The Early Stage Commercialization Fund: Addressing a Key Gap in Innovation Funding
Jeff White, CEO
Ray Fitzpatrick, Director of Investments
Laura Richard, Director of Research
At NBIF, we are excited to be launching the Early Stage Commercialization Fund (ESCF) in our province. This new fund works to bridge a gap on the funding pathway to commercialization for academic researchers in New Brunswick. As an organization that offers both research and venture capital funding, we are in a unique position to provide this support. The ESCF is designed to support post-secondary researchers pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities by providing up to $50,000 in funding for go-to-market support. Not only will this funding program aid in bringing innovative technology to market, but it is also an integral part of NBIF’s strategic goal of being a full innovation life-cycle organization. We are committed to bring New Brunswick innovations to the global market, from the earliest stage of research to a successful start-up to scale up company.
Enabling Innovation among New Brunswick Researchers
We often see academic researchers that have innovative business ideas but are not able to validate their technology due to limited funding in this space. Researchers trying to bring their technology to market not only require funding but business and go to market support. Some require guidance in the foundational steps before achieving market traction, such as market research, product development, preliminary sales, marketing, etc. The ESCF is designed to address all of these needs and the limitations of current funding options, which will open more doors to bring research into newly formed high growth potential businesses for New Brunswick.
Prolonging an Innovative Journey with NBIF
From a venture capital perspective, the ESCF is a strategic way to create future opportunities for company establishment with our key partners in the academic ecosystem. Many of our portfolio companies have strong connections to academia via professors providing research expertise, students leading companies and mentorship. The ESCF provides funding and the business support to researchers with respect to venture plans, market awareness, or financial projections through mentorship and business relationships in these areas before a company is formed. By supporting researchers in the early stages of their development, we anticipate it will facilitate their journey through to the next phases of NBIF funding programs.
The ESCF is a part of NBIF’s end-to-end funding strategy from idea to commercial reality. Our goal is to help researchers see their business ideas through the many difficult phases of growth. Because we took the time to analyze innovation funding in New Brunswick, understand the key funding gaps in the space, and establish strategic partnerships, we are now able to provide programming across the innovation continuum. Successful applicants of the ESCF can look forward to having the support of our team throughout their innovation journey. With the ESCF, we are building a collaborative culture with researchers, institutions, and other key stakeholders that will drive the formation of successful new companies and contributes to our province’s economic growth.
The Early Stage Commercialization Fund was built on the strength of our partnership with the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Nova Scotia’s Innovacorp. Our intergovernmental collaboration demonstrates NBIF’s desire to empower New Brunswick researchers. We are eager to launch this program for our research community in hopes to find and build more technologies with the potential for venture-backed growth, and to help achieve NBIF’s mandate of helping New Brunswick innovators take their ideas further.