The COVID-19 pandemic has created tough conditions wherein the economy is suffering.

During this pandemic, some social institutions have risen to the times. They have faced the problem head-on. They have also looked to others for help.

Everybody has innovated to find solutions during this pandemic. Governments have had to innovate the right restrictions to protect others. Businesses have had to innovate their operations to fit these restrictions. Citizens have had to innovate to fit their lives to these restrictions.

This effort has brought together the government, civil society, and the private sector. The government is working with private businesses to find solutions to their problems.

Germany held its first government hosted a hackathon for the same reason. This event produced useful solutions while aiding collaboration. Hackathons have a history of providing the best solutions. They are dynamic and flexible allowing creativity. Participants gather in a common space and form teams. They then work to create a solution to the presented problem.

Currently, these hackathons are to create solutions to social challenges. People outside of the government create challenges. The City of Toronto, NASA, NSF, and UN, etc. have all used them in the past.

The German #WeVsVirus was special due to its need and scale. Typical hackathons give three months to prepare. This event came together in just four days. The social interest in the event surprised the organizers. Almost 43,000 people signed up and 26,581 participated. These numbers helped make this event the world’s largest hackathon to date.

Organizers crowdsourced problems and existing efforts. They were able to gather 1,990 problems from people and the government. After shortlisting, 42 categories separated the 809 problems. Participants had 48 hours to create their solutions. The solutions were then entered into the platform. Additionally, they also had to create a two-minute video pitch.

This contest got over 1,494 proposals. Industry experts and officials selected 197 of the best ideas. The hackathon jury then selected the 20 best projects.

The German government also supported the effort. They did this by launching a program to develop and carry out the proposed ideas.

This hackathon helped in two ways. It helped the government find solutions. But it was also helpful for participants. Mental health has been an issue during this pandemic. It has forced people to social distance themselves from each other and isolates themselves. Out of 20,000 participants, most said they felt better after working with others on this. One said, “euphoria, positive energy and persistence with which people worked, developed ideas and created innovation”. This helped bring positive energy to a hard situation.

Some of these solutions have been rushed to use. The first happened on April 10. The federal employment agency added the winning idea to its website. The ideal was a tool to help businesses and employers apply for short-term labor grants. This lets employers reduce employees’ working hours while paying them for lost earnings. Although this tool was added to the old portal, the proposed development time was short. It took only two weeks from start to finish for the tool.

Dorothee Bär is the German State Minister for Digitization. She said, “The number of the depth of solutions is impressive. We should think about using the hackathon for other problems as well”.

In Canada, the government is working with the private sector in a similar way. The government of Canada has several labor grants in place for this pandemic. The following:

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
Temporary 10% Wage Subsidy
– Work Sharing Program

are all available to Canadian businesses for support. Businesses looking for credit can access the Canada Emergency Business Account.

 

Like Germany, Canada too has options for governments and businesses to collaborate. The province of Ontario has the Ontario Together effort. Ontario has some of the most innovative businesses and efforts in the nation. The government has set up a website with problems they need solutions to.

On this, a business can put forward their ideas for the issues. The province has also set up a fund to develop and put the solutions to use quickly. Ontario and the entire nation are fostering innovation through this. This promotes collaboration between the private and public sectors. Together, this can help fight the pandemic.

The Government of Canada provides other support to innovation and research as well. The most common grant is the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Credit Program. Canada Revenue Agency holds this program with the government. It awards tax credits to companies working on research and development projects. Businesses get a part of their expenditures back in tax credits and refunds. This can be up to 65% of project costs. This can include labor, materials, and contractors.

EVAMAX specializes in SR&ED and other grant applications. Contact EVAMAX today to see if your projects qualify for any grants.

sred four part testCanada Revenue Agency, in partnership with the Canadian Government, has been working meticulously to award companies participating in Scientific Research and Experimental Development for the promotion of national innovation in Canada. This practice dates back as early as 1944, when companies could deduct 100% of their scientific research expenditures from their taxable income. Since then, through several revaluations, Canada has optimized its SR&ED credit calculation and program to ensure businesses are getting the maximum possible return for their R&D efforts. 

The SR&ED credit program provides companies and businesses the freedom to conduct research while minimizing the company’s liabilities for the research. This credit is equivalent to a portion of the R&D tax credit qualified activities a business incurs related to the specific research project at hand. These qualified expenses are more inclusive than popular belief including the likes of employee and supervisor salaries for those involved in the project, a significant amount of supplies and materials used as well as any contracted or third-party expenditure incurred in the process. 

