Cleantech, Indigenous communities prioritized with $2 million in B.C. government funding
14 companies received an investment from the BC Fast Pilot program.
When it comes to startup building, a common phrase is that “ideas are worthless and execution is everything.” It speaks to the reality that the best entrepreneurs can’t just talk, they must actually do what they say they’re going to do. But what happens when the product you’re building requires substantial capital investment? What happens when your prospective customers aren’t necessarily willing to pay to test your new widget or piece of hardware? Who’s willing to step in with funding to help de-risk that expenditure? In the case of British Columbia, there’s an app, err, program for that.
Enter the BC Fast Pilot (BCFP) program, which helps regional small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) design, build, and operate a pilot plant or small demonstration of their technology in real-world conditions. The program allows B.C. technology companies to measure the value of their solutions and encourage customer adoption (read: sales).
Through this program, Innovate BC, in partnership with the federal government (NRC IRAP), announced today a combined total of over $2 million in R&D funding for 14 companies to pilot their technologies with the additional goal of creating jobs across B.C.
Why it matters: By providing up to $200,000 in funding for each project, the BC Fast Pilot Program enables B.C. technology companies to demonstrate the impact of their product. In addition, it offers a way to minimize some of the risks that traditional industries encounter when adopting new technologies. Examples of some of the solutions being funded today include mitigating the impacts of climate change, improving operational efficiencies and increasing health and safety.
The full list of companies receiving funding include:
The full list is on Innovate BC’s website.
By the numbers: This is the third round of funding through the BC Fast Pilot Program, originally launched in 2019. In the first two years of the program, 34 pilot demonstrations were funded for a combined total of $3.8 million. Notable outcomes, according to government, include the creation of 65 jobs, the acquisition of 75 new customers, and an increase of $10.4 million in new revenue for participating projects.
“We’re thrilled to deliver the BC Fast Pilot Program with NRC IRAP. Access to funding is such an important part of accelerating technology development and adoption across British Columbia—especially for capital intensive projects,” said Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO of Innovate BC. “We couldn’t be prouder of the success of this initiative that has generated jobs, reduced GHG emissions, created opportunities for First Nations communities and contributed to the growth of B.C.’s innovation economy.”
This third round of funding prioritizes regional projects, with a focus on cleantech and projects that involve physical installations and are capital intensive in nature, and those that involve Indigenous communities or organizations.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are at the root of solving problems people face everyday,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, in a statement. “The BC Fast Pilot initiative is helping businesses take problem-solving to a new level while tackling our world's greatest challenges led by new ideas and innovations.”