Canadian Business Awards 2023

network. The program’s goal is to provide small companies with access to R&D resources, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with a TAC to address a business innovation challenge. Since it was launched in 2016 as a pilot using nine Ontario-based TACs, the program has been a great success. The TACs have completed over 1,500 short-term collaborative Visits with NRC IRAP clients. Companies that have taken part in the program have reported increased sales, decreased costs, use of new technologies, new hires, and further investment in R&D activities. Due to its success, the funding allocated to the program has gradually increased. In Budget 2021, it received $6 million in funding from the federal government. As a result of this, the program has been able to run throughout the year without depleting its budget. The eligibility criteria for the program have since been expanded to increase participation of companies led by individuals from underrepresented groups. This includes women, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and visible minorities. This will allow the program to reach even more businesses across Canada. This is an essential step towards Tech-Access Canada’s vision of making TACs accessible to all Canadian entrepreneurs and businesses. On this, Tech-Access-Canada’s executive director, Ken Doyle, says, “We are proud to help create a better Canada by providing more inclusive innovation opportunities for members of underrepresented groups.” In the future, Tech-Access Canada plans to use data and insights generated from those who have previously participated in the Interactive Visits Program to encourage more government departments to provide funding by demonstrating the impact of helping businesses and how they grow as a result. Continuously surveying members to identify and understand things that need to be addressed in the future and creating programs to solve these issues, Tech-Access Canada is dedicated to its cause. It shares a collective goal with its TAC members, which is to help as many innovators as possible across Canada, and is constantly working towards it. As a result, it is clear to see why Tech-Access Canada has won Most Dedicated Tech Product R&D Organization 2023 in the Canadian business awards. Contact: Ken Doyle Company: Tech-Access Canada Web Address: Jan23286 Most Dedicated Tech Product R&D Organization 2023 Established in 2015, Tech-Access Canada is a non-profit organization representing a network of 60 Technology Access Centres (TACs). The organization is dedicated to expanding the network’s reach in order to make TACs accessible to as many entrepreneurs and innovators across Canada as possible. With an overall goal of helping businesses access essential equipment, facilities, and expert advice, Tech-Access Canada advocates for its 60 TAC members and aims to foster collaboration between TACs and innovators. Tech-Access Canada was established in 2015 to represent and support the developing network of Technology Access Centres (TACs) in Canada. TACs are specialized research and development (R&D) centres affiliated with public colleges and cégeps. They provide Canadian businesses with access to state-of-the-art technology and equipment as well as multi-disciplinary teams of experts who can turn innovative ideas into market-ready products. They support entrepreneurs and innovators in areas such as food innovation, agriculture, advanced manufacturing, bio-innovation, green chemistry, energy, aquaculture, metallurgy, geomatics, innovative vehicles, smart clothing, wearables, mobile applications, and more. Aiming to scale-up small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), create new jobs, and contribute towards regional economic growth, TACs play a huge role in Canada’s innovation ecosystem. With 60 TACs across Canada, the network collectively helps over 5,000 businesses annually, providing them with almost 4 million square feet of dedicated innovation and applied research space, $477 million worth of equipment and research facilities, and access to over 2,000 experienced industry experts. TACs also offer impressive learning opportunities to students and recent graduates, training them to use the latest technology and equipment and enabling them to work on applied research projects with industry partners. This highlights the positive impact TACs have on the education system and young people with the potential to become entrepreneurs in the future. Tech-Access Canada facilitates the growth and success of its TAC network members in various ways. For example, it connects innovators and entrepreneurs with TACs with suitable expertise to help develop and commercialize their unique product or solve their specific challenge. The organization also aims to advance applied research in Canada by fostering partnerships between TAC members and stakeholders in the industry and government, as well as in universities and associations. Furthermore, Tech-Access Canada delivers programs that enable TAC members to work with industry partners on R&D projects, as well as train new interns to innovate by providing them with experiential learning opportunities. As well as supporting the growth of its TAC members, Tech-Access Canada seeks feedback and aims to listen to their unique needs and challenges and adapt its services accordingly. For example, members highlighted a need for more funding to support initial engagements between small companies and TACs. In response, with support from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), Tech-Access Canada created the Interactive Visits Program. This program provides eligible SMEs, referred by their Industrial Technology Advisor, with up to 20 hours of access to specialized technical, business, or commercialization assistance from a TAC within the