*Please note: The information on this page is out of date. The ISI Program is currently managed by Innovate BC. For more information, click here

Thinking about applying for an ISI Grant? Or has your ISI Grant been approved? Get all the answers to your burning questions and more (than you probably ever wanted to know) by reading these program FAQs.

    • Know before you apply

      What counts as tech?

      Our definition of tech is broad – anything from app development to web design to life sciences and more. Even craft breweries count! (It’s biotech.) If you are a business applying with a tech role, the role must use or create tech.

      For example, a tech role could run social media accounts, use AutoCad or design UX | UA interfaces.

      Can I hire a co-op student?

      No. Co-op students (students hired through a university co-op office) are not eligible for the ISI grant. Other government funding is available for co-op students like Innovate BC’s Tech Co-op grant program.

      That said, co-ops at private post-secondary institutions, internships, and work placement positions are eligible.

    • How many grants is my company allowed per year?

      Companies are allowed to receive two grants per program year. The program year runs May 1 – April 30.

      How long is a work term? Does it have to start and finish on certain dates?

      Work terms can run no longer than 5 months. A work term has no minimum length, but the student must make at least $2000, so we can pay out our min amount of $1000. A work term can begin and end on any date.

      Is there a deadline to submit?

      There is no deadline! If your application is for a retroactive grant  we can’t approve anything more than 12 months in the past. Please note we are no longer accepting applications for work terms starting before May 1, 2020.

      How long will the application take to be approved?

      Applications take 2-4 weeks to be reviewed and fully approved.

      Can I use grant funding on the same student for two terms?

      Yes, students are allowed to receive two vouchers per program year. So you can hire the same student for two terms.

      Can I hire two students at a time and receive funding for both?

      Yes you can. It would count as two grants and requires two separate applications.

      If I am hiring two students for one term or the same student for two terms, how many applications do I need to make?

      Each student/grant needs its own separate application–so in both cases, that would be two applications.

      If I am hiring the same student again, do I need to fill out a new application? 

      Yes, you do. You can email us and we will happily provide a copy of your earlier application for reference to help you fill out a new one.

      Can I hire a student from a private school?

      Yes, however you should check to see that the school is accredited before applying.

      What if the student is a recent graduate and not a current BC student, are they still eligible?

      No, we don’t take recent grads. The student must be currently enrolled in a BC post-secondary institution.

      Can a student who is accepted to a post-secondary school, but has not started, be eligible?

      Yes, just as long as they can show their acceptance letter.

      What if the student is from BC, but is attending a post-secondary institution outside of BC, are they eligible?

      No, only students attending BC post-secondary institutions are eligible.

      Does New Ventures BC match companies and students?

      No, it is the company’s responsibility to find their own student. If you need tips on how to find a student see our blog post.

      Do students need to be working with the companies by the start of the term?

      No, they don’t. While we have term dates in the portal, the start and end date that choose can be flexible and go outside of the term.

      Are international students eligible?

      Yes, international students are eligible if they are currently enrolled at an accredited post-secondary institution in BC and will be working in BC.

      Can the student employee be a family member?

      Grants cannot be used to hire immediate family members of the senior management team, ie. brother, sister, daughter, son, mother or father. You also cannot hire yourself, if you’re the CEO.

      How does the cash and in-kind match work?

      Don’t worry, our application system auto-calculates it for you! It’s basically 50/50 – if you pay the student $10,000, we’d provide $5000. If you pay $3,000, we’d provide $1,500 and so on.

      You can offset a bit of the student cost if you provide in kind training, mentorship or courses, etc. to your student.

      How does in-kind work?

      Companies can provide membership fees, travel, mentorship from executives, training, office space/software/equipment and accommodation as in-kind contributions. At the end of the term, you can detail these costs with receipts (mentorship/training exempt) in your work report and will receive a bit more grant back. In-kind has no cash value, but can help offset the student salary for companies.

      If a student is hired on a contract, rather than as an employee, is the placement still eligible for a grant?

      Yes, contract work is okay. Any type of employment that meets legal standards and is compliant with the BC Employment Standards Act is acceptable for grant funding. The student just needs to be paid directly by the company (no subcontracting).

      Can the ISI Grant be stacked with other funding?

      Yes, other sources of funding can be used as the cash match, so long as the total amount of grants does not exceed the student’s salary, and the funding received is allocated towards the student’s salary. You can check out some stackable funding options here: https://www.innovatebc.ca/programs/hiring-grants/innovator-skills-initiative/

      What is Market Validation Training?

