $50, 000 to $350,000.
2) Part 2 of the Innovation Program: Support for Innovation Commercialization Projects
Part 2 of the Innovation Program provides support for commercializing innovation resulting from developing a new or improved product or process.
a) Applicant and Project Eligibility
Any for-profit or social economy enterprise carrying out commercial activities may qualify for funding through Part 2 of the Innovation Program. The project must relate to a new or improved product or process, present an advantage over national and international competition, demonstrate commercial potential, have private source funding totaling a minimum of 20% of the project’s costs, and must have required research and development.
b) Support Available
Part 2 of the Innovation Program offers a repayable financial contribution or a loan guarantee. A company may receive funding covering up to 50% of eligible marketing expenses to a maximum amount of $2,000,000, with a financing term of up to 10 years, and a possible moratorium on the repayment of capital.
For more information on Part 2 of the Innovation Program, please consult the Investment Québec webpage (French only).
The federal, provincial, and territorial governments, as well as several not-for-profits, offer an assortment of funding programs aimed to support entrepreneurs with their innovative projects. These programs have different eligibility criteria and provide various types of support for various stages in the innovation process. Innovation Canada, a department of the Federal Government, has launched the innovation.canada.ca digital platform and Innovation Advisor Program, intended to help innovators and entrepreneurs find the appropriate support programs available through the federal, provincial, and territorial governments and not-for-profits.
a) Innovation.Canada.ca Digital Platform
The innovation.canada.ca digital platform is free of charge and designed to provide information tailored to the user. To use the digital platform, the user enters information about their business and receives personalized results identifying the programs they may find the most useful. The platform pulls its results from all the programs available through the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, and not-for-profits receiving government funding. There are currently over 1,000 programs related to funding, helping businesses grow/expand, supporting innovators/innovation in specific areas including digital media, arts, and culture, software related technology, technology generally, social innovation, women-owned companies, indigenous-owned companies, export, and startups.
b) Innovation Advisor Program
The Innovation Advisors Program provides free, one-on-one assistance to guide entrepreneurs to the most appropriate innovation programs and services. To be eligible to use this program, an innovator should be creating a new innovative product, process, or service and have an incorporated business. For more information, please consult the webpage for the Innovation Advisor Program.
If you need advice on protecting your innovation or have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our firm.
Information on this website is for information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or not take any action, based upon this information. Professional legal advice should be promptly obtained. Bereskin & Parr LLP professionals will be pleased to advise you.