Smart City

SMART CITY: Solutions in a Post-COVID19 World

The initiative provides up to $110,000 in financial support to start-ups and SMEs for product development, market traction and company scale-up using connectivity so that they are investment ready.

The OCE Smart City Challenge supports Ontario based businesses who use connectivity in their product or service. Successful Applicants must be willing to provide an in-kind match up to $50,000.
Application Deadline: September 10, 2020

What is the OCE Smart City Challenge?

The OCE Smart City Challenge is part of the ENCQOR 5G initiative supporting Ontario-based businesses using connectivity in their product or service. The initiative provides up to $110,000 in support to start-ups and SMEs for developing products, gaining market traction, and scaling their company to become investment ready. The contribution is provided via reimbursement grants.

Although the initiative is open to all eligible companies, OCE is looking for application that show proof of market traction in industries such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Northern or Remote areas
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation, Mobility & Logistics
  • Media, Telecom & IT
  • Cybersecurity and Fintech
  • Other

Who’s eligible?

  • You are an Ontario based start-up/SME (under 500 employees)
  • You use aspects of connectivity in your product or service

What can the money be used for?

Activities supported through this initiative include things such as product development, sourcing first customers and solving real business needs. The company must use the fund to:

  • Demonstrate a viable working prototype and/or
  • Make improvements to a product/services to achieve greater market traction and sales using aspects of connectivity (bonus: those with a focus on IoT, latency, and/or high bandwidth)

How is the money applied?

A non-repayable contribution of up to $110,000 will be applied towards the successful application. This will be split into two different grants: 1) $50,000 applied towards a demonstration project and 2) $60,000 to hire recent graduates to work on the project. The contribution will come in the form of a reimbursement grant to help in the product and commercial development of the company to get them to the next level.

The successful applicant company must match the $50k 1:1 and 2:1 for the $60k – the company can choose to apply to one or both of the grants if selected.

Reporting of Eligible In-Kind Contribution

A condition for the release of resources and professional services will require the company to provide a detailed project budget and to report on matching of eligible in-kind contributions on a minimum of a 1:1 basis to the funds obtained. Eligible and in-eligible in-kind contributions will be outlined and need to be reported as part of the client agreement that needs to be signed with OCE.

The nitty gritty (rules & regulations)

  • The applicant must not have received a grant through the ENCQOR 5G program in the past
  • The applicant must hold equity and a key position in the company
  • Successful applicants must also apply for access to our 5G testbed
  • Applicants must be in good financial and reporting standing
  • It is preferred that:
    • Start-ups/SMEs access and demonstrate project identified on one of our 5G testbeds (Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa)

Wait a second, what do you mean by “Connectivity”?

Our ENCQOR 5G program is focused on advancing Ontario companies and making them more competitive globally. In doing so, we’ve established three 5G testbeds in Waterloo, Toronto, and Ottawa to provide hubs where companies can test, develop, and scale in an environment where connectivity is free. Thus, we focus on projects where Massive IoT, low latency, and high bandwidth are game changers for companies. For this call for applications, if you fall into any of those buckets – we’re looking for you!

How to Apply

Applications will be open until midnight on September 10, 2020

Complete the OCE Smart City Program Application Form

After the application deadline, applications will be reviewed for completeness, eligibility, use of funds, ability to demonstrate a viable business proposal using aspects of connectivity, and the impact the project will have on your company’s business growth. The applications will be evaluated by the OCE 5G Advisory Committee who will make its recommendations to OCE. OCE will make the final decision and will notify the successful applicants.

Please note that successful applications will be required to:

  • Complete an ENCQOR 5G Access form
  • Provide a detailed Project Plan with milestones; preference will be given to projects that can be completed in less than 1 year
  • Provide quarterly progress reports using government supplied spreadsheets to detail among other things eligible in-kind contributions from the company
  • Provide documentation verifying incorporation, business number, etc
  • Other documentation may be required


Photo of John Chiappetta  John Chiappetta
Business Development and Commercialization Manager, OCE