A. Program Overview and Benefits
The 5G (ENCQOR) SME Technology Development Program (5G SDP) partners Ontario-based Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) with ENCQOR Anchor Firms on 5G technology development projects. Areas of technology interest are defined in Challenge Statements submitted to OCE by the ENCQOR Anchor Firms and posted to the OCE website on a rolling basis.
To be notified of 5G (ENCQOR) SME and Academic Development Program Challenge Statements as they launch sign up for the ENCQOR Ontario mailing list.
The 5G (ENCQOR) SME Technology Development Program supports collaborative technology development projects to develop, integrate, test or validate pre-commercial technologies for the Innovation Platform as a Service (iPaaS) testbed.
Benefits to Ontario SMEs
Benefits to ENCQOR Anchor Firms
- Access exciting 5G connectivity development challenges with market pull
- Establish relationships with ENCQOR Anchor firm companies- global market leaders in the sector
- Scale and commercialize 5G connectivity solutions/products/services
- Gain access to OCE's industry and entrepreneurial networks
- Develop relationships with Ontario SMEs to support iPaaS and 5G technology development
- Partner with SMEs to create marketable solutions to current industry challenges
- Develop a supply chain of Ontario based SME technology providers
- Increase productivity, revenue and jobs
D. Assessment Process and Criteria
The 5G (ENCQOR) SME Technology Development Program (5G SDP) is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. All eligible projects are assessed on their merit and undergo a review process against program objectives and assessment criteria.
5G SDP is a two-step application process including EOI and Full Application stages.
Applicants must work with a Business Development Manager throughout the application process.
5G SDP is a two-step application process including EOI and Full Application stages.
Step 1: Expression of Interest (EOI)
OCE will post 5G SDP Challenge Statements on a rolling basis. Applicants can apply for funding to execute a project in response to an active ENCQOR Anchor Firm-defined Challenge Statement by submitting an EOI.
All submitted EOIs will undergo an initial internal review by OCE for eligibility and application completeness. Subsequently, EOIs will be reviewed by the ENCQOR anchor firm(s) for fit with the Challenge Statement. Selected EOIs that meet the ENCQOR anchor firms’ requirements will be invited to submit a full application to OCE.
Preference will be given to EOIs that:
- Address ENCQOR anchor firms’ Challenge Statements and needs
- Demonstrate applicability and benefit to the specified 5G technology leading to novel, newly-adapted or adopted processes, products, or services that will keep the iPaaS testbed cutting edge
- Demonstrate innovation in the context of current technical and commercial developments
- Demonstrate appropriate skills, resources and methodology to complete the project
- Demonstrate an opportunity for close collaboration between the Applicant company and the ENCQOR Anchor Firm
- Demonstrate opportunity for HQP training, including graduate students
- Are highly likely to be commercialized/implemented and generate economic benefit for Ontario
- Anticipate tangible deliverables in the form of new technologies, new processes, significant skills transfer, job creation, or other benefits to society.
Step 2: Full Application - Invitation Only
Selected EOI applicants will be invited to submit a full application. Full applications will undergo an internal review for completeness and financial compliance. Following confirmation by OCE of application completeness and financial compliance, applications will undergo review by OCE’s Subject Matter Director.
Recommendations will be reviewed by OCE’s Internal Review Panel, which will have responsibility for the final OCE decision.
Full applications will be evaluated on the basis of assessment criteria, which include, but are not limited to:
Clarity of the significance of the opportunity, and expected economic benefit to the Applicant Company, the ENCQOR Anchor Firm Partner and Ontario (e.g. new revenues, job creation/retention, productivity improvements)>
Ability of the innovation to address the ENCQOR industry partner challenge
- Expertise and experience of the team members, clarity of roles and responsibilities, and evidence of collaboration
- Clarity, feasibility and appropriateness of the project plan and budget
- Evidence of next steps, and clear strategy and capacity to bring the results to market and/or implement at the company
- Overall quality and completeness of the application
E. Flow of Funds and Project Administration
After the full application is approved for funding by OCE the Applicant company will receive a notification letter from OCE outlining next steps and inviting them to execute two (2) agreements.
Anchor Firm Agreement
Prior to execution of the final funding agreement with OCE/Innovation ENCQOR the Applicant company must have an agreement with the ENCQOR Anchor Firm. This agreement will define a detailed statement of work and formalize the terms of the collaboration between the Applicant company and Anchor Firm Partner.
As part of this process the applicant company will be expected to undergo a procurement process with the ENCQOR Anchor Firm company. This process will vary by ENCQOR Anchor Firm Partner and may vary by Challenge Statement. Requirements may include: a financial assessment of the applicant company, negotiations around intellectual property or other requirements as defined by the ENCQOR Anchor Firm.
Applicant companies and ENCQOR Anchor Firms are highly encouraged to start discussions on the Anchor Firm procurement process expectations as soon as possible after the applicant company has been invited to submit a full application. Early discussions will ensure that both parties are aware of the expectations and requirements for this process and help to accelerate the contracting process if the project is approved.
OCE is not a signatory on the agreement between the ENCQOR Anchor Firm and the Applicant Company and is not part of the procurement process or partnership negotiations.
When the agreement between the Applicant Company and the ENCQOR Anchor Firm has been executed the Anchor Firm will provide documentation to OCE as confirmation as well as a statement regarding the intellectual property agreement between the ENCQOR Anchor Firm and the Applicant Company to be incorporated as a schedule of OCE/ ENCQOR Funding agreement.
If the ENCQOR Anchor Firm and the Applicant Company are unable to execute an agreement or if the Anchor Firm Agreement Process causes a significant delay in project activation OCE may consider not awarding the project.
