The Canada Foundation for Innovation supports research in Canada. If you’re an entrepreneur or a small-business owner, the organization can be a valuable resource €” it can help your company get access to funding, research, and even qualified staffing.
About the Canada Foundation for Innovation
The CFI was created in 1997 to help researchers across Canada fund the tools they need to conduct cutting-edge studies. In doing so, the founders hope to turn Canadian universities, hospitals, and research organizations into global competitors. The CFI’s goals extend beyond research, though; the organization also tries to find ways for businesses and governments to make changes in the world.
As part of its goal of connecting researchers with businesses, the CFI offers funding opportunities, such as the College-Industry Innovation Fund. This fund is specifically designed to help businesses partner with college students and faculty to create exciting new innovations. For solo entrepreneurs and small businesses, one of the most exciting aspects of the fund is that it is not limited by company size €” which means that you can gain access to state-of-the-art labs even if you’re just one person with a great product idea.
Research Facilities Navigator
For small businesses, one of the CFI’s most exciting tools is the Research Facilities Navigator. This online database is specifically designed to help entrepreneurs and businesses find the researchers and research facilities they need to be innovative and competitive. If you have built a product prototype, for example, you might use the Navigator to find a college lab that can conduct professional-quality testing.
Using the Research Facilities Navigator is easy. All you have to do is enter a search term, such as “dyno testing” or “nano materials research”, and the database displays all public labs that fit the bill. Refine the results by province to find a lab close to your business, or contact the facility directly from the CFI website. Best of all, since all of the researchers in the database are set up to work with businesses, you don’t have to spend time combing through websites or calling busy lab managers to ask if they do industry partnerships.
How the Research Facilities Navigator Can Help Your Small Business
The CFI’s Research Facilities Navigator is useful for a variety of small businesses. If you are a Canadian entrepreneur dealing in high-tech products or products that require scientific innovation, you are among the most obvious to receive benefits from this tool. You might work with researchers to develop a lighter material to reduce the weight of a product, or use the facility’s equipment to create an exciting new nano-scale medical diagnosis tool. By partnering with a research institutions, you gain access to technology such as scanning electron microscopes and dyno testers, which is far too expensive to afford on your own.
For entrepreneurs and startups, the Navigator also offers enormous potential. If you have an idea for a product but lack the necessary technical knowledge, this tool helps you connect to a researcher who can help you develop a solid R&D process. Find equipment to test your prototypes, or get feedback to improve an existing product. In some cases, you can partner with university researchers to develop a completely new product based on your ideas and their scientific expertise.
If your business needs skilled employees, either now or in the future, the Navigator can help. By networking with university researchers, you have access to students that are potential future employees. You may even be able to hire the students who work on your research, creating a workforce with a valuable base of knowledge about your company. With access to Canada’s industry-leading research and talent, you can make CFI a part of your company’s innovation and long-term success.