Learn more about Canada’s AI Global Innovation Cluster
Scale AI is Canada’s AI Global Innovation Cluster dedicated to building the next-generation supply chain and boosting industry performance by leveraging AI technologies.
A business-led consortium, Scale AI will drive economic growth, bolster Canada’s leadership in the global innovation race, support the building of world-leading businesses, create highly skilled jobs, and accelerate the adoption of AI-powered technologies.
Scale AI will contribute to the development of an innovative, competitive, diverse and inclusive Canadian economy, with a focus on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
More precisely, Scale AI aims to:
1. Create productivity gains across industries thanks to AI-powered supply chain optimization
2. Generate AI-powered supply chain intellectual property (IP) and new business opportunities
3. Strengthen Canadian supply chain players through innovation and AI integration in products and services
4. Promote responsible usage and development of AI-related technologies.
Our initiatives include AI, digital technology and supply chains. On the industry side, Scale AI supports multiple sectors such as consumer goods, manufacturing, logistics, infrastructure and intra-hospital logistics.
Scale AI is focused on industry projects that improve of supply chains via the productivity of supply chains via AI integration, generating new business opportunities and intellectual property in AI, strengthening supply chain contributors, and promoting more responsible usage of AI.
Global Innovation Clusters are strategic co-investment initiatives created by the Government of Canada to boost innovation and drive economic growth.
In 2017, the Government of Canada challenged Canadian businesses of all sizes to collaborate with other innovation actors, including post-secondary and research institutions, to propose bold and ambitious strategies that would transform regional economies and develop job-creating innovation clusters, like Silicon Valley. Scale AI is one of five Global Innovation Clusters in Canada and the only cluster focused solely on AI projects.
Scale AI helps generate wealth for Canada by investing in industry projects and talent programs with the aim of increasing:
Scale AI’s strategic priorities target the critical players of the ecosystem. By implementing our priorities, we will help grow a crucial competitive advantage to Canada in the global economy that will improve the wealth of Canadians.
Scale AI recognizes the crucial role that Canada’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play in economic development. To support the emergence and growth of new SMEs, Scale AI directly supports incubators and accelerators focused on nurturing AI-based startups and SMEs.
SMEs will also benefit from:
Scale AI plans to have a deep and lasting impact on Canada’s economy and workforce.
We estimate that by 2028, our investments will help add $16.5 billion to Canada’s economy, while generating 16,000 new high-skill jobs.
Digital literacy in Canada is not widespread, limiting adoption of human-in-the-loop technology. Approximately 70,000 skilled supply chain jobs are vacant and the demand will only increase. A critical part of Scale AI’s mission is to develop future talent to generate and use AI technologies and to make a difference in terms of diversity. This investment will lay the foundation for a more innovative, competitive and inclusive Canadian economy.
Scale AI financially supports talent development initiatives such as professional upskilling and academic training on AI technologies. Training programs contribute to the growth and well-being of underrepresented groups through training and upskilling opportunities.
Scale AI is envisaged as a co-investment and collaborative hub with industrial investment matched by funding from the Governments of Canada and Quebec. Additional funding for Scale AI is obtained from the private sector through membership fees and strategic partnerships.
The Government of Canada’s contribution to Scale AI amounts to $230M over 5 years, from April 1, 2018 until March 31, 2023. Additional funding of $53.4M has been granted by the Government of Québec.
By the end of fiscal year 2022-2023, combined investments by Scale AI and the private sector will exceed$500M.
As the backbone of the economy, supply chains propel all industries. In 2015, $1 trillion worth of goods were moved by Canada’s transporters, of which $525 billion were exports, according to Statistics Canada. Canadian supply chains provide almost 1 million jobs and contribute nearly 10% to the GDP.
As global trade undergoes transformation, supply chains also need to adapt to keep up with the requirements. AI is a key tool that can support this transformation of supply chains. Better-functioning supply chains can lead to greater economic development and job creation.
Scale AI Community Associates pay no annual fee for their membership. Associates can network with other members of the Community and keep up to date on the latest news through Scale AI’s communications. Associates can also attend and participate in exclusive networking events.
Associates are considered non-voting members, and are not able to submit projects for funding consideration.
You can become a Member if your submitted project has been approved for funding by Scale AI. Scale AI Community Members pay an annual fee for their membership (see fee schedule here).
Members can access AI and supply chain and intellectual property resources and information, and collaborate with other members. They can also attend and participate in exclusive networking events.
Scale AI project funding can help member organizations innovate and develop technological solutions to improve the competitiveness of their products and services.
Access to AI and supply chain resources can help member organizations, especially SMEs, to build and perfect their AI models. Collaboration opportunities created by the Scale AI framework can bridge the gap between world-class research centres, large multinational corporations and SMEs, thereby benefiting the entire ecosystem.
Access to intellectual property expertise and resources can help member organizations, especially SMEs, to improve their IP ‘literacy’ with the aim of better protecting their developed methods and technologies, and aligning that protection with their business needs. Having an IP plan that is aligned and optimized to your business can help improve leverage of your technology development investments.
Everyone: Large-scale organizations, research centres, academic institutes, small and medium enterprises (SME) and individuals can all join the Scale AI Community and benefit from their association with Scale AI. The approval and funding of a project is a prerequisite for becoming a Member.
Yes. Scale AI Community membership is open to all companies and entities across the globe. Members from anywhere in the world can build innovative AI projects, collaborate with the world’s best researchers, and get reimbursed for project costs incurred in Canada.
Yes. We invite you to participate in Scale AI initiatives and programs by joining the Scale AI Community as an Associate or Member.
You can register for Scale AI membership by submitting an application on our website.
Learn more about becoming a Scale AI Community Member or Associate.
Over 100 world-class industrial partners and members, research institutions and other ecosystem players have joined forces with Scale AI. Our members include:
If you’re already a Scale AI member, you can apply for project funding by following these steps:
Non-Scale AI members can submit a project for evaluation, but must become members in order to receive funding for an approved project. Scale AI members also benefit from guidance from the Scale AI investment and intellectual property teams, and can tap into opportunities to partner with other Scale AI members as potential clients and service providers.
You can submit your project to Scale AI for assessment at any time.
There is no minimum or maximum funding allocated per project. For specific inquiries about project funding, please contact the Scale AI team.
While there is no maximum duration, projects typically last from 12 to 18 months. However, all projects must be completed on the timeline set out in the project agreement.
Scale AI funds projects that contribute to our strategic objectives, such as AI adoption and the commercialization of AI-based products. You can learn more about the types of projects we fund here.
Scale AI uses six eligibility conditions to ensure a transparent and objective assessment. To be considered for selection, your project must align with them:
Scoring criteria are divided into four categories:
In order to be considered for funding, a project must have more than one participant and at least one participant must be a SME.
For those projects that are selected, a predefined portion of eligible project expenses are reimbursed on a quarterly basis. Eligible expenses are those that are considered essential to the project. These include:
You can learn about funding and more by joining one of our twice-weekly information webinars. Sessions are held every Wednesday and Thursday at 3:00 p.m. EST. Register here.
Yes. Scale AI is committed to developing the AI ecosystem by encouraging collaboration between its members. As a member you’ll have the opportunity to connect with other potential project partners, both through the Scale AI platform and at networking events hosted by Scale AI.
Scale AI funding is available to supply chain operators and AI solutions providers across a broad range of sectors, including but not limited to:
Scale AI is committed to providing a business-friendly and efficient application process. The length of the selection process depends mainly on project teams’ responsiveness and speed of iteration on feedback provided by the Scale AI investment team. Once a comprehensive, detailed submission is provided, our selection process will take about one month to complete.
No. The money invested by Scale AI is in the form of a grant. You do not need to repay it.
Non-Scale AI members can submit a project for evaluation, but if your project is selected, you must become a member in order to receive funding. Scale AI members also benefit from guidance from the Scale AI investment and intellectual property team, and can tap into opportunities to work with other Scale AI members as potential clients and service providers.
Although an NDA should be entered before disclosing your confidential information to anyone, rest assured that Scale AI will protect your submission as confidential even without an NDA. That said, if you would like us to sign an NDA, we will be happy to enter a suitable NDA covering your proposal.
You can reach Scale AI by email at email@example.com. We also hold twice-weekly information webinars with our investment directors, to offer you a first touchpoint and to explain in greater detail how Scale AI might support your project. Sessions are held every Wednesday and Thursday at 3:00 p.m. EST. You can register for a webinar here.
You’re also invited to join the Scale AI online community via our Portal. There, you can make connections with other members, leverage resources, apply to become a member, learn more about our programs, and submit a project for consideration.
The project members have complete flexibility to decide who will own the IP created in their projects. Neither the Government nor Scale AI will own any of the IP.
No, you do not have to give anyone outside the project access or permission to use your IP or data. But remember – Scale AI’s mandate is to develop Canada’s AI ecosystem so, in selecting new projects for investment, we assess how you propose that the new IP and data generated in your project can benefit more than just the project participants.
For example, can the results be made generically available for use by other Scale AI members who are not your competitors? Or, is there another way your project will provide concrete benefits to other Scale AI members, such as through sharing lessons learned or other experiences developed in your project?
We understand that IP is complicated and that you may have lots of questions. That’s why we have an experienced IP lawyer on staff to help coach you. Our IP lawyer is not a replacement for getting your own solid IP legal advice, but together with our investment directors, Scale AI’s IP lawyer can help you put together a project submission that can protect your IP and still find ways to allow your IP to be safely leveraged by others in the Scale AI ecosystem.
A key piece of IP usually created in Scale AI projects are the trained AI models. These can be protected as secrets (sometimes called trade secrets, confidential information or proprietary information) or some choose to make them available to others as open-source software (OSS) or by other means of publishing, such as through white papers. It is also possible in some circumstances to file for patent protection of AI-related inventions, such as methods of training models or other methods relating to developing, training, validating or using AI models.
The best approach for protecting your project’s IP will depend heavily on (i) your business model (how you make money) and (ii) the nature of the new IP created in the project. Our experienced IP lawyer is available to help you understand the options.
A full answer to this question will depend on the details of your IP and your situation, however all types of IP (e.g. trade secrets, confidential/proprietary information, patents, copyrights, etc.) can be licensed to others, whether through open-source licenses or regular commercial licensing. In legal terms, “licensing” just refers to granting permission to someone to use your IP.
The commercial terms that accompany the license (e.g. whether it is open-source, or there are royalties, or a cross-license granted back, time or geography limits, market restrictions, or other costs or restrictions) can be tailored to meet just about any business need.
No. While we will encourage you to use all available IP tools available to protect your IP (because it just makes good business sense to do so!), you remain in control of how you choose to protect your IP.
You should never discuss or disclose confidential or proprietary information to potential project partners (or others!) without first having a signed non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place. Second, even once an NDA is in place, use the “need-to-know” principle to guide what you disclose to the other company. Third, it is always a good idea to mark each page of sensitive documents with a “Confidential Information of [Your Company]” marking to make it clear to others that the document must be handled confidentially (this step alone, however, is not usually enough to protect you).
These 3 simple steps, together, will make all the difference to protecting your confidential information.
No. Scale AI training programs are intended for individuals who are employed full-time in Quebec.
You must register directly with the participating training organizations. You can find the list of accredited courses here.
No. These are continuing-education courses; however, some programs do offer a certificate of participation.
Please refer to the list of accredited courses and curriculums offered by our partners.
Scale AI aims to enhance employees’ skills in digital-enabled activities by investing in:
Scale AI aims to financially support training in the fields of artificial and digital intelligence for 20,000 professionals in Quebec and 25,000 in the rest of Canada by 2023.
Scale AI partners with training organizations (CEGEPs, universities, nonprofit training organizations) as well as private companies that would like to receive training.
To have your program considered for certification, submit your application here and our selection committee will assess your application.
To have your program considered for certification, submit your application as a training organization here and the selection committee will assess your application.
The training program is financed by the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale of the Government of Quebec (MTESS). As a result, it is only available in the province of Quebec for now. A Canada-wide program will be announced shortly.
If your business is in Quebec, you can take advantage of financial resources allocated for the development of digital intelligence skills, with funding that covers up to 85% of the first $100,000 of customized training in the domain. A Canada-wide program will be announced shortly.
Scale AI does not directly fund startups through the Acceleration program. You can benefit from Scale AI’s support by participating in one of the accredited programs offered by partnering organizations across Canada.
Each program has its own selection processes and criteria. You can apply directly through our partnering organizations.
Refer to our Acceleration section for more information on funding.
You can also join Scale AI to get access to our online community where you can learn more about our programs, leverage resources, make connections with other members, and submit a program for assessment.
Scale AI’s Acceleration program targets organizations across Canada that offer programs and supporting activities, such as incubation, coaching, mentorship, customer and sector business development support, IP and commercialization support, product expansion, and access to capital facilitation. For example:
All funding granted by the Acceleration program is based on reimbursement of costs and expenditures. We assess each program’s operating costs as well as its benefit to startups.
To be reimbursable by Scale AI under the Acceleration program, expenses must meet our funding guidelines and include expenditures made in Canada relating to program activities that fall into one of the following categories:
No. Although they are of a direct benefit to startups, our funding guidelines do not allow us to consider them as an eligible expenditure.