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A Quick Guide to IRAP

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In our blog series on funding, we look at different ways startups can get funds to boost their projects. The funds are related to technology and advancement to get tech startups off the ground. In our last blog entry, we shared with you about Scientific Research and Development (SR&ED) as one of the incentive providers in technological innovation startups. In today’s blog, we will walk you through another well-known government department that gives grants for technology startups, the IRAP. 

What is IRAP?

The Industrial Research Assistance Program of the National Research Council (NRC-IRAP) is one of Canada’s programs aimed only at small and medium-sized businesses. Small and medium enterprises in Canada can use the program to develop their innovative capability and launch their products. This program stands through financial assistance, advisory services, and connections with the best Canadian business and research talents. This model has contributed significantly to the growth of Canadian business for over 70 years.

The IRAP program helps create new products and services by financing the salaries and contractors of your employees. The funding that your company receives is project-based and not used to fund operations as a whole. 

Your project must have a clear objective, metrics for success, and end date if you are devising a new product for a company or commercializing a scientific discovery.

Its Mission

The mission of IRAP is to stimulate wealth creation for Canada through innovation. In addition, they provide funding and innovation services to help small and medium-sized businesses grow by transforming their ideas into commercial success. 

The program helps small and medium-sized businesses in Canada develop and commercialize technologies. This program collaborates with regional and national organizations on initiatives that support the development and commercialization of technologies by small and medium-sized businesses.

IRAP’s Project Types

  1. IRAP applies to various project types that include IRAP R&D / Technology Development Projects. Projects that showcase novel ideas, involve technical risks, have some level of market validation, and have the potential to be beneficial to Canada, are eligible to receive up to 80% of employer-paid salaries and up to 50% of contractor fees. A company that receives funding is required to cover the remaining 20% income and 50% of contractor fees. The amount of funding that this program may grant can go up to a maximum of $10 million. 
  2. Another project type is IRAP-ARP (Accelerated Review Project). The ARP process of IRAP provides funding on Research projects with a smaller scope like feasibility and prototype development. A grantee may receive 80% of base salaries and up to 50% of contractor fees. The maximum project funding is $50,000.
  3. The third type of project is the Youth Employment Program (YEP). The IRAP Young Entrepreneur Program is available to small and medium-sized businesses by hiring recent college graduates. Those graduating from Science, Engineering, Technology, Business, and Liberal Arts must work for six to twelve months in a field related to their degree. First-time YEP participants aged 15 to 30 can receive grants of up to $30,000 to work in a company for an entire year.
  4. The fourth type of application is the IRAP International Collaboration. NRC-IRAP partners with Global Affairs Canada and national organizations worldwide to support small and medium-sized companies with R&D partnerships.

What are the Steps to Claiming IRAP Funds?

Step 1: Do you Qualify for the IRAP?

To qualify, your company should:

I. Be a profit-oriented, Canadian-incorporated small or medium-sized business

II. Employ 500 or fewer full-time workers

III. Plan to develop and commercialize new, technology-driven products, services, or processes in Canada to achieve growth and profit

Step 2: If you are qualified, you will…speak with an IRAP advisor

In addition to 140 offices across Canada, the IRAP has a field staff of more than 250 and tailors services to the needs of local industries and connects companies with partners, resources, and funding. Industry Technology Advisors (ITAs) at IRAP typically hold a degree in Engineering or Science and have worked in the private sector for more than a decade. A successful IRAP application includes a stable project plan, excellent business, and technical advice, and an IRAP expert to help you write and submit your proposal. 

Step3: Your project shall undergo…review, clarifications, and proposal for the IRAP

ITAs can help you improve your chances of success if you are transparent about the strengths and weaknesses of your projects. You need to ensure that all of the information is accurate and you submit your proposals at the time agreed upon when you receive the template for the formal proposal. IRAP may need further data and clarifications, so present the most accurate and complete information to prevent delays.

Step 4:Project Execution, Reporting

The next step is to execute and report on your project once your proposal gets approved. Keep in contact, and let your ITA know if you have questions, difficulties, or need additional support. As always, your accounting and legal teams must provide accurate and timely information. An IRAP contribution is a well-known government contribution for a good reason: it provides funding and technical advice for entrepreneurs and innovators when they need it. There is no company too small to receive IRAP assistance.

How can NuBinary help? 

The team at NuBinary is ready to help you understand the qualifications of IRAP and determine if you are qualified for the grant. Our team will also assist you in learning about the steps on how to apply for IRAP. 

Get in touch with NuBinary by visiting