Government of Canada challenging small businesses to innovate


Industry Government Manufacturing federal government Innovation manufacturing procurement

Asked to develop solutions for Canada Border Services Agency and other departments.

OTTAWA — The federal government is using procurement to encourage Canadian small businesses to flex their innovation skills.

Through the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program, government departments are inviting small businesses to come up with a new innovative product, service or solution to address specific challenges.

For example, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) seeks a solution to processing small packets and packages in and out of x-ray systems without being stopped or redirected on a conveyor belt. This technical improvement would help increase contraband detection and allow faster processing of post and parcels.

CBSA is also looking for a technological solution to safely and quickly extract and handle samples of potentially highly toxic substances. Currently, officers take samples of unknown substances by hand during the examination of packages from cars, cargo and people.


Winning small businesses may receive up to $150,000 to refine their research and development. If accepted into Phase 2, they would receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. The government can then act as a first customer, helping small businesses commercialize their innovations and scale up their business.

Program funding will come from the 20 departments and agencies participating in Innovative Solutions Canada. Each department will set aside funding for this initiative that amounts to one percent of its 2015–16 combined procurement and internal research and development expenditures. This funding represents a more than $100-million investment over the course of five years.

Click here for more information about the Innovative Solutions Canada Challenges.



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