A Look at the Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Improvement Program (ASCIP) Grant

One of the common factors among most government grant programs is the considerable amount of time it takes to write the application, with the funding never being guaranteed. When applying to any government funding program, the key is to have as much information as possible before starting the application, so you can answer the following question: Is this application worth my time? The purpose of this particular guide is to provide you with as much information on the ASCIP grant program as possible in a concise and readable format. Most applicants want to know the following before embarking on writing the application:

  1. What is the ASCIP program? What’s the purpose of the program?
  2. Am I eligible to apply?
  3. What projects qualify and what costs are eligible?
  4. What does the application process involve?
  5. How much funding is available?
  6. What are my chances of being approved?
  7. When should I apply?

I answer these questions for any potential candidate considering applying for this program.

What are the program and its purpose?

ASCIP is a partnership between the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association (APMA), OCE and the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG). It is also supported by Ontario government funding programs that help automotive manufacturers.

The program seeks to increase the sourcing capabilities of Ontario-based small- and medium-sized automotive suppliers, while encouraging innovation and productivity initiatives that fuel a company’s export to foreign markets. “The automotive industry is rapidly evolving and in Ontario, that evolution includes adopting industry-leading technology to remain competitive globally,” says Dr. Tom Corr, President, and CEO of Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

ASCIP increases sourcing capabilities and productivity for Ontario’s auto suppliers to ensure they are able to meet and exceed the high level of innovation and competitiveness their clients have come to expect.” It aims to boost the competitiveness of Ontario’s auto parts sector by adopting industry-leading software by offering up to 50% coverage for eligible project expenses to a maximum of $100,000.
ASCIP is delivered by OCE in partnership with AMPA on behalf of the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT).

Who is eligible to apply?

Small- and medium-sized Ontario-based enterprises (firms with fewer than 500 employees globally and global revenues of less than $1 billion). However, larger companies are still eligible, but they must have a partner with at least one Ontario-based small- or medium-sized enterprise. Companies must be in the automotive supply chain to original equipment manufacturers. At least 50 percent of the company’s total sales revenue must come from the auto supply sector. Only one project per company will be allowed within a two-year timeframe.

What projects qualify and what costs are eligible?

ASCIP has two streams of support. They are:

  1. Advance product lifecycle management and improve competitiveness through the adoption of advanced IT technologies (hardware, software).
  2. Operational efficiency and improvements in competitiveness through lean manufacturing practices. Adoption of advanced IT technologies may be included as part of the overall project scope.

Eligible costs:

  • Hardware and software implementation, installation and setup fees;
  • Cost of usage of equipment (up to a maximum of 20% of the project cost);
  • Cost of direct materials;
  • Website maintenance, fees involved in providing personnel with training and/or development

What is the application process?

The first step in the application process is to send an email to Director, External Affairs & Counsel, APMA, with the following email subject: ASCIP Application Initiation. Prior to initiating the application, representatives from APMA screen your project before you’re allowed to proceed with the full application. This is actually a very useful step, which most grant programs don’t have. With this added process you can get an idea from the program rep on your chances of succeeding. The worst outcome is when you spend the time to draft a full application only to find out your project doesn’t even meet the minimum requirements. In this meeting with the APMA screener, you can run through multiple projects and have them select which one has the best chance of matching their evaluation metrics. If you are given verbal approval to move forward, they will direct you to the OCE online portal, where the full application can be completed.

How much funding is available?

The program funds two different streams, depending on the size of your project costs. Smaller projects cover up to $50,000 and the larger projects cover up to $100,000. The program does not cover more than 50% of your total project costs. We have been told by program reps that there is $2.5 million left in the total funding pool.

What are my chances of approval?

Grant programs are never a guarantee, but if your projects have these key metrics your chances can greatly improve.

  1. Ability to clearly articulate the current challenge faced, its alternatives and the proposed solution;
  2. Ability to achieve the expected results, as demonstrated by the feasibility, clarity, and specificity of the project plan within the specified milestones and the mitigated risk;
  3. Commitment to the project;
  4. A significant boost in full-time jobs and total revenue

When should I apply?

The program is open for business and you can submit an application anytime from now to November 28th, 2018. Decisions will likely be made in January 2019, so you will want to make sure projects do not start until the new year. If you are an automotive supplier in Ontario with under 500 employees and have any upcoming or potential project that supports hardware and software costs related to productivity and competitiveness, this program may be right for you.

For a complimentary assessment of your eligibility, contact our government grant specialists:
[email protected]