Innovator Skills Initiative

Get up to $10,000 to hire a new employee from an under-represented group.

The Innovator Skills Initiative provides up to $10,000 to help employers hire a new employee. The program helps under-represented people get their first job in B.C.’s tech sector and supports companies facing skills shortages to grow and expand.

Currently this program is not accepting new applications. You may consider applying to the ICTC Work Integrated Learning Digital Program which offers a similar hiring grant for employers hiring students with domestic status . If you have any questions please contact ICTC.


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About the Program

The Innovator Skills Initiative is designed to increase diversity in the tech sector and help B.C.-based businesses fill talent shortages and grow. The program provides grants to employers that are hiring for tech or tech-related roles.

The program aims to help more under-represented people get their first job in the tech sector by ensuring placements for under-represented people are available.

Employers will offer valuable paid work experience to prepare individuals for ongoing employment.  

 Employers can receive:

  • A maximum of one grant of up to $10,000 per candidate per company to supplement a new employee’s salary
  • Up to 10 grants for 10 different employees per year

Innovate BC will provide employers with links to resources to support them in recruiting, retaining, and developing employees who self-identify as under-represented.

Innovator Skills Initiative funding is available to employers through Innovate BC’s program as well as through partner programs including:



Employer Eligibility

  • Must be one of the following:
    • A B.C.-based tech company or non-profit hiring for a business or tech role
    • A B.C.-based non-tech company or non-profit hiring for a tech role
    • A B.C.-based post-secondary institution hiring for a tech role
    • A B.C.-based local/regional authority or Indigenous community hiring for a tech role

Employee Eligibility

  • Self-identifies as belonging to an under-represented group:
    • Indigenous
    • Black and people of colour
    • Neuro-diverse
    • Persons living with a visible or invisible disability
    • Women
    • Youth from care
    • Non-binary
    • Other
  • Must be eligible to work in B.C.
  • Has completed training or education on or after December 1, 2019, whether at a post-secondary institute or through other recognized pathways.

Placement Eligibility

  • Must be at minimum a 4-month period
  • Must start no earlier than June 1, 2021 and end no later than July 15, 2022.
  • Must have a start date no later than March 15, 2022.
  • May be part-time or full-time

Key Dates

  • Application deadline: March 11, 2022
  • Earliest hire date: June 1, 2021 
  • Latest hire start date: March 15, 2022
  • Latest work placement end date: July 15, 2022 

Steps to Apply

This program is closed to new applications.

Innovate BC has a number of grants that require employers to hire skilled workers. To help employers find the right candidate, here is a list of organizations that have available skilled workers. 


If you’re interested in hiring tech talent, please reach out to a contact below with your job description and the Innovate BC program you applied for. 





  • WithYouWithMe (WYWM) focuses on driving training and employment outcomes. As a social impact organization, WYWM was created with the mission of solving underemployment in underrepresented groups of people, by matching individuals to new digital careers based on their skills.
    If you are looking for tech talent or to upskill your own internal employees based on their skills, reach out to


  • Palette Skills is a national talent platform that meets the needs of Canada’s most innovative companies by helping them source the talent they need. Through public-private partnerships, we identify major skills gaps and build industry-driven upskilling programs that expand the available talent pool for companies competing in today’s digital economy. Interested employers can contact Trevor Roald at for more information about our recent SalesCamp graduates.


  • NPower Canada launches diverse youth and adults into meaningful digital careers. Participants complete technical skills training, industry certification, job placement services, post-hire mentorship and continuing education. Graduates are prepared for many roles such as QA Analyst, Help Desk Agent, Business Analyst, Jr. Software Developer and Information Security Specialist and have been hired by companies such as Accenture, CGI, CIBC, RBC and Teleperformance. To learn more, please contact Derek Darch, National Director, Employer Engagement, NPower Canada at or 647-689-5850 ext 109. 


  • Empowered for Employment can connect employers with recent graduates 55+ from their vocational training programs in accounting, delivered through the Vancouver Community College. Many graduates also have prior high qualifications in additional areas. Contact Nina Rihal, Employer Liaison at or 604-209-4370 for more information.


Is your organization looking to expand their talent pool while breaking down the barriers faced by underrepresented populations? Let's talk about inclusive hiring practices!

We’ve partnered with Tech and People Network (TAP Network) to give you access to their Diversity and Inclusion Resource HUB—the Canadian tech industry’s #1 destination for best-in-class resources and tools to understand and implement inclusive hiring practices.

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Get up to $10,000 to hire an employee from an under-represented group

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