NOTE: A list of participating post-secondary institutions follows this release.
Government is accepting applications from small businesses for the Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program.
The program helps small businesses develop a new product or service, and get it closer to market, by giving them access to advice and support from experts at universities and colleges in Nova Scotia.
“The provincial voucher program inspires joint efforts between industry and their post-secondary partners,” said Wayne St-Amour, Nova Scotia Community College’s executive director of innovation and entrepreneurship and dean of applied research. “The program enables us to support projects in the community with our collective expertise in innovative and problem-solving technologies.
“We get to play a part in helping businesses take an idea off the ground and launch it into a commercial application.”
More than 240 businesses have received vouchers since the program started in 2008, including 51 last year.
One of the businesses that received a voucher last year is Scotia Weather Services Inc. of Dartmouth.
“We’re constantly looking for new methods and technology to enhance how we present weather information to our clients,” said Malcolm MacLeod, president of Scotia Weather Services. “The voucher allowed us to have a person at NSCC with extensive experience in geographic information systems evaluate the capability of a software package to develop new products for our clients to use in making weather-sensitive decisions.
“We determined this software can help us enhance our products. This work will help us build on our weather service business.”
The program offers two types of vouchers.
The tier-one vouchers provide up to $15,000 for expert services and advice in areas such as applied research, field testing, prototyping, engineering services, product design and feasibility studies.
The tier-two vouchers offer up to $25,000 to businesses that have received vouchers in the past, allowing them to build on the work they did with the first project.
“Finding ways to connect small businesses with the wealth of expertise available at our universities and colleges will help make them more competitive and profitable,” said Michel Samson, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. “Through this program, small businesses are able to get advice and support from experts so they can move their innovative ideas forward.”
To be eligible, businesses must be registered to operate in Nova Scotia and have less than 100 employees when they apply. Businesses can get more information and application forms at www.gov.ns.ca/econ/pnivouchers .
Applications for first-tier vouchers are due by Oct. 10. The deadline for the second-tier is Oct. 17.