BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative Grant | ICS

Program Scope | Innovation Central Society

The Innovator Skills Initiative (ISI) Grant delivers skills, training and practical experience to post-secondary students across the province. This initiative focuses on the person or innovator, engaging them in a work experience opportunity to develop hands-on business skills and technical training while exploring career opportunities in BC. Students gain practical industry experience and the opportunity to showcase their skills and talent to potential employers.

The ISI Grant is funded by BC Innovation Council (BCIC). The students are paid for their time working with the company, through the BCIC ISI voucher valued from $2500 - $7500, depending on the company's ability to match the voucher in-kind or in-cash, project type and length, and industry norms. 


Interested companies and post-secondary students will apply for the ISI through ICS.




Eligibility | Innovation Central Society

The Company:

  • Be based in north central BC and working with ICS
  • Projects must be related to technical or business skills development and cannot be general admin duties
  • The participating company must provide adequate training, matching contribution (in cash or in kind) and project to student
  • Project length should be 3-4 months
  • Eligible for up to two (2) bursaries per year (once in summer & once in fall)


The Student:

  • Must be a Post-Secondary student registered and currently enrolled at a BC Post Secondary Institution (PSI)
  • Must work for the participating company for at least 25 hours per week during the 3-4 month project
  • Is required to complete the Virtual Market Validation Training Program offered through New Ventures BC
  • Is eligible for two vouchers per year
  • Cannot be a COOP student at the same time they are receiving the ISI Bursary


Approved Use of Grant / Bursary | Innovation Central Society

  • The Grant may only be used to pay for work undertaken in the province of British Columbia. Any portion of a Project undertaken outside of British Columbia is not eligible under the Program.
  • Grant cannot be used to pay for services already funded through other municipal, provincial or federal government grant programs
  • The Grant is non-transferable and may be used only for the Student identified in the contract. In the event that a Student becomes unavailable to carry-out an approved project, a revised Application Form with a new Student may be resubmitted for reconsideration
  • Grants cannot be transferred to another company
  • Grants may only be used to pay for work as outlined in the written agreement in the application between the student and the company
  • Grant funding and in-cash contributions paid by the company must be paid through a salary, CRA deductions are permitted and the responsibility of the employer. 



Application Process | Innovation Central Society

To begin the application process, review the eligibility and approved use of grant criteria above, and if your project meets the criteria, please contact Innovation Central Society in either an email or phone call to explain your project so that we can expedite the process.



Reporting | Innovation Central Society

The participating company and the student must provide a report detailing the outcomes of the project after the conclusion of the project

  • The participating company and the student must participate in program evaluations undertaken by ICS or its partner WaveFront, both during and after completion of the ISI program



Measures of Success for the Program | Innovation Central Society

  • # of companies/students matched
  • # of students hired by company after program completion (or that company plans to hire upon student’s graduation)
  • Student satisfaction re industry experience, professional development and training received and in making them more job ready
  • Company satisfaction re: help received from student and ability to move company forward as a result of project conducted by student




1. How can companies access funding to employ a post-secondary student?

BC based companies within the north central BC are eligible to apply. Companies must have a project or role in mind that will develop the technical or business skill acumen of a post-secondary student. The grant provided via ICS must be matched with a company contribution (cash or in kind) up to $7500 and provided without deduction to the student.

2. What is an ‘in kind’ contribution?

Examples of in-kind contributions would be, but are not limited to, training, shares in company, apprenticeship opportunities, regular staff-time.

3. How can companies benefit from the Innovator Skills Initiative?

Companies that successfully receiving admission into the ISI program will have access to students from across the province with fresh skills and training in technology and business. These companies will receive a subsidy to engage students to assist in a business development projects and have the opportunity to have a fresh opinion, or additional resource, on a project.

4. How do students apply?

Post-secondary students registered at a public or private BC post-secondary institution (PSI) are eligible to apply. The PSI must be accredited under the governing bodies of BC. Proof of enrolment i.e. a copy of student card or official documentation from the PSI is required. If you are in doubt about the PSI or the student’s registration please refer back to ICS.

5. How would students benefit from the Innovator Skills Initiative?

Students that successfully receive admission into the ISI program will gain hands on training and work experience through a 3-4 month work placement. This training will provide the student with technical and business skill development while exploring career opportunities in BC. It will also allow the student to acquire industry experience while showcasing skills and talent to potential employers. The grant is to be matched with a company contribution (cash or in-kind).

6. Does the student have to be an employee of the company and therefore the company paying Mandatory Employment Related Costs (MERCS)/government deductions, or is this some form of bonus award that the 'student volunteer' receives?

The program is intended to provide a stipend to the student during their work experience. The student will receive the full grant without deductions.



7. Is it possible to use/hire a student from a private post-secondary? 


Yes, as long as the post-secondary institution is accredited under the governing bodies of BC. If you are in doubt, please check with BCIC for confirmation. 


8. Does the student have to be returning to school? 


The student has to be registered and currently enrolled at a BC post-secondary institution. 


9. Is there an agreement template that describes the company and student commitment to the program and to ICS? 


Yes, this is called the Student-Company Agreement, and is available upon request from either ICS or BCIC. 


10. What is the Virtual Market Validation Training? 


ICS will register students in the mandatory training that helps ventures accelerate their growth through Market Validation. This training will be provided free, as part of the