For example, the food industry could have several projects that involve basic research, applied research or experimental development. Any of these projects including scientific or technological advancement, uncertainty or content could be applicable to this program. Other efforts such as new product, packages or development processes, technical procedures as well as improvement could also qualify for such project. Hence, this credit is not limited to any specific industry or sector if it simply abides by the following four-part test. 

A business can conduct a simple four-part test to determine their qualified R&D activity. This eligibility is in fact heavily dependent on the research and project itself. 

This four-part test can help you determine if your project qualifies for the SR&ED program: 

  1. Elimination of Uncertainty: The project must be in attempt to eliminate uncertainty about the development or improvement a product or process and cannot be a change for aesthetics solely. 
  2. Process of Experimentation: Experimentation is critical as it must be demonstrated that the alternatives have been evaluated and tested for through either modeling, simulation or systematic trial and error or through other avenues. 
  3. Technological in Nature: The research qualified for this credit program must also lie within the hard sciences, including engineering, physics, chemistry, biology or computer sciences. In other words, no matter what the end use or purpose of this research, the process and method which is being researched must be scientifically backed. 
  4. Qualified Purpose: The end goal and purpose for this project must be to improve a specific product or process resulting in higher efficiency of performance, function, reliability and or quality. 

Some qualified activities may include: 

–       Developing prototypes of new equipment or experimenting with now improved equipment 

–       Patent applications 

–       Additive equipment to improve processes 

–       Streamlining of manufacturing processes 

–       Development of software or enhancements on existing technological aids 

–       Enhancements to processes to support green initiatives and make businesses more environmentally friendly 

–       HVAC concept and design 

–       Testing of new concepts and technology 

This program provides incentives for Canadian businesses to expand their capacity and production while also contributing to the Canadian economy at minimal direct expense. The SR&ED program alone also accounts for the single largest federal government support for industrial research and development encompassing over $3 million worth of expenditures claimed. 

EVAMAX specializes in consulting firms for their SR&ED projects, preparing their SR&ED applications and follow up process right through to the credit reimbursement. Contact EVAMAX today to find out how you can take your business to the next level through the SR&ED tax credit program. 

Program Overview

– Alberta Innovates believes in the benefits of developing and commercializing new technology and knowledge-based products to Alberta’s global competitiveness.

– The Alberta Innovates has two voucher programs (Voucher Program and Micro-voucher Program) to support technology development and help small to medium-sized businesses reduce time to market and improve their competitiveness.

– These programs help subsidize the costs of service providers for the development of technologies in the mid-to-late developmental stages.

– Funding of up to $100,000 can be received to cover the costs of the following activities:

Innovation grant

Company Eligibility

– Be a for-profit SME (fewer than 500 full time employees, less than $50M annual gross revenue).

– Demonstrate the relationship between the Applicant and the Service Provider does not create a conflict of interest.

– Have a physical presence in the province of Alberta.

– Be a legal entity:

  • Incorporated in Alberta, or
  • Incorporated federally AND extra provincially registered in Alberta, or
  • A general partnership, limited partnership or limited liability partnership AND registered in Alberta

– Be in good financial standing with Alberta Innovates and its subsidiaries (i.e. InnoTech Alberta, C-Fer Technologies)

Service Provider Eligibility

– At arm’s length from the applicant

– Provides services/products at reasonable market rates

– Be legally permitted to enter, remain in, and perform services in Canada during the project term

– Be in good financial standing with Alberta Innovates and its subsidiaries

Project Eligibility

Voucher Program

– Have clear, critical “go/no go” milestones

– Completed within the 2-year term

– Submit to other criteria that Alberta Innovates may develop periodically

Micro-Voucher Program

– Completed within the 12-month term

– Submit to other criteria that Alberta Innovates may develop periodically

Project activities include but are not limited to the following:

– New product research and development

– Leading-edge design, engineering and prototype development

– Advanced product testing and refinement

– Patent development

– Advanced market assessments

– Other technology development activities may be considered on a case by case basis

Eligible Expenses

– Labour costs for individuals identified to be performing the service for the provider

– Materials that can be specifically identified for use in the project

– Software critical to the project

– Capital assets critical to the project (on a case by case basis)

– Other costs pre-approved by Alberta Innovates

Funding

This program offers up to $10,000 for the Micro-Voucher program and up to $100,000 in funding for the Voucher program over the course of the project.

The Micro-Voucher Program funds one service provider while the Voucher Program funds up to three service providers, and Applicants are to contribute 25% of total eligible project costs.

Deadline

These programs have a continuous intake period.

For assistance in preparing your submission and to position your application for approval contact EVAMAX Group to help you with the process.