The company’s devotion to market innovation has led to the creation of internationally accepted solutions, including Conners suite of ADHD assessments, the Level of Service suite of assessments, and the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0®). MHS’ tools are widely used as a benchmark for both critical decision-making processes in the corporate world and informing psychological diagnoses in the healthcare sector that impacts prescribed medication, therapy, or treatment programs for children and adults.

What’s their secret? By focusing on attracting talent with a focus on quality and innovation, MHS created a foundation for success. Consequently, it’s MHS’ dedication to market innovation and talent development that has made them such a prime candidate for approximately $572,000 in Canadian government funding.

We recently connected with Gill Sitarenios, Chief Scientist at MHS, to reflect on his experience with Canadian government grants and funding. Gill and his team partnered with Mentor Works on several Canadian business funding initiatives, including grants to support their innovation, hiring, and training.

MHS Secures Research Grants for Innovative Product Development

Much of MHS’ success can be traced to their novel approach to psychological assessments. By conceptualizing, internally developing, and continuously improving its programs, MHS has achieved ongoing success and worldwide recognition.

Each stage of MHS’ product lifecycle is eligible for funding. The Canadian federal government offers research grants to support research and development (R&D), from concept definition to commercialization to post-commercial improvements.

MHS started utilizing SR&ED tax credits as their gateway into Canadian government funding. The company then connected with Mentor Works to explore other small business grants for research activities.

“Mentor Works helped us to think about [funding] more strategically and not be reactive…”
-Gill Sitarenios, Chief Scientist, MHS Inc.

The initial Funding Discovery Session with Mentor Works helped to identify MHS’ strategic priorities, which Mentor Works then matched with funding opportunities to create a dedicated Proactive Funding Plan™. MHS initially leveraged two programs specific to their upcoming research projects:

1. NRC-IRAP Mid-Size Project: Research Grants for Product Development

Since IRAP Mid-Size research grants are used primarily to support internal product and process development, the program was used by MHS to help develop two new products. Mentor Works helped MHS navigate the IRAP process, Gill commenting that, “Mentor Works has always been extremely helpful in terms of assisting with the logistics of making the claims.”

Each business is assigned an NRC-IRAP Industrial Technology Advisor (ITA). These representatives are the business’ main point of contact and provide the necessary forms and guidance on the application and claims process. Gill mentioned that the IRAP ITA assigned to them was also helpful and great to work with. Some businesses utilize their IRAP ITA as a third-party advisor, in addition to being a conduit to funding for research and hiring.

MHS was awarded up to $236,519 in NRC-IRAP grants to create cutting edge programming that has helped them remain at the forefront of the psychological assessment market. Mentor Works walked them through each step of the IRAP funding process: getting in touch with their IRAP ITA, determining which IRAP program was most suitable for them, preparing the funding proposal, and post-approval reporting advice.

“You can read the docs all you want, there’s something to be said about people that have done these claims in the past. Especially the first time.”
-Gill Sitarenios, Chief Scientist, MHS Inc.

2. Mitacs: Business Grants for Post-Secondary Research Collaborations

The other business funding program that MHS tapped into specific to their research projects was through Mitacs. Mitacs is a federally-funded organization that promotes and supports R&D partnerships between post-secondary institutions and businesses with the goal of fostering innovation.

“Mentor Works has always been extremely helpful in terms of assisting with the logistics of making the claims.”
-Gill Sitarenios, Chief Scientist, MHS Inc.

After being introduced by Mentor Works, MHS has partnered with Mitacs multiple times through their Mitacs Accelerate program. This program provides up to $7,500 towards a hybrid research internship. MHS integrated Mitacs Accelerate into their program development activities by hiring multiple Masters students to work 50% of their time at MHS and the other 50% on campus utilizing university resources.

“Mitacs has been unilaterally positive.”
-Gill Sitarenios, Chief Scientist, MHS Inc.

This has allowed MHS to establish a connection with McMaster University’s Autism Program to develop several related assessments. Gill reflected that MHS is “always has more projects that can be done than available resources. Mitacs offered resources to assist in keeping those projects moving along. That has been very helpful from the perspective of adding resources to projects.”

MHS integrates Hiring Grants & Training Funding into Human Resource Activities

Since partnering with Mentor Works in 2013, MHS has successfully received hiring grants for 13 new employees for a total of nearly $237,000. Wage subsidies are typically announced each spring, supporting up to 50% of the salary of new post-secondary graduates as they join Canadian business’ payroll for the first 4-12 months.

Interested in hiring grants? See if your upcoming position qualifies: Hiring Grants Finder Tool

It’s important to be proactive with hiring grants, as funding can only be awarded to positions that are not yet filled. If the new employee is on payroll prior to the business’ funding proposal being accepted by the funding agency, they are no longer an eligible candidate. Hiring grants are only for new employees not yet on payroll.

“[Mentor Works] is really knowledgeable and helpful, especially when we’re starting a new type of funding claim.”
-Gill Sitarenios, Chief Scientist, MHS Inc.

MHS has also been successful with obtaining over $98,000 training grants to develop their workforce. The Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) remains one of the most popular small business grants and can be used to subsidize a wide range of third party training initiatives. Because businesses can apply as often as every six month, MHS has been able to receive up to 66% of their third-party training costs back from the government as training grants three times, with plans to use the program again for training in 2017 and beyond.

Create Your Own Proactive Funding Plan™

MHS has had such success with Canadian government funding because they approached it with a plan. By taking a proactive approach to funding, MHS can integrate funding into their strategic priorities and prepare a timely funding proposal that adheres to the relevant program’s objectives. Mentor Works has created the Proactive Funding Approach™ to allow Canadian small businesses to have similar success with funding. Interested? Download our free How to Build a Proactive Funding Plan™ Guide to learn how to build your plan.

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This post originally appeared on Mentor Works. Mentor Works helps established for-profit companies find and leverage Canadian business grants and loans.