How it Works

The Voucher for Commercialization program is intended as a means of transferring research to an existing Ontario-based company or to use academic intellectual property as a basis to found a new Ontario-based business venture. This is made possible by supporting key activities such as technology/innovation assessment, market assessment and strategy, prototype design and development, material characterization, proof of concept demonstration, and business and other plan development.

How Funding Works

The Voucher for Commercialization provides funding to early-stage opportunities, for activities that are the next logical step for potential commercialization. These are likely to be activities that prove the technology, engage customers, assess the commercial potential and develop the business plan. Typical activities include (but are not limited to):

  • technology/innovation assessment
  • market assessment and strategy
  • prototype design and development
  • material characterization
  • proof of concept demonstration
  • early customer engagement
  • business and other plan development

IP protection costs are the responsibility of the applicant; however, OCE may consider supporting a start-up which has the right to commercialize the IP, with up to $5,000 for IP filing costs.

Overhead and capital equipment are not eligible expenditures for this program.
 
OCE funds may be used for consulting or contractor (vendor) services, provided that the applicants attest that they have followed the Broader Public Sector Procurement Directive in selecting the firm(s) providing these services. Specifically, for all consulting or contractor services of $100K or less, the applicant must issue a written invitation (by letter or email) to bid to three qualified vendors or consultants. Length and complexity of the written bid and response will be dictated by the cost and complexity of the requirements. OCE may request a spot audit of the documentation at its discretion, to be conducted by the Project Accountant. For services over $100K, the Business Development Manager should involve the Manager, Business Operations in the process as early as possible. Written quotes will need to be provided to OCE.

For all uses of funds outside of Ontario, the applicant must provide justification and be in compliance with the Broader Public Sector Procurement Directive in selecting the vendor(s) for these services.

Voucher for Commercialization investments are up to $50,000, and require matching cash and/or in-kind equal to 25% of the OCE investment. Institutional overhead and capital equipment do not qualify as matching cash or in-kind. Projects can receive a lifetime maximum investment of $50,000 from the program.

Projects typically take up to 12 months to complete.

Benefits

Researchers:

  • Gain support to develop a market-viable technology
  • Get guidance from knowledgeable OCE Business Development Managers and their networks
  • Receive assistance in navigating the path from research to the marketplace

Industry:

  • Commercialize a cutting edge technology
  • De-risk new product development activities
  • Potentially be the first to market
  • Create new jobs and revenue stream

How to Apply

Timelines and Decision-Making Process

Applications may be submitted at any time. Applications are reviewed every six to eight weeks. An OCE Business Development Manager works with the applicant throughout the application process. The funding process is competitive with applications being evaluated by a review panel comprised of senior OCE staff. 

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The innovation/technology results from research developed in an Ontario publicly funded academic research institution (university, college or research hospital)
  • By exception, start-up companies from an OCE-supported Experiential Learning Program (ELP) campus accelerator are eligible for Voucher for Commercialization  support. The ELP must provide a letter confirming that the application was supported by an OCE-funded Experiential Learning Program, a description of how the company has benefitted from the ELP program, and endorsement of the company according to OCE’s assessment criteria
  • Applicants who have already received Market Readiness Phase II or III funding may not apply for a Voucher for Commercialization
  • Applicants must be free to use/develop the IP with no third party rights
  • Commercialization occurs in Ontario by spinning off the IP through licensing to an existing company, or formation of a start-up
  • Eligible start-up companies must be academic spin-outs where the institution can attest to the academic IP, or start-ups that have in-licensed academic IP which forms the basis for the core product or service of the start-up. In both cases the start-up should typically be less than three years old
  • Projects leading to licensing of technology to an existing Ontario company are eligible for Voucher for Commercialization funding. In this case the principal investigator must be the applicant, and funds will flow to the academic institution
  • When applying for Voucher for Commercialization funding, the applicant must be pre-recurring revenue (less than $250,000 total) and pre-significant non-government investment. “Significant investment” is defined as an outside investment of over $250,000. "Non-government investment” does not include funding from founders, friends and family. Matching funds are not included when determining eligibility
  • Total market for the opportunity must be in excess of $50 million. Priority will be given to opportunities with the potential for early customer traction, demonstrated market/customer pull, fast growth, high eventual revenues, global exports, sustainable ongoing revenues and profitability, potential for further innovation/diversification, and likelihood of maintaining substantial economic activity (e.g. jobs, supporting industrial infrastructure) in Ontario. For licensing opportunities, the licensee must develop the technology in Ontario
  • The applicant team is evaluated based on its experience and track record, leadership, mix of skills, network, openness to advice, commitment and investment to the project, and its ability to attract additional team members and resources
  • Participants will co-operate in providing project metrics, at least annually
  • Applicants must be in good financial and reporting standing with OCE


Due to a very high volume of applications, OCE’s Voucher for Commercialization program is at full capacity.  We are no longer able to accept applications at this time. We thank all applicants for their interest in the program.

In the meantime, OCE strongly encourages prospective applicants who are interested in the program to speak to an OCE Business Development Manager about other OCE programs that may suit their needs.

For more information about the Voucher for Commercialization program, please contact:

Jennifer Moles
Manager, Programs
(416) 861 1092 x1023
jennifer.moles@oce-ontario.org

Todd Allen
Program Coordinator
(905) 823-2020 x3202
todd.allen@oce-ontario.org