In an effort to give Canadian businesses a competitive digital technology edge, free cloud computing resources are being made available through a government-sponsored accelerator program.

The Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) program is offered by CANARIE, operator of Canada's Advanced Research and Innovation Network and supported by tech firms Compute Canada and Cybera.

Hundreds of projects will be funded across Canada over the next three years.

"Building or even paying for computing infrastructure can be a huge cost and time impediment for high-tech innovators. The DAIR program effectively removes that hurdle," says Jim Roche, President and CEO of CANARIE.

Startups like digital media firm Gnowit and Internet firm ZEROSPAM Security are experimenting with cloud infrastructure for a fraction of commercial market cost without impairing company growth and finances.

CANARIE , in addition to extensive research and digital development, continues to build a national ultra-high-speed backbone network, which is used by more than 1,100 Canadian institutions, including universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, and government laboratories.