Innovating? YEP funding can help

YEP, the Youth Employment Program, for new hires aged 15 to 30 years, is a federal program offered by the National Research Council Canada (NRC) with funding for recently graduated intern’s salaries. The YEP Program can support a new, technology-related (direct development or support) position in a technology-oriented company. Small and medium-sized enterprises will receive a financial contribution geared towards supporting a portion of the salary costs of up to two post-secondary graduates, who will work on technical opportunities with the small and medium-sized enterprise and on non-technical but technology related projects such as:

  • Research and Development
  • Multimedia
  • Development of new products and processes
  • Market analysis for a new technology-based product
  • Business development related to science and technology activities
  • Improvement of customer services
  • Engineering
  • Other related activities

The program is available to small and medium-sized enterprise’s (SME) with less than 500 employees looking for a financial contribution towards the salary of post-secondary graduates for 6 to 12 months in order to help companies’ research develop and commercialize new technologies. In order to qualify for this program, your firm must be growth oriented and the potential hires must be Canadian citizens, permanent residents, or persons who have been granted refugee status in Canada. Potential hires must be between 15 and 30 years of age (inclusive) who have graduated from a post-secondary institution in science, engineering, technology, business and/or liberal arts. The job that YEP supports requires that the employees be engaged in research and development and/or commercialization projects for your firm.

YEP is a national/federal program which provides shared costs up to $30,000 per year to support both wages and training for up to two new young employees involved in working on projects focused on products that are ready for prototyping, pre-commercialization and already commercialized products. As with most federal and provincial grants, your firm must be approved for the funding prior to hiring the new employees. Further, it is your responsibility to bear all costs involved in finding the appropriate candidates.

YEP is administered through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) which represents one of the “four pillars of NRC’s success”.  As explained in this years’ annual report:

NRC builds on its strengths by building strong relationships with clients and partners. These types of relationships are forged around NRC’s four business lines: strategic research and development; technical and advisory services; scientific infrastructure and NRC’s renowned Industrial Research and Development Program (IRAP).

Net cash provided by the Government of Canada for 2016 was over $800 million.

The IRAP concierge service is a single access point for SMEs which helps in supporting innovation and accelerating growth. IRAP also works with provincial governments to help your firm navigate the available innovation resource and support programs available to your firm in your geographic location. The IRAP concierge program will provide your firm with an IRAP Innovation Advisor.

IRAP Innovation Advisors, as explained by the NRC-IRAP, can provide your firm with high-quality referrals and searches that yield tailored information and relevant support in order to provide one-on-one assistance utilizing their wealth of industry experience and depth of knowledge to help guide your firm to the most appropriate innovation programs and services available. Innovation Advisors have extensive networks and expertise, as well as knowledge about a range of industrial sectors for clients to benefit from.

The entire service is intended to provide clients with simple, facilitated access to the most relevant information and services to reach their desired objectives and tap into their potential. In this authors’ experience, firms that form a relationship with IRAP often avail themselves of multiple funding program support, based on the success of previous support.

As with all government programs, funds are made available beginning April 1, and the funding budget ends every March 31 with no guarantee that future funds will be provided. As always with diminishing funds, the early bird gets the worm. So, now is the perfect time to begin preparing yourself for your introduction to IRAP. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, so, make sure you have a business plan including your anticipated project objectives, time frame, and resource requirements to reach your goal when you contact IRAP.


Elliot Schiller is a Director at Toronto’s Teeger Schiller Inc., a firm specializing in government funding and systems selection/implementation. His clients receive over $5 M annually to support ongoing business innovation. E-mail, visit or phone 1-888-816-0222 Ext. 102