BioConnect is a Toronto-based market leader in enterprise-level biometric hardware and software solutions. Founded in 2009, they were an early innovator in the biometrics space, which continues to grow rapidly as it becomes well-integrated into consumer-based products like smartphones. BioConnect’s innovative systems enable users to verify their identity using multiple biometrics such as voice, eye, face, and fingerprint verification. Businesses that leverage the BioConnect platform can identify and authenticate their personnel with extraordinary accuracy and convenience.
As an innovative technology-driven firm, BioConnect is focused on growth and customer acquisition. Since being founded, its skilled management team has devoted significant time and financial resources to product innovation, hiring, training, and export market development projects. These strategic projects have led to considerable growth, and have also helped BioConnect to reach the 2017 Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) Top 20 innovative companies list.
One of the strategies BioConnect uses to fuel its growth is accessing Canadian government funding. In 2014, they began working with Mentor Works Ltd., a management consulting firm, to develop and implement a government funding plan tailored to their upcoming strategic projects. To date, BioConnect has leveraged millions of dollars in government funding and will continue to use this strategy to access growth capital.
BioConnect Grows through Implementation of Strategic Projects
Despite growing competition in the biometrics industry, BioConnect continues outgrowing and outperforming its rivals. Investing in research and development, hiring and training, and export expansion projects have helped accelerate company growth and will support ongoing success.
To accomplish this fast growth, BioConnect started tapping into Canadian government funding programs as an alternative source of capital. BioConnect chose to partner with Mentor Works for their funding project to help identify, qualify, and apply for funding. Through a professional referral, BioConnect found Mentor Works Ltd. and started developing a dynamic government funding plan.
“What sets Mentor Works apart is their strategic counsel. The sources of public funding for Ontario-based companies are numerous. However, that can be a double-edged sword where a tremendous amount of internal resource can be tied up on an application that potentially proves unsuccessful.”
– Jeff Crews, President of BioConnect
Grants and loans are ideal for forward-thinking companies such as BioConnect who can strategically plan growth projects and match them with available funding programs. Some of the project areas BioConnect has been able to use government funding for include:
Research and Development
To develop the BioConnect platform, continuous research and development is needed. Each year, the company improves its platform for customers, including streamlining its user interface, improving integrations with existing biometric equipment, and building more troubleshooting/support options when users cannot verify themselves properly.
BioConnect has successfully used many research and development funding programs to reduce the cost of product development. Some of these include the IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) and IRAP Mid-Size Projects programs, which offer funding to offset up to 50%-80% of project-related labour costs. BioConnect has also recently applied for the new Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), a federal government grant that fuels company expansion and R&D of products, processes, and services.
Hiring and Training
As BioConnect grows, the requirements of its team significantly increase. To manage this, new employees are hired at a fast pace and many members of the organization receive training to ensure they can continue innovating and providing exceptional customer service. As result, BioConnect continues to quickly expand its customer base, both domestically and internationally.
Hiring grants and wage subsidy programs are an excellent way for technology firms to first get started with government funding. With many of these programs, businesses may receive up to 50% of a current student or recent post-secondary graduate’s salary for a period of 4-12 months. In 2015, much of BioConnect’s hiring was done using post-secondary hiring grants. This helped them save over $100k in payroll costs.
BioConnect have also been supported through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) which provides funding to reduce the cost of third-party training programs. Through the program, up to 66% of eligible costs can be offset to a maximum $10,000 per trainee. BioConnect has used multiple training grants to provide marketing and sales training to employees; this is leading to a more robust sales funnel.
To compete effectively against international competition, BioConnect needs to continuously explore new foreign markets. One of the most effective ways the company has done this is through participating in foreign trade shows. Each year, BioConnect attends top American trade shows to further capitalize on the growing U.S. biometrics market.
Export Market Access (EMA) is one business expansion funding program that companies can use to offset a portion of common trade show fees. It provides up to 50% of eligible project costs up to a maximum $30,000 in Ontario government grants. BioConnect uses the program annually to offset market development costs such as boot rental, airfare and accommodation, and marketing material development.
BioConnect’s Commitment to Government Funding
Government funding has accelerated the development process for BioConnect. After several years of successful applications, the company is now an advocate for their use. Government funding has led to many benefits, including improvements to projects’ scope, scale and timelines.
“BioConnect has been successful on numerous public support opportunities since 2014. It’s been a material catalyst to our growth”.
– Jeff Crews, President of BioConnect
BioConnect also recognizes the value of ongoing government funding support services. Partnering with Mentor Works has meant that BioConnect’s leadership team can focus on their business and be notified when changes in government funding (such as program launches and application deadlines) happen. This means BioConnect can optimize their funding process and apply for government grants whenever possible.
“The Mentor Works team are true professionals. They are proactive during their communications on particular projects and are continuously keeping us informed on upcoming opportunities.”
– Jeff Crews, President of BioConnect
Discover Canadian Government Funding for Tech Company Growth
Ontario technology companies have a substantial opportunity when it comes to accessing government funding. Business grants and loans can offset the costs of capital and technology adoption, research and development, hiring and training, and business expansion projects.
To learn more about government funding, business leaders should register for an upcoming small business funding event or download government funding educational resources.
Author Bio: Mentor Works Ltd.
Mentor Works Ltd. is a management consulting organization that helps companies optimize the process of receiving Canadian government funding. Since 2008, they have helped thousands of businesses, including hundreds in the technology space, to build and execute a funding strategy with government grants, loans, and tax credits.