Western Economic Diversification Canada
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Innovation

What is Innovation?

Innovation is the process of transforming knowledge into new products, processes and services which, in turn, generate new economic benefits. For this process to succeed, a complete system must be available that supports the movement of a new idea from initial concept, through research and development, to a ready-for-market product. A highly developed innovation system, or "cluster", is focused on a specific area of strength and includes:

  • Universities, research facilities, industry, government labs, and other "knowledge infrastructure" that develop new technologies and a skilled workforce,
  • Early stage venture capital financing to help bring technologies to markets,
  • Industry associations and other organizations that link the players in the innovation system,
  • Firms capable of developing and adopting new technologies, and that are connected to local and global markets, and
  • A business environment that fosters innovation.

What's the WD Connection?

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) supports the creation and growth of knowledge-based clusters in new economy sectors that contribute to an increase in knowledge-driven and value-added economic activities. In partnership with other levels of government and other partners, we make strategic investments to:

  • Commercialize innovative, technology-based products, processes and services;
  • Stimulate greater private sector investments in commercialization activities;
  • Increase the number of jobs for highly qualified personnel (HQP) in Canada;
  • Enable company growth; and,
  • Strengthen western Canada’s innovation ecosystem.

What funding is available?

WD delivers programs that are helping to strengthen the Western Canadian innovation system:

  • The Western Diversification Program (WDP) is the main program through which WD makes strategic investments in initiatives that enhance and strengthen the economy of Western Canada. Funding is available to not-for-profit organizations (e.g., universities and other post-secondary institutions, research institutes, industry associations, Indigenous organizations) for projects that support innovation, business development  and/or community economic growth.
  • Western Innovation Initiative (WINN) is a $100 million five-year federal Initiative that offers repayable contributions for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with operations in Western Canada to move their new and innovative technologies from the later stages of research and development to the marketplace.