Small Business Innovation Challenge (SBIC)

Recognizing the role that government can play in building an innovation-driven economy, the Government of Ontario has introduced the Small Business Innovation Challenge (SBIC) to support the growth of high-potential, technology-driven small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the province.   

This program, announced in the 2016 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, is an integral part of Ontario’s Business Growth Initiative and Ontario’s new economic strategy.

Under an exciting new partnership, Ontario Centres of Excellence and the Government of Ontario are helping SMEs launch their innovations from an idea stage to become globally competitive products and services. The new SBIC Program uses public sector challenges as a platform for inspiring SMEs to develop and test innovative technology solutions.

OCE is delivering Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the SBIC:

  • Phase 1 - Feasibility Stage: OCE supports SMEs to establish the technical merit, feasibility, and commercialization potential of their proposed innovative solution in response to challenges identified by participating Ministries (“Champion Ministries”) of the Government of Ontario.   
  • Phase 2 - Product Development and Demonstration Stage: OCE supports SMEs to develop, test and demonstrate their innovative products and solutions. 

SMEs can enter the Program at either Phase depending on the technology readiness level of their innovative solutions.

Please note: 

Following the successful completion of Phase 2, the Champion Ministry, at its discretion, may invite SMEs to test the solutions developed in Phase 2 in an applied government setting through an Optional Prototype Procurement. This will be delivered by the Champion Ministry and not by OCE.

Interested and eligible applicants can apply to the Program by responding to the Innovation Challenge Problem Statements put forward by participating Champion Ministries.

The Government of Ontario currently has open calls for the following Problem Areas:

More details on the Small Business Innovation Challenge Program.

Partnering Forum

OCE hosted two partnering forums for the next round of the Small Business Innovation Challenge on December 12, 2017. Representatives from the Government of Ontario, Champion Ministries, and OCE  presented further details on the SBIC Program and Round 2 Problem Statements. The Forum was an opportunity for interested SMEs to gain further insight about the Program and network with other SMEs and Champion Ministry representatives.

A recap is available on our website:

A recap of the SBIC Round 1 Partnering Forum is also available on our website