Next Generation Networks (NGN) Demonstration Program

 

A. Program Overview

The Next Generation Networks (NGN) Demonstration Program is one of three Advanced Technology Platforms (ATP) Demonstration Programs. All three ATP Demonstration programs are accessible via a common intake process. Other ATP Demonstration Programs include the IBM Innovation Incubator Project Customer Demonstration Program and ENCQOR 5G Demonstration Projects.  Applicants can apply for more than one demonstration program if they meet the program specific eligibility criteria.

The NGN Demonstration Program is designed to support Ontario based small and medium size (SME) companies to use the CENGN testbed to further develop proof-of-concept or demonstrations that could lead to new technologies, products, processes and services.  Funding is available for standalone SME projects or SME collaborations with industry partners and/or public sector organizations such as municipalities, healthcare facilities, and public utilities.  Proof-of-concept project activities can include, but are not limited to, technology adoption demonstration, start-up or scale-up support, prototyping, product testing and applied research and development ("R&D").

Program objectives

  • Advance innovation in Next Generation Network technologies;
  • Increase economic impact for Ontario based SMEs and Ontario;
  • Enhance productivity, competitiveness and skills development;
  • Identify and bridge barriers to adoption of NGN technology.

The NGN program provides an opportunity for the innovative SMEs to prove or showcase the value of their technology and accelerate their path to market.  In addition to project funding, successful applicants will also have access to a host of services and support via the Innovation Hubs.

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B. How Funding Works

  • Funding will flow to the SME applicant to support project activities
  • OCE will support up to 50% of eligible project expenditures to a maximum of $50,000 with the remainder contributed by a minimum 1:1 cash match from Applicant.
  • Projects can be up to 12 months in duration.
  • One award is allowable per SME company during the program lifetime

The NGN Demonstration program is part of the Advanced Technology Platforms (ATP) common-intake process. As such, applicants can also apply for the 5G Demonstration Program and/or the Customer Demonstration Program in parallel using the same application form. Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for each program they are applying to for this to occur.

As part of the NGN Demonstration Program application, SMEs can also choose to apply for funding for an NGN Internship to fund an intern salary for work on the project. Please see the internship program guidelines for information about the program and eligibility requirements.

Flow of Funds

For successful SME applicants who have executed OCE’s standard Funding Agreement the flow of funds is as follows:

  • Upon execution of the OCE funding agreement, 25 per cent of funds will be advanced directly to the SME applicant company. The remaining funding will be released to the SME company on a claims and reimbursement model for eligible expenses. Claims can be made when submitting interim report(s), and the final report, required at the end of the project. More information on reporting in section E. Project Reporting and Claims Requirements.

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C. Eligibility

Applicant and Project Partners

  • The Applicant must be an Ontario based for-profit small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME - less than 500 employees) with a validated innovative product/service.
  • Projects may include a potential strategic customer (strategic partner) as a project partner. The strategic partner company should represent a significant potential commercial partner/strategic client for the proposed innovative product/service.A strategic customer company (strategic partner) is preferred but not mandatory.
  • The SME applicant and any identified strategic customer must have an arm’s-length business relationship.
  • Awardees must agree to cooperate with OCE in the development of case studies.

Qualified Projects 

  • Projects must support technology adoption demonstration, prototyping, product testing and/or applied research and development ("R&D")
  • Solution should be highly innovative or disruptive, by providing a novel, or radically different approach to solve a problem for the intended customer segment, industry sector or partner.
  • Solution MUST be the basis for a highly competitive business and MUST offer good return on investment and benefits to Ontario (e.g. new revenues, job creation/retention, productivity improvement).
  • Solution MUST already have all necessary certifications, if required, for a project to be executed.

Use of Funds

  • Generally, OCE funds will support salaries and benefits of staff and contractors. Operating costs to achieve milestones are also allowed. Capital costs are not eligible expenses.
  • Allowable technical activities include tasks such as testing, customization, integration and adoption. Business activities related to the development of a strategic partnership are allowed.
  • For a full list of eligible expenses please refer to the eligible project expenditures document.

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D. Evaluation and Project Activation

The NGN Demonstration Program is a discretionary, non-entitlement program with limited funding.  OCE will fund qualified projects with potential for the greatest economic benefits to Ontario. Not all eligible applications can be funded.

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 (CENGN/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 based on assessment criteria which include but are not limited to:

  • Clarity of the 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 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
  • If a receptor/strategic partner is involved, their potential role and impact on accelerating the innovation’s path to market
  • Evidence of next steps, and clear strategy and capacity to bring the results to market
  • Overall quality and completeness of the application

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E. Project Reporting and Claims Requirements

1. 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.

NoteApplicants 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.

2. Final Results and Claim Report

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 days prior to the scheduled completion date, the applicant and project partners (if applicable) will receive an email notification of the project end date from the AccessOCE system, with a link to the Final Progress and Claim Report should the applicant and/or project partner wish to begin entering data.

  • Applicants are required to report on project milestones, success stories, deviations, financials, and commercialization + economic outputs.
  • If a project extension is required, the applicant MUST request it using the Project Administration tab in their AccessOCE project file. Extension requests must be made before the project end date.
  • On the scheduled project completion date, the applicant will receive another notification and a link to complete the Final Project Progress and Claim Report from OCE’s AccessOCE system.
  • All required final reports from the applicant must be submitted within 30 days of project completion in order to be reimbursed for eligible expenses and maintain good financial standing with OCE. 
  • If early reporting is required, the applicant MAY request it by emailing OCE Project Administration, project-administration@oce.zendesk.com.

3. Metrics Survey

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 funders. Required metrics reports from all applicants must be submitted in order to maintain good financial standing with OCE.

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F. Timelines and How to Apply

Applications must be initiated in AccessOCE by an OCE Business Development Manager (BD). Once initiated, the Applicant will receive login information to begin completing the application. Prior to submission, applicants MUST first request their BD to provide an endorsement of the application for eligibility and suitability. Once the endorsement is provided, the applicant or BD will then be able to submit the application. Post-submission, applicants will be connected to an Innovation Hub via their BD if they are already not connected to one.

NOTE: Applications that involve a strategic partner must be accompanied by a signed letter of support from the strategic partner confirming the high-level project scope, budget, timelines, and commitment to the project as a “Project Contributor/Partner” (including cash, personnel and/or other contributions).  A template for the letter of support is available. 

Innovation Hubs:

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G. FAQ

Please review OCE's Program FAQ.

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H. Downloads

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Contacts

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

Vahid Sadr
Portfolio Manager, Digital Economy Technologies
(416) 861 1092 x 1117
vahid.sadr@oce-ontario.org

For general inquiries about the online application system and application form, please contact the Application Support Team at (416) 861-1092 x2400 or application-support@oce.zendesk.com