“The best testament we can give is that we’ve kept 100 per cent of the staff that have gone through the ISI program.”
Certn used the Innovator Skills Initiative program to hire developers to help build their product, and add and test new features before launching them with customers.
“The program provided the necessary financial help to hire prior to us otherwise being able to do so. It also allowed us to invest in staff with limited prior experience, knowing we were receiving help to share in the cost of training those new staff members and get them up to speed,” Madrick says.
The non-profit New Ventures BC works to recognize, encourage and develop entrepreneurship and innovation in B.C.’s start-up technology sector, explains Rachel Burns, New Ventures’ ISI Grant Program Manager.
Results of these initiatives have included thousands of new jobs, enhanced entrepreneurial skills, increased investment, technology commercialization and economic growth for B.C.
Through the Innovator Skills Initiative grant program, tech companies, startups, businesses and non-profit organizations receive up to $10,000 a year to hire BC post-secondary students.
Applications are open to all BC companies, with grants available for May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021.
Here’s how it works:
- Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served, rolling basis. During the current COVID-19 concerns, staff are evaluating grants remotely and processing as usual. For companies facing hardship due to COVID-19 that can’t meet certain eligibility requirements, Burns encourages them to check in. “We are here to support you and will provide exceptions on a case-by-case basis,” she says.
- The program provides flexibility regarding start times, end dates and payouts, and can include hiring a student who is working from home or remotely.
- Businesses provide students with entrepreneurial and business training, and match grant funding.
- Students must be enrolled or returning to an accredited BC-based post-secondary school and cannot be in co-op.
- The grant can potentially be stacked with other funding and can be stacked with Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
- Funding is provided by Innovate BC and the Province of BC
- To learn more, sign up for the next Innovator Skills Initiative grant program webinar info session.
Innovation on multiple fronts
In addition to the Innovator Skills Initiative grant program, New Ventures BC also offers a mentored Distance Venture Acceleration Program and hosts the annual New Ventures BC Competition, the largest and longest-running tech competition in BC, offering education, coaching and awarding $250,000 and prizes to BC startups.