      Students who are ISI grant recipients must complete Modules 1 and 2 of the Market Validation Training. The online MVT reviews the concepts of entrepreneurship. They do not need to complete the worksheets. Returning students to the ISI program, who have already completed the MVT modules do not need to complete them again.

      I am working on my application

      What does the status of my grant mean?

                      • Draft Company – company is working on application.
                      • Draft Student – student is working on the application.
                      • Submitted – student has completed their part of the application.
                      • Review Stage 1 – NVBC has received your grant and is reviewing it.
                      • Review Stage 2 – Your grant has been submitted to Innovate BC for final approval
                      • Waitlist- the grant application is pending dependent on further funding. You will be kept up-to-date on the status of your waitlisted grant via email.
                      • Pending Grant Agreement – Your grant has been approved by Innovate BC. Now it is time for you and your student to log into the portal and accept the grant agreement.
                      • Approved – You and your student have accepted the grant agreement.
                      • Completed – You and your student have submitted your work reports and funds were issued.

      Help, my student is unable to fill out the application…

      Check to see that there are no typos in the student’s email address and that the student is using the same email address that you sent it to—sometimes they log in with a personal account rather than a company one.

      Also, get them to check their spam folder. If you still have difficulty, email us.

      How can I tell that my student has completed the application?

      Once the student has finished the application the application will move from draft student to submitted/review stage 1.

      What details do you need to provide in the job description?

      Below is a great example of the level of detail we expect to see in the job description:

      Student Job Title: Business Development Associate

      a) Student’s Job Description
      – Develop and execute business development plans.
      – Monitor, control and manage business operations to meet customer expectations and company goals.
      – Coordinate and manage project tasks to ensure project deliveries are within allotted budget and timelines.
      – Ensure compliance with company standards and procedures.
      – Build and maintain strong customer relationship through regular meetings, attending networking events and communications.
      – Use Salesforce to develop business leads.
      – Prepare and give business reviews to senior management regarding progress and roadblocks to closing new customers.
      – Contribute to develop long-term partnerships in support of overall business strategy.
      – Assist with marketing initiatives.
      – Analyze market trends and provide solutions.

      What are entrepreneurial skills?

      These skills are not technical skills, they are what a student might learn if they were building their own startup.  It’s part of the requirements of the program to expose the student to entrepreneurial thinking and training. For example, a tech startup entrepreneur might learn skills like problem solving, financial management, customer discovery or market sizing.

      What are considered training hours?

      Training hours are time spent directly educating your student on how to perform the duties of their role and develop entrepreneurial skills. Typically a company trains their student anywhere from 1-10+ hours a week.

      My application has been approved, now what?

      First things first: You and your student need to log into the portal and accept the grant agreement.

      The grant agreement can be found under “requires attention” on the main screen of the portal. If you can’t see it, just scroll down a bit when you log in.

      How and when do I get reimbursed?

      Reimbursement happens at the end of the approved term. Please do not complete the payment form until the student has been fully paid.

      A quick checklist:

          1. Your student and you have filled in our survey (called a “report” in the portal).
          2. You’ve filled out your payment form and have uploaded paystubs.
          3. Your student completed modules 1 and 2 of online market validation training.

      After this checklist is complete payment takes 2-6 weeks to be received. Cheques take longer to process than an EFT.

      I am a student, what do I need to do?

      Once your grant has been approved you need to log into the portal and accept the grant agreement, this can be found under “requires attention”.  By the end of the term you have to complete the final survey and read through modules 1 and 2 of the online Market Validation Training. You do not have to complete the worksheets.

    • What is a valid proof of enrolment?

      An official transcript or a screenshot that shows your name, classes and your school’s name.

      Help, I can’t fill out the application…

      If you are unable to fill out your application email hireastudent@newventuresbc.com. We will help you troubleshoot.


      Can my student work remotely?

      Yes, just as long as the work is taking place in BC.

      Due to COVID-19 my student started later than expected. Can I extend or shorten my work term?

      Work terms can be adjusted after applying just as long as the the term does not run longer than 5 months and the student makes at least $2000.

      I can’t pay my student’s full salary because of COVID-19. Can an exception be made?

      Unfortunately, no. We will only reimburse 50%, or slightly more if you’re matching in kind, up to $5000 at the end of the term. However, you can stack with other grants for more funding! Check out our list.

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