Innovator Skills Initiative

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.

More Information

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. A key priority of the program will be supporting more Indigenous placements.

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

  • A B.C.-based technology business/organization hiring for a business or tech role
  • A B.C.-based non-tech business/organization, including public body and Indigenous community, hiring for a tech role

Employee Eligibility

  • Self-identifies as belonging to an under-represented group:
  • Must be living in B.C. and be eligible to work in B.C.
  • Must be a new hire on or after April 1, 2023
  • 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 April 1, 2023 and end no later than October 31, 2023.
  • Must be at minimum an average of 15 hours per week
  • Application deadline: October 20, 2023
  • Earliest hire date: April 1, 2023 
  • Latest work placement end date: October 31, 2023
  1. Read the Program Guidelines
  1. Submit the Application Form

Program Guidelines >


How long does it take to process an application?

Each individual step (Employer Application, Employee Confirmation and Employee Intake) in the application process takes up to 30 business days to process. The Employer will be notified of their application status via email shortly after review.

Can I apply to receive a grant before I hire an Employee?

Yes. Note that the grant is disbursed after the work term has been completed.

Can I apply after the work term has already started?

Employers can apply for a grant retroactively for work terms that started in the past, with a start date no earlier than April 1, 2023.

Are we eligible for a grant if we received other funding for the employee?

Yes, grant stacking is permitted as long as the combined value of all grant funding does not exceed the employee’s salary. Limitations apply: Grants supported by Innovator Skills Initiative funds through our partners (e.g. ICTC and BC Tech Association) are not eligible for the same employee at the same time.

Can I hire someone from outside of B.C.?

No. An employee must reside in B.C. in order to be eligible.

Are international students on work permits/visas eligible for the program?

Yes, if they are authorized in writing to work in Canada under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

Can I submit a claim before the placement term is completed?

Requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you have reached $10,000 in salary payments and a minimum of 3 months has passed, contact us to inquire about submitting for early claim.


Success Stories

Learn more about how our talent programs helped these B.C. companies