"WINN demonstrates our government's commitment to ensuring that Canadian businesses continue to grow and generate high-value jobs across the West," said Honourable Michelle Rempel, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification. "This initiative will help address a need identified by western Canadian businesses to help bring leading-edge innovations to domestic and global markets."
Under WINN, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for funding for a variety of tasks that are essential in taking a product from the R&D stage to the market, such as product testing and technology demonstrations, equipment purchases and installation, regulatory approval, marketing, and intellectual property protection.
Over the next five years, WINN will provide up to $100 million in repayable assistance to SMEs working to commercialize their products, processes and services.
"Getting a new idea into the marketplace can be a difficult prospect for a small business," explained Noah Decter-Jackson, CEO and creative director, Complex Games Inc., and board member of New Media Manitoba. "The biggest challenge for western Canadian emerging businesses is the funding gap just prior to commercialization, where private investment becomes scarce and companies find themselves without the cash flow to take their innovation to the next level. WINN will help to bridge that gap."
"By responding to the needs of our entrepreneurs and innovators with this targeted initiative, we are positioning them for long-term success and enabling them to emerge as leaders in a competitive global economy," added Rempel.
The WINN Initiative through Canada's Economic Action Plan will support smaller firms across a range of sectors, including health and life sciences, clean technology and energy, aerospace and defence, nanotechnology, and information and communications technology.
The initiative is expected to help stimulate greater private sector investment, while also making it easier for innovative SMEs to secure funding.