Customer Demonstration Program

The IBM Innovation Incubator Customer Demonstration Program (CDP) is one of three Advanced Technology Platform (ATP) Demonstration Programs. Other ATP Demonstration Programs include the Next Generation Networks Demonstration Program and ENCQOR 5G Demonstration Program.  Applicants can apply for more than one demonstration program if they meet program-specific eligibility criteria.

The CDP is designed to help innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) demonstrate the value of their smart computing product/service to a Strategic Partner – generally a market leader. The program fosters development of a strategic commercial relationship between at least two parties, by supporting early market engagement and technical collaboration, and helping to build a business case for technology adoption.  A wide range of industries and sectors are targeted.

The CDP is delivered in partnership with IBM via the IBM Innovation Incubator Project. To help SMEs significantly accelerate their path to market and increase their competitiveness, CDP participants are also given the opportunity to access a host of advanced technology platforms via participation in an IBM Innovation Hub.

Program Summary

Program Name

IBM Innovation Incubator Customer Demonstration Program

Program Status and Submission Deadline

✓ Open for Applications (accepted on a rolling basis)

What it Supports

Opportunities for Ontario-based small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to demonstrate the value of their smart computing product/service to a Strategic Partner

Basic Eligibility Criteria

(A full list of eligibility requirements is available.)

Applicant:

  • Ontario-based company
  • Applicant company must be SME-scale (less than 500 employees)

Industry Partner:

  • All projects MUST include a strategic partner.The Strategic Partner must be a significant potential commercial partner/strategic client for the innovative product/service.

Project:

  • May utilize IBM Cloud Services, including IBM Watson
  • Develop or advance new technologies, products, processes and services

Investment

Up to $50,000 to the applicant

Project Duration

Up to 12 months

Minimum Matching Requirement

1:1 cash from the applicant

How to Apply

See details on the How to Apply tab.

Contact

Search OCE’s Knowledge Base of Frequently Asked Questions. For further assistance, see details on the Contacts tab.

More program information

Program Overview and Benefits

The IBM Innovation Incubator Customer Demonstration Program (CDP) is one of three Advanced Technology Platform (ATP) Demonstration Programs. Other ATP Demonstration Programs include the Next Generation Networks Demonstration Program and ENCQOR 5G Demonstration Program.  Applicants can apply for more than one demonstration program if they meet program-specific eligibility criteria.

The CDP is designed to help innovative small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) demonstrate the value of their smart computing product/service to a Strategic Partner – generally a market leader. The program fosters development of a strategic commercial relationship between at least two parties by supporting early market engagement and technical collaboration and helping to build a business case for technology adoption. A wide range of industries and sectors are targeted.

The CDP is delivered in partnership with IBM via the IBM Innovation Incubator Project. The program provides an opportunity for the innovative SME to showcase to a potential client the value of its technology. To help SMEs significantly accelerate their path to market and increase their competitiveness, CDP participants are also given the opportunity to access a host of advanced technology platforms via participation in an IBM Innovation Hub:

  • Highly scalable, security-enabled cloud infrastructure
  • Cognitive building blocks for developers (AI)
  • Tools to operate data
  • Targeted solutions for enterprise businesses
  • IBM Blockchain platform

One intended outcome is to increase the SME’s visibility to IBM. IBM, OCE, and the Innovation Hubs actively collaborate to help funnel promising technology companies into Stream 4, which is based at the IBM Innovation Hubs.

Program Objectives

  • Advance computing innovation;
  • Increase economic impact for all parties;
  • Enhance productivity, competitiveness and skills development;
  • Identify and bridge barriers to adoption of emerging computing technology.

