October is Small Business Month: Mitacs helps kick-start economy by investing more than $20M to support Canadian innovation

As COVID-19 brings unprecedented challenges, special funding drives R&D

Vancouver, BC — Canada’s more than 1.2 million small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute substantially to our country’s economic growth, innovation, and job creation. Defined as companies with fewer than 500 employees, 99.8 percent of Canada’s employers are SMEs. Generating approximately 54.9 percent of Canada’s GDP by the private sector, the success of our SMEs is crucial to recovery through COVID-19 and future economic growth.

A $40 million investment from the Government of Canada this spring resulted in the creation of 5,000 new internships; Mitacs has awarded approximately half of the new internships, valued at $20 million. Most of this investment involves SMEs in support of Canada’s economic recovery through this pandemic and beyond. (See links below for a list of COVID-19 SME special incentives.)

Mitacs — a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions — has announced several initiatives to help SMEs by securing government funding, accessing resources for research and development (R&D), and hiring post-secondary interns to help businesses pivot and address COVID-19 issues. By partnering with Mitacs, small businesses across Canada reduce the risk associated with R&D and are able to hire precisely the right research expertise.

Mitacs programs — supported by federal, provincial, and territorial government funding — are designed to improve Canadian productivity, particularly through SMEs, by powering research and innovation across the country and beyond.

“Many small businesses across Canada have scaled up their R&D efforts by using Mitacs,” said Mitacs Chief Business Development Officer Eric Bosco, noting that Mitacs business development professionals are trained to understand industry challenges and match a company’s needs to research expertise within universities and colleges across Canada.

Over the past five years, Mitacs has partnered with more than 3,800 SMEs to drive innovation. In a recent Mitacs survey, 75 percent of SMEs reported having identified new market segments, 61 percent increased their overall R&D activities, and 46 percent increased their overall investments in R&D.

“As we continue to safely restart our economy, our government will always be there for Canadians and SMEs by making adjustments to the supports and measures we have put in place,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “This funding from Mitacs will provide more access to research expertise and talent to build a resilient economy.”

“Canada’s small businesses have faced unprecedented challenges amid COVID-19. Through our government’s investment in Mitacs, they will be able to innovate and explore new opportunities for growth here in Canada and around the world,” said the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. “Supporting organizations like Mitacs will help lay a strong foundation for Canada’s economic recovery and position our small businesses for success in the future.”

Special Mitacs funding initiatives launched to support SMEs during COVID-19 include:

And outcomes from Mitacs-supported research projects include:

For information on partnering with Mitacs to manage innovation, visit Mitacs’s small business enterprise page.

Quick facts:

  • Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions.
  • Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.