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B.C. Government Investing $15,000,000 in Additional Funding to Innovator Skills Initiative!

If you're not aware, the Innovator Skills Initiative is an exciting and engaging new opportunity for under-represented communities in the technology sector. While the ISI has been operating for some time now, this additional funding will allow the program to reach new heights! The total funding for the ISI program is now $29 million, with up to 3,000 awards of up to $10,000 each.

There have also been changes in the program parameters and eligibility guides:

  • Grants - have been increased from $5,000 to $10,000 per employee.

  • Employers - can receive as many as 10 Innovator Skills Initiative program grants for 10 different employees per year, up from 2.

  • Employers - are encouraged to hire an individual for a minimum four-month period with the intent of offering a permanent position if the individual’s quality of work and suitability are a match, and if the employee is interested. Historically, the program provided grants to businesses to only hire students. Under the changes, businesses can use the program to hire people who already have credentials and for ongoing employment.

  • The program supports businesses to hire students for paid co-op roles, as well as those who have recent industry-recognized certifications, micro-credential training or post-secondary experience to gain specific skills, such as digital marketing, web design and e-commerce. Previously, only students enrolled in a post-secondary institution were eligible for the Innovator Skills Initiative program.

  • The Mitacs program will support businesses looking for talent to solve their innovation challenges, while providing internships for students.

Eligibility criteria for candidates include:

  • Must be eligible to work in B.C., including international students.

  • Be enrolled at an accredited post-secondary institute in B.C. or have already completed recognized training or have graduated.

  • Co-op students and internships are eligible.

  • Preference is given to candidates who self-identify as part of an under-represented group, such as Indigenous, Black, people of colour, women, people living with a visible or invisible disability, 2SLGBTQ+, neurodiverse (e.g., autistic), youth from care and others.

  • Applicants who feel they are part of an under-represented community not included in this list are able to self-identify as under-represented.

Eligibility criteria for businesses:

  • Employers must be one of the following:

    • A technology business or technology non-profit operating in B.C. and hiring for a business or technology role

    • A non-technology business or non-technology non-profit operating in B.C. hiring for a technology role

    • A B.C.-based post-secondary or local-regional authority hiring for a technology role

  • The employer must offer a high-quality, paid work experience that will prepare the person for long-term employment within their company or for another job at a different company.

  • Preference is given to employers who hire people who self-identify as part of an under-represented group, such as Indigenous, Black, people of colour, women, 2SLGBTQ+, people living with a visible or invisible disability, neurodiverse (e.g., autistic), youth from care and others.

  • Program grants are available to B.C. businesses of all sizes.

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