The IBM Innovation Incubator CDP program is delivered by OCE on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

Benefits to the Applicant

Benefits to the Applicant

  • Accelerate time to market through an open cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Access market-leading Watson Cognitive Platform
  • Partner-friendly IP and data ownership policy. All background IP, foreground IP and data rights are owned by the start-up or scale-up company, unlike other major cloud PaaS platforms.  
  • Access to IBM technology adoption resources - share best practices for Watson and IBM Cloud Services use
  • Exclusive and “by Invitation only” access to IBM clients, partners and innovation spaces in other countries – opportunity to connect with large enterprises and global innovation ecosystem

How Funding Works

OCE Contribution

50 per cent (maximum) of total eligible project costs, up to $50,000

Applicant Contribution

50 per cent (minimum) of total eligible project costs (i.e. minimum 1:1 match to OCE contribution)

Example

Total eligible project costs: $100,000

  • Maximum OCE contribution: $50,000
  • Minimum industry partner contribution: $50,000 cash

Funding Recipient

SME applicant company

Institutional Overhead

Not applicable

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant

  • An Innovation-Driven Enterprise (IDE) using or developing technology innovation or innovative processes for competitive advantage in provincial, national and/or global markets
  • For-profit, incorporated in Ontario or Canada, and has a valid CRA business number
  • A small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME - less than 500 employees) with a validated innovative product/service
  • Has operations with R&D and/or manufacturing in Ontario related to the project
  • Has at least 50 per cent of active personnel living and working in Ontario
  • Has the intent and potential to apply, exploit and/or commercialize the results of the project for the economic benefit of Ontario
  • Has the necessary expertise and resources to put the project into effect within an appropriate time frame
  • In good financial and reporting standing with OCE
  • Awardees must agree to cooperate with OCE in the development of case studies

Strategic Partner

  • All applications MUST entail a partnership and/or sales relationship between at least two partners with Ontario operations, with the potential of developing a sustainable commercial relationship
  • A strategic partner could be a private industry partner and/or public sector organization such as a municipality, a healthcare facility or a public utility
  • The strategic partner company should represent a significant potential commercial partner/strategic client for the proposed innovative product/service
  • The SME and strategic partner must have an arm’s-length business relationship

Project

  • Supports the demonstration of the SME’s solution to a strategic client (Strategic Partner) to address an identified opportunity or problem
  • Solution should be highly innovative or disruptive, by providing a novel, or radically different, approach to solve a problem for the Strategic Partner or sector
  • Solution should have early market validation, meaning that a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) exists that has already been piloted with, or sold to, at least one client
  • Solution MUST be the basis for a globally competitive business and MUST offer good return on investment and benefits to Ontario (e.g. new revenues, job creation/retention, productivity improvement)
  • Creates a case for Strategic Partner adoption by providing enhanced productivity or improvement of products and services
  • Strategic Partner should provide SME an opportunity to scale its solution
  • Solution MUST already have all necessary certifications, if required, for a project to be executed
More program information

How to Apply

Program Status: ✓ Open for Applications (accepted on a rolling basis)

  1. Applications MUST be initiated in AccessOCE by an OCE Business Development Manager (BDM). Once initiated, the Applicant will receive login information to begin completing the application. Companies that wish to be connected with an OCE Business Development Manager should submit a Client Intake Form.

    Please note: completion of this form does not constitute an application for funding. A BDM will contact you within two business days to discuss the opportunity. If you are already working with a BDM, please indicate this in the form.

  2. Once the BDM confirms that the opportunity is suitable for the program, you will be sent a link to OCE’s online application system, AccessOCE.
  3. Complete the online application form and upload the required supporting documents 
    • Required supporting documents:
      • Résumés/CVs from relevant team members
      • Letter of support from strategic partner company
      • Company profile from strategic partner company
  4. Request your BDM to provide an endorsement of the application. The endorsement MUST be requested at least one week prior to submission. Once the endorsement is provided, the applicant or BDM will then be able to submit the application.
  5. OCE will internally review the application within approximately one week for eligibility, completeness and financial compliance. A list of any deficiencies will be sent to the applicant for revision.
  6. When the application is endorsed as eligible and complete by OCE’s internal team the application will be sent for review by external subject matter experts as well as the ATP Review Committee, which includes program partner organizations, Ciena, Ericsson Canada, Thales, CENGN and IBM Canada.
  7. Applicants will be notified of OCE's decision regarding funding by email.
  8. Once the application is approved for funding, the applicant will be forwarded a copy of OCE's standard funding agreement, with an embedded copy of the submitted application and Schedule D, for execution.
    • Please note: the OCE Funding Agreement is non-negotiable

Reference Documents

Assessment Process and Criteria

The IBM Innovation Incubator Customer Demonstration Program is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. All eligible applications undergo a review process where the applications are evaluated against program objectives and other assessment criteria. Not all eligible applications will be approved for funding.

