Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement

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Funding collaboration between SMEs and researchers

The Campus Alberta Small Business Engagement (CASBE) program is a partnership we have with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to fund collaborations between Alberta SMEs and researchers from Alberta post-secondary institutions.

There are two program streams available, Stream I with a maximum of $25, 000 in available funding from Alberta Innovates and $25,000 from NSERC; and Stream II with a maximum of $150,000 in available funding from Alberta Innovates leveraging NSERC’s contribution.

The goal is to have an Alberta SME as an industry partner who will adopt emerging technologies developed with the support of researchers. The researcher is the one who applies to the CASBE program.

Two program streams

Stream I: CASBE Engage

NSERC created the Engage Program to foster the development of new research partnerships and has been working with Canadian Provinces to build funding opportunities that facilitate collaboration between Post-Secondary Institutions and Canadian industrial partners.

Our goal at Alberta Innovates is to incentivize Alberta Colleges and Polytechnics and Alberta SMEs to collaborate and take advantage of NSERC Engage Grants.

CASBE Stream I supports projects for one year instead of six months as originally established by NSERC Engage. NSERC will extend the Engage grant to 12 months after the CASBE application is approved.

The CASBE Program extends an NSERC Engage project from six months to up to 12 months in duration with a total $50,000 budget. $25,000 provided by NSERC and $25,000 provided by Alberta Innovates. The SME is expected to provide in-kind contributions.

Stream II: CASBE Long-term R&D projects

NSERC created the Long-Term R&D projects programs (Applied Research & Development for Colleges and Polytechnics and Alliance Grants for Universities) to support well-defined long-term applied research and development projects undertaken by college, polytechnics, or university researchers with their industrial partners.

Our goal at Alberta Innovates is to incentivize Campus Alberta institutions and Alberta SMEs to collaborate and take advantage of NSERC ARD & Alliance Grants.

The CASBE long-term R&D projects program supports projects for two years regardless of the original length of the ARD or Alliance project supported by NSERC. The CASBE long term R&D projects program leverages NSERC’s contribution per project up to $150,000 per year for one year or a maximum of two years depending on the project duration funded by NSERC.

To qualify for Alberta Innovates funding, projects must be aligned to any of the Alberta Innovates Emerging Technologies priority areas listed below.

Eligibility

CASBE is open to academics from Campus Alberta and at least ONE Alberta SMEs as industry partners Researchers eligibility follows NSERC eligibility criteria with the addition that the CASBE Program is only available to Alberta academics helping Alberta SMEs developing solutions aligned to priority areas identified by Alberta Innovates.

Applicants

To qualify, an applicant:

  • must meet eligibility criteria for NSERC Engage, ARD or Alliance programs,
  • demonstrate the relationship between the applicant and industry partner does not create a conflict of interest, and
  • have a physical presence in Alberta.

Industry partner

To qualify as an industry partner for Stream I and II, at least one SME as industry partner is required. The SME must:

  • be a for-profit SME, with at least two full-time employees, and fewer than 500 full-time employees,
  • have less than $50,000,000 annual gross revenue,
  • demonstrate the relationship between the applicant and industry partner does not create a conflict of interest,
  • have a physical presence in Alberta,
  • be a legal entity:
    • incorporated in Alberta, or
    • incorporated federally or in another jurisdiction AND extra-provincially registered in Alberta, or
  • a General Partnership, Limited Partnership or Limited Liability Partnership AND registered in Alberta, and
  • be in good financial standing with Alberta Innovates and its subsidiaries InnoTech Alberta and C-Fer Technologies.

Projects

To qualify for funding all projects must:

  • meet NSERC’s eligibility criteria,
  • align with any of the emerging technologies priorities listed in this program guide,
  • have at least one Alberta SME as industry partner,
  • be stepped with a critical milestone in the form of a midyear presentation,
  • be completed within the one or two-year term, and
  • submit to other criteria that Alberta Innovates may develop from time to time.

Strategic priority areas for 2020-21

Strategic priority areas for 2020-21

How to apply

Familiarize yourself with program documentation below under program resources.

Applications to this program must be submitted by the researchers from AB Universities or academic institutions from Colleges & Polytechnics  through the Alberta Innovates funding portal.

For applicants that are interested in applying to AI CASBE stream II and NSERC simultaneously during 2021-22 please contact Marlene Huerta by email at Marlene.Huerta@albertainnovates.ca or by phone.

If you are an applicant with an approved NSERC application in any of the categories (Engage, ARD or Alliance) please contact Marlene Huerta to identify eligibility.

After the NSERC approved project (Engage, ARD or Alliance)’e eligibility has been discussed, please apply for the 2020-21 CASBE program through the Alberta Innovates funding portal.

The deadline is Dec 31, 2020. The program is first-come/first-serve basis and applications will be reviewed until the 2020-21 budget has been exhausted.

Program resources

Background

The CASBE Program, launched in October 2016, was the first time that Alberta launched a joint Provincial/Federal initiative to address this goal for Alberta Institutions and SMEs interested in Engage Grants. It has been so successful that the decision made in 2020 was to continue offering CASBE Engage program for Alberta Colleges and Polytechnics and to extend the Program to include a new CASBE Long-Term R&D projects stream for Alberta Colleges, Polytechnics and Universities.