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Home > Funding Basics: Start Here
We fund projects that support the growth and diversity of the Alberta economy. We provide a range of grant funding programs targeted to different sectors and development stages.
Getting great ideas off the ground takes coaching, community, and capital and Alberta Innovates is here to help you with all three! We provide non-dilutive funding and support for startups, small and medium-sized enterprises, post-secondary institutions, and industry in all economic sectors. In particular, we fund projects that support the growth and diversity of Alberta’s economy. We provide a range of grant funding programs targeted to different sectors and development stages.
This page will walk you through the basics of grant funding and how organizations are qualified for funding programs.
All available grant funding programs are listed in on the funding programs page. Programs are either continuous intake, which can be applied for at any time, or available through periodic program calls that have to be applied for within an application window.
See programs that are open for application.
Each program has its own eligibility criteria based on factors such as the type or size of organization, how far along the project innovation/technology is, and whether or not it’s located in Alberta. Eligibility requirements are clearly indicated on program details pages and within the associated program guide.
Most programs are only open to companies that are Alberta-based, with a physical or corporate presence within the province. However, some are open to companies outside the province if they demonstrate clear value for Alberta.
Most programs are applicable to one or more of the following types of organizations:
Companies larger than 500 employees with significant presence in more than one country are only eligible for limited specialized funding, usually targeted towards areas of strategic interest to Alberta.
NASA developed the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) scale in the 1970s to track the technology development process before launching it into space. But even if you’re not going to space, TRLs can help identify what stage of the innovation journey you’re at and what kind of funding and resources are most helpful. If you’re not sure what your TRL is at, check the TRL assessment tool from Industry, Science and Economic Development Canada to help you narrow it down.
Many Alberta Innovates programs fund TRL 3-7, with some exceptions. If applicable, the required TRL is listed on the program details pages and in the associated program guide. These programs often focus on a particular sector or industry area. See the technology readiness levels.
Some funding programs are designed to support the development of Alberta-based technology or knowledge start-ups across all sectors. These programs support small and medium-sized enterprises during a particular stages of the Client Journey, specifically from the conceptualizing to scaling stages. See the Client Journey Stages below:
Application processes are a little different depending on which program you’re applying for. Follow the application steps outlined on the program page carefully.
PHASE 1 – Engagement and Intake
In most cases you will need to engage with Alberta Innovates prior to applying. This usually involves contacting the program advisor, or completing some pre-application intake steps to ensure the project meets the minimum requirements and is the best fit for what you need. Key contacts and first steps will be listed on the program page.
PHASE 2 – Application
This phase varies by program and may involve different types of proposals. The review process is competitive and only the highest-quality projects will be considered for funding. If the review is positive, a funding recommendation will be made.
PHASE 3 – Agreement
Successful applicants will execute an agreement with Alberta Innovates to proceed with the Project.
Agreement will include details regarding reporting on progress to milestones and budget on an agreed timeline during the term of the Agreement and reporting on progress to outcomes on an agreed to timeline during and following the term of the Agreement. See the sample agreement linked here.
We’re here to help you navigate the innovation journey from a great idea to successful commercialization and/or deployment. We provide coaching, industry insights and innovation opportunities to help you launch your idea successfully.
Our Entrepreneurial Investments team invests in high-potential, high-growth technology and knowledge-based product innovations. We also help to de-risk and accelerate promising technology to commercialization by investing in small business. Our Technology Development Advisors are available to provide expert advice on business planning, investment strategies, market readiness and much more. See how we can help.
Supporting healthy outcomes for Albertans through the development of new health technologies, machine learning models to predict clinical outcomes, virtual models to guide patients in self-management, and the prevention of disease through healthier lifestyles. Our Digital Health Innovation team is ready to work with your company to bring innovative solutions into the healthcare system. Explore our funding programs.
We help sustain, grow, and diversify the energy and resource industries, develop clean technology, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the environment in Alberta. Our clean technology team can help. Learn more about our Clean Technologies team.
Our advanced hydrocarbons team supports projects that will contribute to Alberta’s hydrocarbon resource value while securing a long-term future for Alberta’s oil sand resources. We’re exploring how bitumen can be used for non-combustion purposes, cleaner recovery of bitumen and crude oil, digital innovation in oil & gas, and adding value to Alberta’s bitumen through bitumen partial upgrading. Learn more about our Advanced Hydrocarbons team.
Our environmental innovation team leads our programs focused on protecting water, land, and biodiversity. The team also provides support for projects enabling greenhouse gas emission reductions. Learn more about our Environmental Innovation team.
Our agriculture, forestry, and food production teams are working to develop new sustainability practices, natural products for world markets, and economic opportunities and investment in Alberta. We are embracing and supporting emerging technologies and the creation of new ideas for the growing global bioeconomy. We’re also delivering on the potential of agriculture and forestry in areas such as: value-chain sustainability, advancing the biorefinery, quality food for health and industry challenges. Learn more about the Sustainable Materials and Agri-Food Innovation teams.
Alberta Innovates partners and invests with Alberta’s post-secondary institutions to develop capacity within emerging technologies as well as the people, infrastructure, collaborations and projects necessary for the growth of Alberta’s knowledge-based economy. Our programs also support bridging the gap between academia and demand for technological solutions from small and large industries. Learn more about our Post-Secondary Investments and Emerging Technologies Team.
If you don’t quite fit our funding requirements, we may still be able to help you through coaching and community connections. Apply through our Connect With Us Portal and one of our business advisors will be in contact to provide you with some helpful resources.
You can also check out other funding opportunities at the Government of Alberta’s BizConnect.
Support for early-stage entrepreneurs
The Alberta Regional Innovation Network (RINs) is a community-based network operating all over Alberta who help companies in the early stage of their entrepreneurial journey. The RINs provide programs and services to accelerate the growth of technology and knowledge-based businesses in those jurisdictions.
There are eight Regional Innovation Networks across the province that you can access. To learn more about what your community has to offer, visit the links below:
To get an idea of the types of projects we’ve funded, see our funded projects and funding recipients.