Tech-Access Canada, the national network of Canada’s 60 Technology Access Centres (TACs), has said it “welcomes Budget 2021’s support for the Interactive Visits Program and the numerous initiatives to support innovation and applied research.”
Monday’s federal budget contained funding to provide more businesses with access to the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program’s Interactive Visits, where firms can access equipment, facilities, and expertise at college-affiliated Technology Access Centres (TACs).
There were also funds set aside to expand the Industrial Research Assistance Program to support additional innovative small and medium-sized firms and additional support for “collaborative innovation projects and increasing TAC capacity through the College and Community Innovation Program.”
“The increased funding will enable the TACs to assist even more Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs, from all backgrounds and all regions, to get their innovations closer to market,” said Dr. Nathalie Méthot, chair of Tech-Access Canada’s board of directors
TACs are R&D centres affiliated with Canadian colleges and Quebec cégeps, which the organization says offer “value-added R&D and innovation services to Canadian businesses—particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)—to develop new prototypes, scale-up processes and solve unique business challenges.
“They also provide customized training for corporate teams to upgrade technical skills, and de-risk the financial investment of implementing new equipment and adopting emerging technologies.”
According to a release, they help “4,200 Canadian businesses each year, of which 81% are small businesses, advance their products, processes and services by conducting applied research and development projects focused on solving company problems, offering specialized technical services and objective advice; and providing training related to new types of equipment and processes.”
“Our members are thankful for the new investment in the long-standing College and Community Innovation Program,” says Peter Laffin, vice-chair of Tech-Access Canada’s board. “Even though TACs work with 4,200 companies every year, we have long wait lists. We look forward to increasing the capacity of the TACs to serve even greater numbers of SMEs as we move towards the recovery.”
The network’s members provide clients and partners from across Canada with access to:
- expertise and experience of 2,100 business innovation and applied R&D experts
- over 3.8 million square feet of innovation and applied research space; and
- over $477 million worth of specialized equipment and facilities.