Innovation grants help B.C. manufacturers grow, create jobs

October 20, 2021 at 9:03 am  BC, News, Politics

Small and medium-sized manufacturers in B.C. can expand, adapt and enhance their operations through the StrongerBC Accelerating Manufacturing Grants program.

The program has allocated $10 million for 43 new projects designed to strengthen innovation and diversification and create new family-supporting jobs in the province’s manufacturing sector as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic has changed the way many B.C. companies do business and for many, adapting and innovating is the way to ensure long-term growth,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This program recognizes those businesses that have a solid plan to grow and become more globally competitive in the years ahead.”

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed vulnerabilities and demonstrated the importance of B.C.’s manufacturing sector, including its economic impacts, the critical goods it delivers and the jobs it provides in all regions of the province.

The Accelerating Manufacturing Grants program provided grants to eligible businesses to help them scale up, develop and commercialize new technologies or products, improve market access and identify operational improvements. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada was selected by the Province through a competitive process to deliver the program.

The announcement coincides with Manufacturing Week in B.C., which is proclaimed each October by government.

“We have long identified the lack of investment in equipment and advanced manufacturing as a barrier to the growth of our industry,” said Andrew Wynn-Williams, divisional vice-president for B.C., Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. “We are delighted that British Columbia’s recovery program has included a number of initiatives to address this challenge.”

Recipients represent a wide range of manufacturing sectors throughout the province, including technology, food processing, shipbuilding, aerospace and forestry.

The program helps companies adjust to the economic changes created by the pandemic and better prepare for the future.

With their grant, RaceRocks 3D and Iris Dynamics, both in Victoria, will increase their manufacturing capacity by more than 10 times for a new type of motion system based on a proprietary magnetic linear motor design. The motion platform and components will be used for simulation training and motion control across a variety of industries, including maritime vessels, aircraft, land vehicles, automation and robotics.

“Through programs such as the Accelerating Manufacturing Grants, RaceRocks, together with our partner, Iris Dynamics, can fast track the development of our technology and innovation for training and simulation,” said Anita Pawluk, president, RaceRocks 3D. “We are thankful for the support provided by the Government of B.C. and are excited to see the positive impact this brings to our teams, partners, clients and business community in B.C. and across Canada.”

Patrick McFadden, CEO of Iris Dynamics, said: “With the assistance of this grant, Iris Dynamics and RaceRocks will be able to ensure strong onshore capacity to design, manufacture, test and deploy the unique capabilities of this technology to the global market. This will lead to job creation, helping to establish domestic supply chains of critical components and capacity, and will further strengthen the manufacturing, technology and innovation sectors in the region.”

The Accelerating Manufacturing Grants program provided 75% of project costs to a maximum of $250,000 for individual business projects or up to $500,000 for projects by a group of businesses.

Projects are supporting the following activities:

  • demonstration or testing for prototypes of new technologies
  • commercialization of new technologies, products or services
  • improving market access or supply-chain competitiveness
  • identifying and applying operational improvements or increasing sustainability in supply chains

The Accelerating Manufacturing Grants program is part of the B.C. Supply Chain Resiliency and Value-Added Manufacturing Project, which commits more than $16 million in provincial funding to generate new economic opportunities.

The project also includes the $6-million Supply Chain Resiliency Program, which in April 2021 provided 24 grants of up to $400,000 to industry and trade associations, and as much as $200,000 to groups of businesses collaborating on a single project, to build stronger and more resilient supply chains.

Both programs are part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. The plan outlines the steps the Government of British Columbia is taking to help people, businesses and communities come out of COVID-19 stronger and better prepared.

Quick Facts:

  • There were almost 168,000 people employed in B.C.’s manufacturing sector in 2020.
  • Manufacturing contributes more than $15.6 billion to the B.C. economy and more than 6% of the province’s total gross domestic product.
  • There are more than 12,600 small and medium-sized manufacturing companies in B.C. More than 94% of them are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.
  • The manufacturing sector pays higher-than-average wages. Workers in the sector have average weekly wage rates that are 11.7% higher than the provincial average.
  • Manufactured goods account for 61% of B.C.’s total goods exports to international destinations.

Learn More:

For more information on StrongerBC, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/

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