Innovation is the key to gaining a competitive advantage in today’s global marketplace. However, many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in New Brunswick do not have the resources to access the external expertise and facilities needed to engage in Research & Development (R&D) opportunities. To overcome this challenge, we have designed a program to accelerate innovation within SMEs by using the talent, capacity, and facilities of New Brunswick’s research organizations.
Our Innovation Voucher Fund (IVF) provides New Brunswick SMEs with funding to access scientific talent and facilities they need to engage in R&D opportunities. This could include 1) new products or 2) operational efficiencies.
Under this fund, companies are eligible for non-repayable funding of up to $80,000 to cover 80% of the cost of R&D project with one of our approved New Brunswick research institutions. Projects may range in size from $10,000 to $100,000, as to which NBIF will contribute up to a maximum of $80,000. These funds will be provided directly to the collaborating research organization under a contract agreement and used by the researcher to offset the eligible expenses that are incurred in relation to the project.
Any intellectual property (IP) created as a result of the project will be owned by the company that receives the voucher, and for the purposes that the IP was created unless otherwise agreed to by the company.
While identifying a researcher or research organization in advance may be helpful, doing so will have no bearing on the approval process as NBIF will assist in matching the company with a suitable researcher.
Please refer to the NBIF Innovation Voucher Guidelines for a complete explanation, including terms and conditions.
Problem: St. Leonard’s Confection 4e Dimension Ltée (C4D) manufactures over 250,000 pairs of uniform pants every year. With a highly automated production line, one very tricky part of the process had to be done manually - sewing the elastic into the waistband - slowing production.
Solution: With a $38,500 voucher from us, C4D developed a new robotic machine with the Metal Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at CCNB Bathurst that automates the process. It has reduced the cost of this activity by 95%, and increased the company's manufacturing capacity.
Michel St-Armand is now thinking about licensing his innovations to other companies.
Problem: Most of the salmon we eat is grown in sea cages, which inevitably makes them vulnerable to a flea-like creature called sea lice. Sea lice are a naturally occurring parasite found on wild salmon that transmit to farmed salmon and then multiply in the more closely contained farmed fish. Some treatments involve a chemical bath, but the chemicals left behind in the wastewater can have a toxic effect on other marine life.
Solution: With an $80,000 innovation voucher, AquaVet is working with RPC to introduce a new medication, specific for salmon, delivered via their feed. Their preliminary work produced positive results, however, to take it further, their innovation required development work in a laboratory, something they were not equipped to do.
AquaVet's sea lice treatment uses medication instead of chemical baths.
Problem: Did you know that there’s a successful drumstick maker here? Los Cabos Drumsticks sell their drumsticks in more than 22 countries on five continents. A price competitive industry, companies need to focus on production costs to get ahead and stay ahead. Los Cabos' most inefficient process was manually sorting all of the different types of drumsticks they make.
Solution: With an $80,000 innovation voucher, the company worked with the Metal Fabrication Lab at CCNB Bathurst to develop and integrate an automated drumstick sorting machine into their production process. This will add capacity to worker productivity, and better focus labour on more value-added tasks in the factory.
Los Cabos stays competitive with global competition through innovation.
Problem: Turning unsuitable crop into vodka! Strang's Produce wanted to turn their unsuitable and unprofitable crop into a potato vodka, but did not have the expertise or time to create a recipe.
Solution: With a $60,600 innovation voucher, the company worked with CCNB to help with potato processing, saccharification, fermentation, and distillation. The company has since launched a spin-off business called Blue Roof Distillers, and will be selling their new potato-vodka to the public soon!
Making potato waste into vodka.
Companies must meet each of the following criteria to be eligible for funding:
For a project to be eligible, it must demonstrate:
Eligible companies that are interested in pursuing the development of a new or improved product, process or technology are encouraged to submit an application form to NBIF. Successful applicants will be matched with the research professional(s) they require to carry out the innovation. NBIF will contribute up to $80,000 towards the project.
When can my company apply for funding?
Applications can be submitted to NBIF at any time. However, your company can only be involved in one project at any given time. Projects must be completed before you apply for another voucher.
Does the research organization have to be in New Brunswick?
Yes. A list of eligible research organizations is available here.
Can my company suggest a researcher?
Yes, if you have a particular researcher in mind, please include this information in your project proposal.
Who evaluates the projects and decides on funding approval?
NBIF will evaluate and award funding, at its sole discretion, for viable project proposals.
When will I know if my project has been approved for funding or not?
NBIF will make reasonable efforts to communicate funding decisions within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of submission, provided the application is complete and in good order.
My company was approved for funding, how do we proceed?
NBIF will first develop a list of eligible researchers for your company to consider. Once the matchmaking is completed, the researcher and your company must then jointly develop a project work plan and budget to be submitted to NBIF. Once all parties have entered into the contract agreement, the project will commence.
What do I have to contribute to the project?
Participating companies will be expected to make a cash contribution equal to a minimum of 20% of the total project costs.
Do in-kind contributions count?
No. While in-kind contributions may increase your probability of receiving funding, companies are required to make cash contributions towards the project.
Who will be receiving the voucher funds, my company or the research organization?
Funding will flow directly to the participating research organization under a contract agreement. Your company in return will receive the benefits of the research and development services performed.
Can I use the voucher funding to leverage additional funds?
No. The Innovation Voucher Fund is intended to fund stand-alone projects. Once completed, additional funding may be available through NBIF or from other funding agencies to continue the work under a larger project.
When must the project begin?
The project may begin as soon as possible, but no later than 6 months from the award date.
Can we apply for an extension to complete the project?
No. Projects are to be completed within 12 months of the start date.
How can I request a change to the scope of the project?
Any scope changes must be presented to and pre-approved by NBIF.
What if the total project costs end up being higher than originally estimated?
NBIF will provide funding equal to 80% of the total project cost, which cannot exceed the awarded amount. The company and the researcher will be responsible for managing the project and covering any cost overruns.
What if my company has already worked with a researcher, can we still apply for funding under the Innovation Voucher Fund?
To apply for funding under the Innovation Voucher Fund, eligible companies must submit a fully completed application at this link.
Please refer to the NBIF Innovation Voucher Guidelines for complete instructions and more information on the terms and condition of this program. When you are ready to apply, click the button below and fill in the form. Only electronic submissions will be accepted.