Business Innovation Access Program

Supplemental content

The new Business Innovation Access Program will provide small and medium-sized enterprises’ access to business services or technical assistance from universities, colleges or other research institutions to help move innovative products and services to market faster.

The Program will be delivered by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). NRC-IRAP’s field staff, the Industrial Technology Advisors, located across Canada, will use their extensive networks and depth of knowledge to connect the firm with academics or other research institutions to address and resolve barriers to the development and commercialization of technologies.

The Business Innovation Access Program promotes timely, focused interactions between a small and a medium-sized enterprise (SME) and an eligible service provider to address a specific, industry-driven innovation issue for which an immediate external business service or technical assistance is needed. It promotes interdisciplinary and collaborative research involving businesses and research institutions. As a result, SME ideas, products and services will move to the marketplace faster through their partnership with institutions.

How to access the program

Consistent with the current NRC-IRAP model, there will be no call for proposals. Small and medium-sized businesses can contact NRC-IRAP by calling 1-877-994-4727.

Program implementation

The Business Innovation Access Program is a 2013 federal budget commitment to provide $20 million for a new pilot program to be delivered through the NRC-IRAP. The pilot program enables hundreds of SMEs to commercialize their products or services more quickly and effectively by providing them with funding to help pay for business or technical services from an eligible research institutions.

The concept of a "commercialization voucher" program, as it was referred to, was first proposed by the government-appointed expert panel leading the Review of Federal Support to Research and Development, chaired by Tom Jenkins, calling for better support of innovative small businesses.


NRC-IRAP is Canada’s premier innovation assistance program for SMEs. NRC-IRAP is a vital component of NRC and a cornerstone in Canada’s innovation system. Delivered by a vast network of Industrial Technology Advisors, with offices across Canada, NRC-IRAP provides its clients with technical and business advice as well as well as funding and other innovation services.

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