Voucher program drives products to market faster

VICTORIA – B.C. businesses will get their products to market more quickly, thanks to an innovative pilot program that will place graduate students from B.C.’s post secondary research institutions with established companies for job experience.

The BCIC-Mitacs Commercialization Voucher Program, a key component of the BC Technology Strategy – announced in July 2012, was created to demonstrate the value of collaboration between industry and post-secondary institutions, and to develop and retain B.C. talent.

“It’s important that we support development and commercialization of products using innovative means such as the voucher program,” said John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. “B.C.’s ability to compete successfully in the global economy depends on a highly skilled and educated labour force. And you never know – the voucher program could nurture the knowledge and technology that produces the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, or creates the next Facebook or Microsoft.”

Under the program, graduate students can apply for a $15,000 commercialization voucher to undertake opportunity assessments of new products or services or new market opportunities for existing products or services at established B.C. companies.

“We are delighted to be able to support businesses and students through the BCIC-Mitacs Commercialization Voucher Program,” said Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Small Business. “This program works with businesses and industry to provide opportunities for students to explore exciting careers in technology and gives them a chance to really stretch their horizons.”

Companies eligible for the voucher program will benefit from vital information on the commercialization potential of their technology or business concept, allowing them to make an informed decision whether or not to pursue the opportunity.

“BCIC is pleased to be a part of the delivery of such an important program for commercialization in B.C.,” said John Jacobson, president and CEO of BCIC. “The voucher program will serve to showcase graduate student skills to potential employers, while providing them with valuable industry experience and exposure to exciting career opportunities. This underlies the government of B.C.’s strategy to create and support jobs in our fast-growing technology sector.”

In this pilot phase of the voucher program, all applications must be received by March 15, 2013, although companies are encouraged to submit their application as soon as possible. Full program guidelines including program structure, eligibility and funding details of the BCIC-Mitacs Commercialization Voucher Program can be found at: www.bcic.ca/voucher 

“The commercialization of new products or services is a critical driver of the B.C. economy,” said Olga Stachova, chief operating officer of Mitacs. “This new program will not only help businesses to take their products to market faster, but it will develop a critical mass of graduate students with important knowledge translation skills.”

Learn More:

BCIC encourages the development and application of advanced or innovative technologies to meet the needs of industry in B.C., and accelerates technology commercialization by supporting start-ups and developing entrepreneurs. With its partners, BCIC delivers programs and initiatives that promote company growth – resulting in jobs, increased revenue and economic development in B.C.: www.bcic.ca

Mitacs, through unique research and training programs, is developing the next generation of innovators with vital scientific and business skills. In partnership with companies, government and academia, Mitacs is supporting a new economy using Canada’s most valuable resource – its people. Mitacs brings students together with industry, giving them the opportunity to do research on real-world projects. For example, a Simon Fraser University student worked with the mining sector on a project to aid partnership opportunities between junior mining companies and communities in Canada. The framework they developed maximizes benefits to local communities and sets out best practices for junior and mid-tier mining companies, and improves their industry standards. For more information: www.mitacs.ca