Innovation Canada COVID19 Portal revamped their portal and now list Government of Canada programs that may be particularly relevant to this COVID-19 situation.

COVID-19 Continuity has a well laid out general resource page for business leaders, which is regularly updated. 

The CDN Startup COVID19 talent help list is a database to help tech workers, engineers, and professionals looking for work. If you’re looking to bring someone on in a contract capacity during this crisis, they ask that you source from this list.

In partnership with the Government of Canada, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce established the Canadian Business Resilience Network to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery.  

For tech based entrepreneurs a good place to start is the Startup Survival Guide to COVID1 and the MaRS COVID-19 collection. Below is a quick summary of links taken from the above and others that we are finding useful for the enquiries we are getting at TEC Edmonton.

Developing or manufacturing products directly related to COVID-19 in Canada

Call and support for businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada that will help in the fight against COVID-19.

In support of the Government of Canada’s whole-of-government response to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Public Works and Government Services Canada are asking suppliers about their ability to provide COVID-19 related products and services.

IRAP: The COVID-19 Challenges Procurement Program. This program will post challenges seeking near-to-market solutions from small and medium-sized businesses (fewer than 500 staff) that need financial support from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to refine and sell their product or solution to meet a COVID-19 related need.

NRC: The Pandemic Response Challenge Program. To address challenges requiring further research and development to meet COVID-19 related needs. The NRC will build these teams drawing on internal-to-government capacity and academic researchers who register to indicate their interest, and related areas of expertise and capabilities.

Clinical trials: Companies and researchers with drugs, medical devices, or natural health products that may be effective in treating or diagnosing COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the following to facilitate clinical trials.

  1. Trials using pharmaceutical drugs:
  2. Trials using biologics or radiopharmaceuticals:
  3. Trials using natural health products:
  4. Investigational testing of medical devices:

NGen will invest $50 million in Supercluster funding to support companies as they rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by building a Canadian supply of essential equipment, products, and therapeutics. Projects will be selected for funding according to critical needs identified by the Government of Canada and the ability of manufacturers to produce products that are safe for both patients and health care workers.

Looking for funding for your Canadian startup?

Hockeystick has a list of active funders and investors in Canada that is being regularly updated.

COVID-19 and the international startup community

There are a number of international calls and challenges for solutions to COVID-19 problems.

Startup Health is looking to invest in innovators working on direct or indirect solutions for mitigating, managing, or treating coronavirus or future pandemics.

Ennomotive ICU Ventilators for COVID-19: Design and Manufacturing Challenge to achieve low-cost,  easy-to-build ICU ventilators by the adaptation of standard industrial components or everyday-life objects whose availability is fast, easy, and universal.

IBM Call for Code Global Challenge: is looking for teams of innovators to create practical, effective, and high-quality applications based on one or more IBM Cloud™ services that can mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

The Gates Foundation COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator is backed by $125 million in both new funding and money already earmarked to identify potential treatments for COVID-19, accelerate their development, and prepare for the manufacture of millions of doses for use worldwide.

Innoget has started the Covid-19 Innovation Challenges Chanel, which has five worldwide calls and programs that could help in any aspects of the coronavirus crisis.

Quick links

Online Resources

Searchable Databases

There are a number of online tools and databases that you can use to find out what funding and programs are available to you or your company.

Innovation Canada: funding, facilities, and services available in Canada.

Connectica: funding, facilities, and services available to Alberta based companies.

Fundica: funding available to Canadian businesses.

StartAlberta: lists Albertan investors and companies that have successfully attracted investment.

Hockeystick: lists Canadian startups, investment groups, incubators and accelerators.

Tutorials, courses and self assessments

There are a number of courses and toolkits online providing information and tips for entrepreneurs and startups. They range in scope and cost. A small selection is provided here to give you a sense of what is available if you just want to learn more about being an entrepreneur or you want some guidance on how to structure your thoughts about an idea you currently have.

MaRS entrepreneurship 101.
Techstars toolkit.
BDC entrepreneurship toolkit.

Information and tutorial about intellectual property and the patent process.

Canadian Patent Office

US Patent Office

How to Get Started

Startup Edmonton provides hands-on support as you explore and move your ideas forward. You can start with a workshop and then commit to your idea with Preflight, a year-round, part-time program of mentorship, guided sessions, and access to corporate partners to get your product to market.

Business Link helps entrepreneurs navigate the steps toward starting their own businesses by providing one-on-one support through its business advisors. They have great online resources such as the startup checklist, which covers the major items you’ll need to get your business started or their market validation tools, which give you the basics on how to figure out if you have a market of paying customers. They also have services such as Ask a Legal Expert and the Immigrant Entrepreneur Program.

Alberta Innovates provides technology commercialization advice, mentorship and grants through its Technology Development Advisors and Regional Innovation Networks.

Looking for your peers?

Rainforest Alberta is networking community for entrepreneurs which holds frequent events in Edmonton and Calgary.

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) is a global, peer-to-peer network of business owners in 60 countries.

Staff, students & alumni of Edmonton post-secondary institutions

University of Alberta: eHUB is the entrepreneurship centre for students and the Venture Mentoring Service provides mentorship for graduates, faculty or staff members. There is also The Innovators Handbook, which gives a great summary of the innovation and commercialization resources available on campus.

NAIT: Mawji Centre for entrepreneurship.

MacEwan: Social Innovation Centre.

Norquest: Business Plan and Pitch Course

Cowork space

A number of organizations collectively provide spaces in Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park.

Startup Edmonton, Unit B and Homestead have space in Edmonton

NABI has space in St. Albert

URBN has space in Sherwood Park and Edmonton South

Work Nicer has space in Edmonton and Calgary.

Roundhouse is a space run by MacEwan University.

Prototyping and Product Development

The Productivity and Innovation Centre at NAIT features solutions for business innovation that include product testing, technology adoption, training and certifications, productivity and innovation, applied research, and industry conferences and events.

Two groups that may be useful to you as you develop your product on the cloud are:



Mentoring and Money

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (aWe) is dedicated to enabling women to build successful businesses. AWE provides unique programs and services to women at all stages of business through advising, financing, mentoring and network development.

Futurpreneur is a national organization that provides financing (loan program) and mentoring for entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-39.

Creative Destruction Labs-Rockies brings together entrepreneurs, investors, and scientists from fields including energy, healthcare, software and hardware, and clean technology to mentor startups and help them raise capital.

Community Futures Community Futures has 27 offices across Alberta that offer loan solutions and business development services built for rural Alberta.

Banks providing advice, events and financial products targeted towards entrepreneurs.

Angel investors

There are active angel investors in Alberta. Here are a few groups that are active in the technology space.

Valhalla Angels run programs like pitch nights and Basecamps .

A100 and its members expand the networks, connect people and share experiences with the people they work with.

Sprout invests in seed- and early-stage companies with series-A funding potential.

Established Companies

​​IRAP provides a range of services and funding for more established companies across Canada through its Industrial technology advisors (ITAs) and their extensive network of regional, national, and international partners.

Edmonton Trade Accelerator Program is a provided by The World Trade Centre in partnership with Edmonton Economic Development Corp. and the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce to provide essential insights, resources, and training to help companies develop and deliver an export plan.

Trade Commissioner Service has a broad range of online, Canada based, and international assets available for Canadian business.

Alberta Trade & Investment also has a range of services that are specific to Alberta based companies looking to export.

Export Development Canada has several financial products aimed at helping Canadian businesses selling into international markets.

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