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

Can companies apply for exceptions due to COVID-19?

Yes, they can. Please email us about your situation. We can provide exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

Are non tech companies eligible?

Yes, they are now! As of this year, non tech companies and non-profits without a tech focus can apply for grants, so long as they’re hiring for tech roles.

What counts as tech company

Our definition of tech is brand – anything from app development to web design to life sciences and more. Even craft breweries count! (It’s biotech.)

Tech companies can hire for tech OR business roles.

What is a “tech role”

Non-tech companies are now eligible to hire a student for a tech role and receive ISI Grant funding. A “tech role” predominately uses tech to complete work. Examples of tech role include:  Developer, Lab Technician, Graphic Designer, Digital Marketing, Social Media roles.

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.

Is there a deadline to submit?

There is no deadline! If your application is for a retroactive grant though we can’t approve anything more than 12 months in the past.

How long will the application take to be approved?

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

When will I get paid and how does that work?

At the end of the term. You must make sure that you and your student:

  1. Agree to the grant agreement in the portal (checkbox)
  2. Finish the final “report” (it’s a 5-minute survey)

Companies must also fill in a payment form on the portal. We pay out based on the student’s actual salary. Please be sure to include proper proof of payment (paystubs, Interac email copy, cheque cleaning your account).

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 them?

Yes you can, and it would count as two grants.

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.

Can I hire a student from a private school?

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

Can I hire a co-op?

Yes and no. We cannot take accredited co-op students who are placed at your company with the co-op department.

We can, however, take work placements with Master’s-level programs, non-accredited co-ops at private schools, and internships.

Why can’t I hire a co-op?

Our funder, Innovate BC, runs the Tech Co-Op Grants Program.

How much should I pay the student?

We suggest paying market rate, to the best of your ability. Students must be paid minimum wage or higher.

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.

We can take high school grads who are applying for summer and have registered for post-secondary school in the fall.

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

No, only students attending accredited 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 check, 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.

Term length maximum is five months. There is no minimum, but the student’s salary must reach $2000. You also must be able to provide some mentorship and training within the timeframe of the project.

Are international students eligible?

Yes, international students are eligible. They must be 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. You can offset a bit of that if you provide in kind training, mentorship or courses, etc. to your student.

What counts as in-kind?

Mentorship and training are most common. We can also take desk space for the student, electronic equipment that they can keep (laptops), software licences for the student, travel expenses, and coursework or workshops.

Receipts must be provided at the end of the term for paid items. Mentorship and training require a CEO statement on the application form.

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 employment that meets legal standards and is compliant with the BC Employment Standards Act is acceptable for grant funding.

Can the ISI Grant be stacked with other funding or CEWS?

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.

Generally speaking, the funding must also be paid to the company, who then pays the student.

CEWS may be stacked with the funding.

Check out this blog post for some other grant programs.

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.

Companies must provide 2-4 paid hours to complete these modules.

What are examples of entrepreneurial skills?

The lean startup method, financial management, customer discovery, market sizing, value propositions, customer service, market analysis, research analysis.

Please note they differ from technical skills. We want to see skills that are required for running your own business.

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.

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
  • 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.

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

To troubleshoot: 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 or call our office.

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.


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 considered eligible proof of enrolment?

All proofs of enrolment must show the students name, term dates, post-secondary school, student number. Proof of enrolment needs to be shown for the full duration the company receiving ISI Grant funding. Examples include: unofficial transcripts, class schedules, transcripts, proof of enrolment term forms. Proof of enrolment can be downloaded from your post-secondary student portal.


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