ENCQOR 5G Demonstration Program

A. Program Overview and Benefits

The ENCQOR 5G Demonstration Program supports standalone small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) projects and SME collaborations with industry partners and or public sector organizations such as municipalities, healthcare facilities, public utilities for testing and validation activities using the ENCQOR 5G Innovation Platform as a Service (iPaaS) testbed in order to develop or advance new technologies, products, processes and services.

The ENCQOR 5G Demonstration Program is delivered by OCE in partnership with Innovation ENCQOR on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. 

Benefits to the SME Applicant

  • Accelerate time to market by access to a pre-commercial 5G wireless platform
  • Develop, prototype, test and demonstrate on a standards-based Innovation Platform as a Service (iPaaS) testbed
  • Connect with anchor partners, customers and ecosystem services

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B. How Funding Works

OCE Contribution

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

Industry Partner Contribution

50% (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


As part of the ENCQOR Demonstration Program application, SMEs can also apply for an ENCQOR Internship as part of the application process, subject to meeting the eligibility requirements. Further details on the Internship Program are available

 

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C. Eligibility

SME Applicant Company

  • 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-to-medium size enterprise (SME - less than 500 employees), with a validated innovative product/service.
  • Has operations and/or R&D in Ontario related to the project
  • 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 [a requirement of the program]

Strategic Partner (if applicable)

  • SME applicant companies may choose to apply in collaboration with a strategic partner company.A Strategic Partnership is not mandatory.
  • A strategic partner could be a private industry partner and/or public sector organizations such as municipalities, healthcare facilities, public utilities.
  • 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

  • Technology Readiness Level 1-7
  • Supports testing and validation activities using the iPaaS testbed
  • Solution should be highly innovative or disruptive, by providing a novel, or radically different approach to solve a problem for their sector.
  • 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).

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D. Assessment Process and Criteria

The ENCQOR 5G Demonstration Program is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding. All eligible applications undergo a review process where the applications are assessed against program objectives and 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, and the Advanced Technology Platform (ATP) Review Committee which includes program partner organizations, Ciena, Ericsson Canada, Thales CENGN and IBM Canada. All reviewers are bound by confidentiality agreements. The final funding decision is made by OCE and Innovation ENCQOR.

Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be evaluated against assessment criteria including:

  • Clarity of the SME challenge, significance of the opportunity, and expected economic benefit to the SME and Ontario (e.g. new revenues, job creation/retention, productivity improvements)
  • Ability of the innovation to address the SME challenge and the role/benefit of the access to the iPaaS testbed
  • 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

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E. Flow of Funds and Project Administration

Project Activation

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

Flow of Funds

  • Upon activation, the SME Applicant Company can begin to accrue project related costs for reimbursement.  The program award will be disbursed by a claims and reimbursement model.  Funds will flow to the applicant from Innovation ENCQOR.  For example:

Program award amount

$50 000

SME Applicant Company contributions

Minimum $50 000

Funds released upon project activation

$0

Funds released by Innovation ENCQOR through the claims and reimbursement process to be administered by OCE

$50 000

 

    • Project funding will not be released until the project is activated and the first claims report has been approved.  OCE and program partners 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 final reimbursement claim will be released by Innovation ENCQOR upon project completion and receipt of the following: applicant final progress and financial reports, outcomes.

Project Reporting 

The following project reports will be required.

Please note that completion of all required reports is a contractual obligation to receive funding for this program.

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 upon project activation. The report must be received and approved by OCE and Innovation ENCQOR prior to release of funds by Innovation ENCQOR 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

Forty-five 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 Report should the Applicant 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 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 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 final reimbursement payment and maintain good financial standing with OCE.

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 applicant company, the strategic partner, scope of work or eligible expenses, when they are identified.
  • For any variances to the funded budget of $5000 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.

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F. How to Apply

ENCQOR 5G Demonstration Program applications are 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 who 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:
      • Resumes/CVs from relevant team members
      • Letter of support from strategic partner company (to be included only if a Strategic Partner is engaged with the project)
    • Company profile from strategic partner company (to be included only if a Strategic Partner is engaged with the project)

    For assistance, please see the following resources:

  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 funding decision by email.
  8. Once the application is approved, the Applicant SME Company will be forwarded a copy of the ENCQOR 5G Demonstration Program funding agreement with an embedded copy of the submitted application and Schedule D, and the iPaaS Access Agreement for execution.
    • Please note: both agreements are non-negotiable.

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H. Downloads

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I. Contacts

For program-related inquiries, including assistance with deadlines and applications, please contact:  

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 or:

OCE Application Support Team
Tel: 416-861-1092 x2400
Email: application-support@oce.zendesk.com

For further questions regarding the application review process, please contact:

OCE Review and Results Team
Email: application-review@oce.zendesk.com

For further questions regarding administration of active projects, please contact:

OCE Project Administration Team
Email: project-administration@oce.zendesk.com

For other inquiries, please contact:

Vahid Sadr
Portfolio Manager, Digital Economy Technologies
Tel: 416-861-1092 ext 1117
Email: vahid.sadr@oce-ontario.org