OCE/ENCQOR Funding Agreement
When OCE receives confirmation that the Anchor Firm Agreement has been executed the OCE and Innovation ENCQOR Funding agreement will be generated.
A copy of the OCE/Innovation ENQCOR trilateral funding agreement is available for download. Applicant companies are encouraged to review this document early in the application process. OCE will not negotiate or make changes to our funding agreements.
When all three parties execute the funding agreement the project will be activated and the project status will change in the AccessOCE system to ‘Active’.
Flow of Funds
The 5G ENCQOR SME Technology Development Program is funded by both the Provincial and Federal Governments on a claims and reimbursement basis. Projects funded through the 5G SDP will receive funding from both governments through the claims and reimbursement process administered by OCE.
The 5G SDP Program does not advance project funds to companies upon activation.
Project funds will be disbursed based on reimbursement claims submitted to OCE on a biannual basis. Reimbursement claims will include a report on project related expenses and supporting documentation. Project spending will be tracked and compared to the budget submitted with the full application. When a project is activated the Applicant Company will receive an orientation on claims reporting.
Use of Funds
Generally, OCE funds will support salaries and benefits of staff and contractors. Operating costs to achieve milestones are also allowed. Capital costs are not eligible expenses.
For a full list of eligible expenses please refer to the eligible project expenditures document.
Project Reporting Requirements
The following project reports will be required:
Interim Progress and Claims Report(s)
Interim report(s), including progress, proof of expenditures, financial attestation, and a request for reimbursement may be submitted up to twice per fiscal year – by applicant company only.
Copies of detailed Reporting Instructions will be sent to successful applicants at the time of contracting. The report must be received and approved by OCE prior to release of funds for eligible claims.
Note: Applicants MUST retain all proof of purchases, receipts, and other relevant documentation relating to eligible expenses. These should be included in the Interim Progress and Claim Report.
Forty-five (45) days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Applicant and industry partner will receive a notification of the project end date from OCE’s AccessOCE system, with a link to the Final Project Report, should the Applicant or project partner wish to begin entering data. If an extension to complete the project is required, the Applicant must request it prior to the scheduled project completion date, using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file. A maximum extension of three months will be allowable.
On the scheduled project completion date, the Applicant and project partner will receive notification and a link to complete a Final Project Report (including progress, financials and metrics) from OCE’s AccessOCE system. Both the Applicant and project partner reports must be received and approved by OCE within 30 days of project completion.
All required final reports by all partners must be submitted within 30 days of project completion in order to release the holdback and maintain good financial standing with OCE.
If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant and project partner will be required to complete an annual Metrics survey each April, for the part of the project that has been completed since the previous March 31. This annual report is mandatory for OCE to fulfil its contract with its funding Ministries. Required metrics reports from all partners must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.
At one, two, and three years after project completion, the project partner will be sent a link to complete a retrospective survey to collect data on commercial outcomes from the project. This information is required by OCE for assessment of program impact and continuous improvement.
The applicant must contact the Program Manager for any material change in the project, including, but not limited to, changes related to the project’s partners, scope of work or eligible expenses, when they are identified.
For any variances to the OCE budget of $5,000 or greater, or extensions to the project end date, the applicant must complete a Project Change Request form prior to the project end date, using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file.
F. How to Apply
Expressions of Interest (EOIs) may be submitted in response to an active 5G SDP Challenge Statement. Challenge Statements will be posted on a rolling basis on the OCE website.
To stay up to date with active 5G ENCQOR Development Program Challenge Statements please sign up for the ENCQOR Ontario mailing list.
EOI Deadlines will vary by 5G SDP Challenge Statement and will be posted at the time that the Challenge Statement is released. Challenge Statements will be posted to the OCE website for a minimum of four (4) weeks.
- If you are ready to start an application for the 5G SDP, the applicant (from the eligible Ontario-based SME) should submit a client intake form to start the application process. Please note: completion of this form does not constitute an application for funding. An OCE Business Development Manager (BD) will contact you within two business days to discuss the opportunity. If you are already working with an OCE BD, please indicate this in the form.
- Once the BD confirms that the opportunity is suitable for the program, you will be sent a link to OCE’s online application system, AccessOCE.
- Complete the online Expression of Interest forms on AccessOCE.
- Request your OCE BD to provide an endorsement of the application. The endorsement must be requested at least one week prior to the Challenge Statement Deadline. Once the BD endorsement is provided, a submission button will become visible and the applicant or BD will then be able to submit the application.
- All submitted EOIs will undergo an initial internal review by OCE for eligibility and application completeness. Subsequently, the EOIs will be reviewed by the ENCQOR anchor firm(s) for fit with the Challenge Statement they developed. Selected EOIs that meet the ENCQOR anchor firms’ requirements will be invited to submit a full application to OCE. The selection process will take approximately two (2) weeks from the Challenge Statement submission deadline.
- At the time of notification, successful applicants will gain access to the full application module in AccessOCE to complete their full application. Applicants will have approximately four (4) weeks to complete their full application for OCE. At the time of invitation to the full application module, applicants will be invited to execute a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with the ENCQOR Anchor firm to develop the project Statement of Work. All applicants should start negotiation with the ENCQOR anchor firm(s) regarding intellectual property (IP) rights soon after their invitation to develop a full application and, if funded, an executed Schedule D, Intellectual Property Term Sheet, must be provided together with a signed copy of the OCE Funding Agreement, within 30 days after notification of award.
- All submitted applications will undergo an initial internal review by OCE for eligibility, application completeness and financial compliance. A list of any deficiencies will be sent to the applicant for revision.
- Once the application is deemed complete, it will proceed for assessment.