Ontario Launches Challenge to Support Innovation and Growth for Business

Partnering With Businesses to Provide Innovative Government Services

Ontario Launches Challenge to Support Innovation and Growth for Business

March 1, 2017 9:21 A.M.

Ontario is inviting small- and medium-sized businesses to develop, test and demonstrate innovative solutions to challenges that will enhance government programs and services across the province.

Through the Small Business Innovation Challenge, Ontario is seeking innovative technological solutions for two challenges:

  • Allowing people to prove who they are when they interact with government, such as applying for social assistance or OSAP via a common, secure, and user-friendly method, so people can easily and privately connect to a wide range of government programs and services on any device at any time
  • Developing an automated way to detect how many people are in vehicles using high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes to ensure that vehicles with more than one occupant are not mistakenly billed or fined

Eligible businesses can apply by contacting the Ontario Centres of Excellence. Selected companies will be provided with funding to take an innovative idea and develop a working prototype. Through real-world testing, these companies will be better positioned to market their innovations globally and enhance the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy.

Helping businesses innovate while improving government services is part of Ontario’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


” Governments need the transformative technology and innovation that start-ups can provide. This challenge is a great way to encourage businesses here in Ontario to develop solutions that can help us better serve Ontarians, while testing ideas they can ultimately export to the global market.”
– Brad Duguid
Minister of Economic Growth and Development

” Supporting innovative Ontario-based companies and helping people in their everyday lives is truly a win-win proposition. The companies that compete in this challenge have an opportunity to use it as a launch pad for global opportunities while also strengthening Ontario’s position as a global leader in innovation.”  – Reza Moridi
Minister of Research, Innovation and Science

” Small- and medium-sized businesses already account for a significant percentage of Ontario’s GDP, and we want to see that continue. That is why our government is taking steps like the Small Business Innovation Challenge to foster a more innovative and dynamic business environment to enhance conditions for Ontario’s entrepreneurs and grow the economy.”- Jeff Leal,  Minister Responsible for Small Business


  • Ontario is investing $28.8 million for the Small Business Innovation Challenge, which is part of Ontario’s five-year, $400-million Business Growth Initiative that is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale-up and modernizing regulations for businesses.
  • Companies must be located in Ontario and have fewer than 500 employees to participate in the Small Business Innovation Challenge.
  • The Small Business Innovation Challenge is delivered by the Ontario Centres of Excellence.
  • The Government of Ontario purchases $6 billion in goods, services and construction each year from more than 55,000 vendors, most of which are Ontario-based small- and medium-sized businesses.