The Canadian government has announced a new $20-million program, the Business Innovation Access Program, which will connect small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with universities, colleges and other research institutions, giving the SMEs the business and technical services they need to get innovative products and services to market faster. “The support available through the program can involve external business services such as planning and marketing as well as technical services such as specialized testing, product prototyping and process development,” explains a Canada news release. The program is one of the recommendations made by an independent Research and Development Review Expert Panel in 2010-11, which aimed to better focus federal investments and maximize innovation and economic benefit for Canadians. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC) has welcomed the program. “Business already counts on Canada’s universities for more than $1 billion in research every year,” says AUCC President Paul Davidson. “This mechanism will boost university-industry links even further.”
TCS Insights: By better connecting small and medium sized businesses to post-secondary institutions, this program aims to improve product development while generating a greater amount of innovation. With universities doing vast amounts of research already, business should be able to benefit substantially by partnering with them.