Business Scale-up and Productivity

Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program

 

 

The Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program stream supports businesses at various stages of development, including high-growth firms, wanting to accelerate their growth, scale-up, and be more productive and competitive in both domestic and global markets. It offers interest-free funding to western Canadian companies.

The application period for BSP is now open. Applications will be accepted until January 11, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. (MST).

Program

The regional development agencies (RDAs) in their respective regions are delivering the BSP program stream across Canada. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering BSP in western Canada.

Through BSP, we are placing greater emphasis on helping firms in priority areas to commercialize products/ services, scale-up, improve productivity, and develop and expand into new markets.

By providing interest free, repayable funding to help qualified companies grow and expand, WD is delivering on the Budget 2018 commitment to grow the western Canadian economy through regional innovation. This will ensure Canada's prosperity for decades to come.

The BSP program stream builds on the federal government's Innovation and Skills Plan. This plan helps make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation that creates well-paying jobs and grows the middle class.


Objectives of BSP

  • help firms with high growth potential to scale up and expand
  • support demonstration and the commercialization of new technologies
  • encourage the early adoption or adaptation of leading-edge technologies and processes to improve productivity
  • increase businesses' capacity to grow through market diversification and entry into global markets

Who can apply for BSP?

BSP is open to incorporated companies that have been operating in western Canada for a minimum of 2 years. Preference may be given to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with less than 500 full-time employees (FTEs).

Businesses must meet the following mandatory criteria:

  • incorporated to do business in Canada
  • have been in business for at least 2 years in Canada
  • have operating facilities and staffed offices in Western Canada (defined as British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba)
  • have confirmed, at the time of application, funding from all other sources (non-government funding must represent at least 50% of the proposed project costs)
  • have provided all project and business information outlined in Section 10 of the Applicant Guide

What projects are funded through BSP?

Activities that accelerate and support business growth will be eligible. These activities may include:

  • Productivity Improvement: includes acquiring, adapting, and adopting new technologies and processes; process re-engineering; improving manufacturing capacity.
  • Business Scale-up: includes market development/expansion, diagnostics, and adopting best management practices, processes and systems; business opportunity development.
  • Technology Commercialization: includes late stage product development to grow and diversify markets, as well as technology showcasing and technology demonstration.

BSP applications must support one of these priorities:

  1. Clean Technology
  2. Clean Resources
  3. Life Sciences
  4. Value-added Agriculture
  5. Advanced Manufacturing
  6. Digital Technology

Information about these priorities can be found in the Economic Strategy Tables.


More information

Program information

How is the BSP different from the Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative?
WINN focused on supporting technology commercialization. The Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program stream will continue to support late stage commercialization (TRL 7-9), but it will also support productivity improvement and business scale-up activities. In 2017, the Government explored ways to simplify the existing suite of 22 programs offered by the regional development agencies (RDAs). It was determined that the 22 programs would be amalgamated into 2 program streams – the Business Scale-up and Productivity program and the Regional Innovation Ecosystems program. Under these program streams, RDAs will place greater emphasis in helping firms scale up, develop new markets and expand, as well as assist with the adoption of new technologies and processes. The RDAs are now the Government of Canada's main platform to support regional innovation ecosystems.

Eligibility criteria

Are there specific priority areas that are being targeted by BSP?
Your project must support one of these priorities:

  • Clean Technology
  • Clean Resources
  • Digital Technology
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Value-added Agriculture
  • Life Sciences

How many projects will WD fund under BSP?
It is expected that the requests for funding will exceed the amount of funding available. The total number of projects funded will depend on the amounts requested by the successful projects.

What is the likelihood that I will receive funding?
Only applications demonstrating the highest merit and fit with BSP objectives will be considered for funding. Many good projects will not receive support under BSP.

Is there a limit to the number of applications that I may submit in each intake?
Yes. Companies can only submit one application per intake period. In addition, there is a maximum funding limit of $5 million per project and $10 million per recipient over the life of the initiative.

What do you require as proof or evidence of confirmed non-WD funding? is a letter of intent sufficient? Are projected revenues from future sales acceptable?
Written proof, confirmed or conditional upon WD's funding, will be considered acceptable. Examples of written proof include current bank statements detailing existing cash balances or the unused portion of lines of credit. If third parties (e.g. Angels or VCs) are included in project funding, letters of intent, term sheets or funding agreements from third parties, may be acceptable.

