The Ontario Government has adopted the Scale Up Vouchers Program. This is a four-year, $32.4-million initiative funded by the Government of Ontario, and delivered through MaRS, Communitech and Invest Ottawa. The program aims to accelerate the development of Ontario technology and innovation-based firms.
The program is available to Ontario based firms. To be eligible, a firm must:
- be privately held;
- 50% or more of its full-time employees must be based in Ontario, 50% or more of its senior executives must have their principal residence in Ontario and at least 50% of its wages, salaries and fees must be paid to employees and contractors who spend a majority of their time working in Ontario;
- be in technology and innovation intensive industries, such as:
- information and communications technology;
- advanced materials and manufacturing;
- clean technology; or
- life sciences;
- earning $1 million to $50 million in annual revenue;
- already experiencing a 20% annual growth rate in revenue, sales or employment; and
- have secured private investment of at least $2 million in the previous two years.
To participate in the program, a firm must complete an application. The applications are reviewed and the vouchers are awarded by a selection committee made up of senior technology and innovation leaders. The committee scores applications based on criteria that are set out in the program’s web site at http://www.ontarioscaleupprogram.ca.
Firms with revenues between $1 million and $5 million can receive a voucher for up to $150,000, with an expectation for the firm to match 33% of the voucher value, or up to $49,500.
Firms with revenues over $5 million can receive a voucher for up to $250,000, with an expectation for the firm to match 50% of the voucher value, or up to $125,000.
A firm that is awarded a voucher will sign a contract outlining the specific terms of its voucher. All vouchers expire after 24 months and a firm can only receive one voucher. The vouchers can be used for a range of both direct and indirect expenses to help the firms execute on their growth strategy in the areas of:
- hiring employees and contractors
- accessing financing
- developing products and intellectual property
- international expansion.
Firms that participate in the program will also have access to growth coaches, who will acts as mentors, help them develop growth plans, introduce them to their networks and help them with the voucher application process.