Business Scale-up and Productivity
Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) makes strategic investments in key economic sectors and also supports the development of leading industry geographic clusters through its Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program.
Guides and help
BSP supports high-growth* businesses that are scaling up and producing innovative goods, services or technologies. It offers interest free repayable funding to incorporated businesses.
*A high growth business can be defined as any for-profit company that has notable and/or consistent revenue increases year over year. Typically, this means an increase of at least 20% year over year. Businesses that are negatively impacted by the current pandemic would be eligible if they met this definition prior to March 31, 2020.
Here are examples of a high-growth business:
ABC is an innovative Canadian medical devices firm. ABC is a relatively young company operating in North America and would like to expand its product into new markets like Europe and Asia. ABC has generated significant sales growth (i.e. 26% year over year). ABC has profitable reinvestment opportunities and rather than paying dividends to shareholders, decides to reinvest earnings back into the firm to capitalize on its investment opportunities in order to maintain this high sales growth.
XYZ is an innovative Canadian digital software developer. XYZ is a young company operating in Canada and the USA but would like to introduce its new software, which is in the late stage of development, in order to grow and diversify existing Canadian and American markets. XYZ has generated significant sales growth (i.e. 22% year over year). XYZ has recently received a round of investments that will assist with its growth.
What you will find on this page
- Who can apply?
- What projects are funded through BSP?
- What are BSP priority areas?
- When to apply?
- How to apply?
Who can apply for BSP
The BSP program is open to incorporated high-growth businesses 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:
- high-growth business that is scaling up and producing innovative goods, services or technologies
- incorporated to do business in Canada
- have been in business for at least 2 years in Canada
- have staffed operating facilities in Western Canada (defined as British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba)
- have confirmed, at the time of expression of interest submission, funding from all other sources, including government and non-government (non-government funding must represent at least 50% of the proposed project costs)
What projects are funded through BSP?
Eligible projects will focus on accelerating and supporting business growth through one or more of the following activities:
- Productivity Improvement: includes acquiring, adapting, and adopting new technologies and processes; process re-engineering; improving manufacturing capacity.
- Business Scale-up: includes market development or expansion, 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. (Technology Readiness Levels 7-9 as defined by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada)
What are BSP priority areas?
The department will consider projects in the following areas:
- Advanced Manufacturing is defined by the development and adoption of innovative technologies to create new products, enhance processes and establish more efficient and cost-effective ways of working.
- Clean Resources refers to transitioning from the old resource economy into a new resource economy. It is where innovation drives economic and environmental competitiveness in the energy, mining, and forestry sectors and leverages Canada’s natural resources advantage to transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Clean Technology refers to any process, product or service that reduces environmental impacts in order to better control costs, meet new regulatory requirements, improve global competitiveness and reduce impacts on climate, water, land and air.
- Digital Industries includes a combination of information and communication technology (ICT), digital and interactive media, and content industries, as well as, manufacturers and service companies that creatively capture, transmit and display information electronically in innovative ways.
- Health/Bio-sciences encompasses a wide range of companies, from the developers and manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biomedical innovations, to producers of digital health solutions and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, 3D printing, robotics and nanotechnologies.
- Natural Resources Value-added Processing includes the processing of natural resources in the energy, mineral, or forestry, sectors that adds value to primary products/raw materials.
- Value-added Agriculture is a complex and interdependent sector that includes agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, and food and beverage processing.
Preference will be given to proposals with a demonstrated focus on:
- Clean Technology (as defined above)
- Food and Ingredients Processing includes businesses using plant-based food and ingredients (i.e. food and ingredient manufacturers).
- Health Analytics and Diagnostics refers to the systemic analysis of aggregated health and clinical data to improve patient care, improve health system management, or reduce healthcare costs. Health diagnostics involves an instrument or technique used in medical diagnosis to identify or describe a health disease or condition.
- Zero Emission Heavy Equipment Vehicles includes manufacturers of urban and intercity buses, fire trucks, motorhomes, recreational vehicles, trailers, mobile agricultural, construction and mining equipment and their associated suppliers. Related technologies include battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell drives, electrification of ancillary systems, material light weighting and others.
When to apply
Expressions of interest (EOIs) to request funding support will be accepted during the following intake periods:
- February 24 to March 23, 2020 – closed
- September 15 to October 14, 2020
- January 15 to February 16, 2021
Subject to parliamentary decisions, WD currently has a budget of up to $30 million available for investments to support departmental priorities in 2020/21.
Within 30 calendar days of the close of the intake, WD will invite selected companies to submit a full application for funding consideration. If you have not been contacted, your project will not be considered further.
WD will accept only one EOI per business for each intake. In addition, businesses will be limited to one successful application per year. EOIs that have not been invited to submit an application, will not be automatically considered in subsequent intakes. Re-submission of your EOI in a future intake will be required.
How to apply
Businesses that are interested in applying to BSP, should contact us via email and attach:
- a completed Expression of Interest form (PDF link)
- financial statements for the past 2 years, as well as interim financial statements for at least the last 6-month period
- confirmation of other funding sources (e.g. bank statements, unused portion of lines of credit, official letters of intent, funding agreements, signed term sheets)
- other supporting information (e.g. business plan, pitch deck) detailing your organization, how it meets the high-growth definition, and details about the proposed project
To view and use the fillable EOI form, you will need Adobe Reader. The software can be obtained for free from the Adobe Web site, which also offers customer support. Download the EOI form and save to your computer. Open the PDF file on your computer using Adobe Reader, fill and save your PDF form.
When submitting your EOI by email use subject line: “BSP Expression of Interest”.
EOIs with the strongest merit and alignment with program objectives, departmental priorities, and significant economic benefit, will be invited to complete an application.
Note that the transmission of this information is not necessarily secure. If you prefer not to submit your EOI via email, please contact a WD regional office.
More information or questions?
For additional BSP information, please review the BSP 101 deck, and/or contact us directly at one of our regional offices by calling 1-888-338-9378.
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