07/09/2013 04:47 EDT | Updated 09/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Pilot project to boost Canadian companies now permanent, adds military component

CALGARY - The federal government has made a pilot project which encourages Canadian companies to develop products and get them from the lab to the marketplace a permanent program.

The program gives small- and medium-sized businesses contracts for pre-commercial inventions or services in hopes of creating high-value jobs.

The government provides feedback, performance testing and the opportunity to enter the marketplace if the new goods or services are successful.

Public Works Minister Rona (RAH'-nah) Ambrose told a gathering of defence, security and aerospace executives in Calgary the program now has an additional component directed toward military procurement.

She said the government is more effective as a customer than as a subsidizer.

Ambrose said it's estimated that every $1 billion in defence or security spending creates or sustains 18,000 jobs and $710 million in gross domestic product.