More small businesses throughout Nova Scotia will have an opportunity to be more productive and innovative through an expanded Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program.
Now in its fifth year, the program is open for applications.
"Through jobsHere, the plan to grow our economy, we have invested about $25 million to support almost 300 Nova Scotia companies to become more innovative and productive, through initiatives such as this successful voucher program," said John MacDonell, acting Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.
"With these vouchers, small businesses are able to get advice and services from academic institutions so they can become more innovative and productive."
The program provides businesses with up to $15,000 in assistance from Nova Scotia's academic institutions in areas including applied research, engineering services, prototyping, product design and field testing. During the past four years, 152 businesses have received these vouchers.
"The opportunity to work with Dr. Mei-Ling Wei at Saint Mary's University and be a part of the program was an incredible learning experience, said Jennifer Laughlin, co-owner of Schoolhouse Gluten-Free Gourmet, a company that creates and offers fresh gluten-free foods at farmers' markets, retailers, cafes and restaurants.
"The voucher enabled us to gather product development research and complete a third-party evaluation with our customers that was invaluable. This program is a great resource for the small business community."
This year, a second tier of vouchers has been added after a successful pilot project last year. Up to $25,000 is available to businesses that have received vouchers through the program in the past so they can build on the progress made with their initial voucher. Six of these vouchers were awarded to businesses last year through the pilot project.
The province increased the funding for the program to $900,000 this year from $650,000.
"We have participated in the program since it began and find it extremely valuable as a catalyst for getting researchers engaged with industry," said Gina Funicelli, director, industry liaison, Saint Mary's University. "It works because it provides a unique opportunity for small business owners to access specialized expertise found in universities and colleges to resolve burning problems in a very short period of time."
The participating universities and colleges are Acadia University, Cape Breton University, Dalhousie University, including the former Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Nova Scotia Community College, Saint Mary's University, St. Francis Xavier University and Université Sainte-Anne.
Businesses interested in applying for the program can get more information at www.gov.ns.ca/econ/pnivouchers
. The deadline for applications for the first tier of vouchers is Oct. 5. For the second tier, the deadline is Oct. 12.
FOR BROADCAST USE:
More businesses across Nova Scotia will have an opportunity
to increase their productivity and innovation by working with
universities and colleges through an expanded Productivity and
Innovation Voucher Program.
In its fifth year, the program is open for applications.
Acting Minister of Economic and Rural Development and
Tourism John MacDonell says that with these vouchers, small
businesses are able to get advice and services from academic
institutions so they can become more innovative and
The voucher program provides up to 15-thousand dollars in
vouchers for small businesses to obtain expertise and research
from universities and colleges.
This year, the province is expanding the program to include
a second level of vouchers of up to 25-thousand dollars for
businesses that have received assistance through the program in
the past to build on the work done.
The deadline for applications for the tier one vouchers is
October 5th and October 12th for the second tier.
Media Contact: Jennifer Gavin
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism