Innovate BC Launches Innovator Skills Initiative

Are you a tech entrepreneur looking to recruit new talent? The Innovator Skills Initiative from Innovate BC is designed to increase diversity in the tech sector and help B.C.-based businesses fill talent shortages and grow. If you’re hiring for tech, or tech-related roles, learn how you can benefit from this grant program.

How the Innovator Skills Initiative Works

This new program from Innovate BC offers grants to employers to hire individuals from under-represented communities.

Employers can receive:

  • A maximum 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 also provide employers with links to resources to support them in recruiting, retaining, and developing employees who self-identify as under-represented.

The Innovator Skills Initiative is open to applications until March 11, 2022.



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


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

Employees must be eligible to work in B.C, and have 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

Why Increasing Representation Matters

BC’s tech scene continues to show robust growth, but under-representation of women and minority groups remains an issue. Earlier this year, a study by B.C. non-profit, The Impact Coalition, examined 16 organizations operating within our province’s tech scene. Of the 190 board seats across these organizations, 70 seats (37%) were held by women, while just 21 (11%) were held by BIPOC leaders.

Increased diversity also leads to larger profits for organizations. A 2020 report by McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 per cent more likely to have above average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile.

While these metrics look at companies from the top down, the issue of under-representation begins at the ground floor. Individuals from these communities struggle to get a foothold in the industry, often seeing themselves passed over for job openings by those with more experience or existing connections. The Innovator Skills Initiative is designed to correct this issue.

How to Apply

Applying for the Innovator Skills Initiative is simple. Click the button below to complete the form on the Innovate BC website.