WD does not consider the following as sources of confirmed funding:

  • Forecasted revenues from future activities;
  • Accounts receivable;
  • Commitments to raise equity;
  • Commitments to obtain future bank financing; and
  • Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) credit receivables.
Application process

What are the application deadlines?
Applications will be accepted online starting December 3, 2018, until January 11, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. (MT). It is recommended that you review the application form at your earliest opportunity and begin preparing it as required.

How do I know if my application was received?
All applicants will receive an acknowledgement notification, confirming that their application has been received.

When will I find out if my project has been approved?
WD's service standard is to provide a funding decision to a client within 90 business days (90% of the time) of receiving a complete funding proposal.

Under BSP, we hope to notify applicants of their status about 6 weeks from the application deadline (NOTE: Application volumes may impact timelines). WD will aim to provide a funding decision within 90 business days (90% of the time) from the time the Department has received all of the requested information.

If my project is not funded in this call, do I need to re-apply or will you automatically consider my application in the next call?
In order to maintain the competitive nature of the assessment process, applicants that are not successfully funded in this call may consider resubmitting their application in a subsequent call. Your application will not be automatically considered in the next call.

Can you assure me that any confidential commercial information I submit will be protected?
Assessment of the applications will be undertaken by Western Economic Diversification (WD), the National Research Council Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP), and members of the Clean Growth Hub. All submitted information will be kept in strict confidence in accordance with established Government of Canada guidelines regarding commercial information. Confidential commercial information will not be shared without the applicant's consent.

Reporting and project financing

How are disbursements made?
If you are successful in obtaining BSP funding for your project, WD will normally provide the repayable funding in periodic reimbursements, based on the submission of claims for reimbursement. These reimbursements will be released to recipients for the approved portion (i.e. up to 50%) of eligible projects costs that have been incurred and paid. Recipients will need to plan project cash flows accordingly based on the timing of the claims and the period to process the reimbursement. WD will provide an orientation to this process to all those who are approved for BSP funding.

Potential funding recipients are expected to have secured all non-WD requested project financing (minimum 50%) before applying.

What kind of reporting is required during the project?
All successful applicants will sign a standard Contribution Agreement with WD. The Agreement outlines the obligations of the funding recipient, including the submission of claims information and periodic progress reports (minimum 2 per year).

When must projects be completed?
Projects may vary in duration, ranging from a few months to three years.

How long do funding recipients have to repay WD's investment?
Funding recipients will receive a one-year grace period, starting from the date the project is completed, before repayment begins. Recipients will be required to make equal monthly payments over the five years following the expiry of the grace period. In total, the funding recipient will have a maximum of six years to repay WD's total contribution amount.

What happens if the repayable contribution isn't repaid?
WD expects that contributions will be repaid. If funds are not repaid, WD will take appropriate measures to collect the amount owing.

What control does the government want over my business if I accept this repayable contribution?
Neither WD nor the Government of Canada will take a role in the operation of your business. Further, WD will not be taking any equity positions in businesses that receive funding under this program.

If I am successful can I pay back the repayable contribution early? Is there a penalty?
There is no penalty for early repayment.

What are the tax implications of a BSP repayable contribution?
Although BSP is fully repayable, CRA considers BSP funding as taxable income and there are potential Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit implications as well. It is recommended that you seek independent professional tax and accounting advice to assess and determine the full tax implications of receiving a BSP repayable contribution. It may be in your best interest to not include projects costs that are eligible for SR&ED as part of your BSP project submission.

Are tax credits considered a government contribution?
WD is required to consider tax credits received for BSP project activities and expenditures as government assistance. Tax Credits received for other non-BSP activity is not considered government assistance for the purposes of the BSP project. An example of a federal tax credit that may be applicable to a BSP project is the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program administered by the CRA. For more information please visit the SR&ED website. It is also recommended that you seek independent professional tax and accounting advice to assess and determine what costs and activities of your project might be eligible for federal or provincial tax credits.

 

Consult the BSP Applicant Guide for additional information on eligibility criteria and the application processes.

For additional BSP information, contact us directly at one of our regional offices or by calling 1-888-338-9378.