Applications are internally reviewed for eligibility, completeness and financial compliance, prior to evaluation by external reviewers with domain expertise from academia and industry, including representatives from the ATP Program partners (Ciena, Ericsson Canada, Thales, CENGN, 5G ENCQOR, IBM). All reviewers are bound by Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). The final funding decision is made by OCE.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated against assessment criteria, including, but not limited to:

  • Clarity of the Strategic Partner challenge, significance of the opportunity, and expected economic benefit to companies and Ontario (e.g. new revenues, job creation/retention, productivity improvements)
  • Ability of the innovation to address the Strategic Partner’s 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 Strategic Partner
  • Overall quality and completeness of the application
More program information

Project Activation

  • Upon approval of a project for funding, OCE will activate the project in the AccessOCE system.

Flow of Funds

  • Upon activation, OCE will release a payment equal to 25 per cent of project funding. 65 per cent of project funding will be released on a claims and reimbursement model via interim reports.  The remaining 10 per cent of the OCE award will be held back until project completion. For example:

    OCE award amount

    $50,000

    Applicant contribution

    $50,000

    Funds released upon project activation

    $12,500

    Funds released via claims and reimbursement process

    $32,500

    Holdback

    $5,000

    • OCE will not release any funds until the project is activated and will not be held responsible for any expenses incurred for the project prior to activation. If, for any reason, the requirements for activation are not met within thirty (30) days from the date of release of the approval notification, the funding offer may be retracted.
  • The holdback will be released upon project completion and receipt of the following: applicant final progress and financial reports.

Project Reporting Requirements

The following project reports will be required. 

Please note that to receive funding from OCE, the applicant MUST complete all required reports as a contractual obligation.

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.

Final Reports

A final report, including progress, proof of expenditures, financial attestation, and a request for reimbursement, will be required at the end of the project. Forty-five (45) days prior to the scheduled completion date, the Applicant will receive a notification of the project end date from OCE’s AccessOCE system, with a link to the Final Project and Claims Report should the Applicant wish to begin entering data.

  • Applicants are required to report on project milestones, success stories, deviations, financials, and commercialization + economic outputs

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 will receive notification and a link to complete a Final Project Report (including progress, financials and metrics) from OCE’s AccessOCE system. Reports must be received and approved by OCE within thirty (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 early reporting is required, the applicant MAY request it by emailing the Program Manager

Project Metrics

If the project continues past a fiscal year end (March 31), the Applicant 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.

Retrospective Survey

At one, two, and three years after project completion, the Applicant 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.

Project Changes

  • 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 principal investigator, the industry partner, 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.
  • For any other material change to the project, including but not limited to changes related to the project’s principal investigator, the industry partner, scope of work or eligible expenses, the applicant must contact the Program Manager as soon as the changes are known.

For More Information

Search OCE’s Knowledge Base of Frequently Asked Questions.

For further questions regarding program guidelines, eligibility, and submitting the online application, please contact your OCE Business Development Manager 

For other inquiries, please contact:

Vahid Sadr
Portfolio Manager, Digital Economy Technologies
Tel: 416-861-1092 ext 1117
Email: 

How to Apply

Program Status: ✓ Open for Applications (rolling intake)

Applications MUST be initiated in AccessOCE by an OCE Business Development Manager (BDM). Once initiated, the Applicant will receive login information to begin completing the application. Companies that wish to be connected with an OCE Business Development Manager should submit a Client Intake Form.


​Last update: January 16, 2019