The Traction on Demand team, based in the Lower Mainland, appreciates the ease and flexibility of the Innovator Skills Initiative grant program, helping businesses and non-profits hire students.

Innovation initiative supports BC businesses + students

New Ventures BC grants to businesses support hiring BC students

Bringing in young, new talent can be vital to helping companies meet their evolving needs.

For BC businesses of all sizes, the Innovator Skills Initiative grant program, administered by New Ventures BC, can help make that happen.

“We love that the grant is flexible, encompasses lots of roles and has few restrictions. Even the whole application process is online,” says Craig Marsden, from the Lower Mainland-based Traction on Demand, which used the program to hire a finance intern who took on day-to-day financial tasks during her three terms.

“After our interns go back to school and graduate, we often have a full-time job lined up for them. In fact, 70 per cent of our interns come back as full-time employees. When we recognize talented workers we try to help them stick around,” Marsden says.

The non-profit New Ventures BC works to recognize, encourage and develop entrepreneurship and innovation in B.C.’s start-up technology sector, explains Rachel Burns, New Ventures’ ISI Grant Program Manager.

Results of these initiatives have included thousands of new jobs, enhanced entrepreneurial skills, increased investment, technology commercialization and economic growth for B.C.

Through the Innovator Skills Initiative grant program, tech companies, startups, businesses and non-profit organizations receive up to $10,000 a year to hire a BC post-secondary student.

Applications are open to all BC companies, with grants available for May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021.

Here’s how it works:

  • Applications are accepted on first-come, first-served, rolling basis. During the current COVID-19 concerns, staff are evaluating grants remotely and processing as usual. For companies facing hardship due to COVID-19 that can’t meet certain eligibility requirements, Burns encourages them to check in. “We are here to support you and will provide exceptions on a case-by-case basis,” she says.
  • The program provides flexibility regarding start times, end dates and payouts, and can include hiring a student who is working from home or remotely.
  • Businesses provide students with entrepreneurial and business training, and match grant funding.
  • Students must be enrolled or returning to an accredited BC-based post-secondary school and cannot be in co-op.
  • The grant can potentially be stacked with other funding and can be stacked with Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
  • Funding is provided by Innovate BC and the Province of BC
  • To learn more, sign up for the next Innovator Skills Initiative grant program webinar info session.

Innovation on multiple fronts

In addition to the Innovator Skills Initiative grant program, New Ventures BC also offers a mentored Distance Venture Acceleration Program and hosts the annual New Ventures BC Competition, the largest and longest-running tech competition in BC, offering education, coaching and awarding $250,000 and prizes to BC startups.

Ready to learn more? Visit New Ventures BC online and stay up-to-date with all the New Ventures BC news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

BusinessPost-secondary Educationtech industry

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