Program Guidelines

The Proof of Concept Program is designed to help establish the commercial feasibility of innovative natural products and technologies in order to attract and de-risk subsequent investment.

The program is open to Canadian research institutes, start-up companies, and SMEs. Applicants can receive up to 50% of the cost of the proof of concept plan to a maximum of $100,000 during the Program Period (not to exceed 12 months). The applicant will be required to contribute 50% of the cost over the Program Period.

The program does not support basic research or preliminary product/technology development. It is intended to demonstrate commercial potential via preliminary animal, field, demonstration or human trials.

For research institutes, the program is conditionally repayable and is intended to move a product or technology from intellectual property disclosure to near term spin-out and/or licensing opportunities.

For start-ups and SMEs, the program is repayable and is intended to demonstrate commercial feasibility of products and technologies.

Applicant Eligibility Requirements

  • Canadian SME, start-up or research institute
  • The applicant has an innovative natural product or technology
  • Start-ups and SMEs must have the potential to achieve $10M- $15M in annual revenue within a reasonable period for the market or sector
  • Products or technologies being developed within research institutes must address an industry/sector challenge that has a significant market potential
  • Member of Canada’s Natural Product Innovation Cluster.

Financing and Reporting

  • An advance of 50% of the NPC contribution will be made upon receipt of the fully executed contract between NPC and the organization. A progress report and financial claim are required at the midpoint of the agreed upon project or activities. NPC will release the remaining portion of its contribution upon receipt of the final report and financial claim. Invoices and proof of payment must be provided with the financial claims.
  • An annual follow up report will be required for three years after the Program Period to comply with NPC’s funding agreement with the Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research (CECR).

Application Process

  • Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis (application form follows below).
  • Applications will be reviewed by a committee comprised of NPC staff, Board members and an external industry expert.
  • Applications will be evaluated on the overall eligibility for the program; novelty of the natural product or technology; strength of the business model/commercialization strategy; market opportunity; competitors; growth potential; and the key activities and milestones of the proof of concept trial.
  • Applicants will be notified once the application has been reviewed. Successful applicants must enter into a contract with NPC, which contains reporting requirements, mutually agreed upon key deliverables or milestones to be achieved, and repayment terms.

Repayment Conditions

  • The NPC contribution is conditionally repayable for research institutes upon the successful licensing of the product or technology. Repayment of NPC’s contribution will be based on a percentage of revenues associated with licensing agreement(s) of the product or technology to an amount 1.5X the original investment.
  • The NPC contribution is repayable for start-ups and SMEs. The repayment of NPC’s contribution will be based on a percentage of gross revenues to an amount 1.5X NPC’s contribution.


  • All applications will be treated as confidential information. The applications will only be seen by those directly involved evaluation of the applications.
  • For more information, contact Kim Johnstone at or 902-213-0539.

Application Form

You do not need to fill out this form in one sitting – if you require more time to gather information, there is a link at the bottom of the form labelled “Save And Continue Later”. This will save the information to our server without submitting the form and provide you with a link to continue at a later date.