Did you know that 17 percent of Canadian entrepreneurs indicate “obtain financing” as an obstacle to growth? The challenge facing most businesses is how to find and take advantage of what is out there. Most business owners receive financing through banking institutions. However, funding resources are available to small businesses from both the provincial and federal levels of government. Canadian small business grants and other government programs and resources are increasing their penetration in Southern Ontario, since the formation of the Economic Action Plan – all to the advantage of businesses.
FedDev Ontario has received an additional $920 million for Canadian government funding initiatives, such as the successful small business funding grants initiative known as the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and new funding grants and loans for business, including Investing in Business Innovation (IBI), Investing in Business Growth & Productivity (IBGP), and more.
-FedDev Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives
Government funding programs can help small companies tackle financing barriers so they can achieve growth and prosper. Whether the requirement is working capital, expanding the business, software or hardware investment or purchasing equipment, there are many creative ways to approach financing to solve innovation challenges.
For Start-ups and Entrepreneurs (less than 15 employees and or not incorporated for at least 3 years), please visit Small Business Grants and Loans for Start-ups or Download a Free Government Funding for Start-ups Checklist.
How to Find the Best Small Business Grants and Loans to Help Grow Your Business
|Government Funding Program||Description|
|Advanced Manufacturing Fund (AMF)
||$10-$20M in Ontario business grants and loans aims to help organizations (For-profit & Not-for-profit) improve productivity while developing cutting-edge technology that encourages collaboration between research & post-secondary institutions with industry. Eligible expenses include:
● Expertise related costs specific to the project
|Agri-Innovation Program (AIP): Industry-Led Research & Development
Agri-Innovation Program (AIP): Enabling Commercialization & Adoption Stream
|Industry-led Research & Development Stream: Supports pre-commercialization R&D, leading to new agri-based products, processes, and practices.
● Combines industry, academia, & government expertise to promote innovation
● Scope may be national, regional, or localEnabling Commercialization & Adoption Stream: Accelerates the rate of identification, assessment, development and adoption of innovation-based products
● Commercialization projects of a new product or innovation
● Technology adoption projects to improve internal operations or end products
||Provides non-repayable funding support to Canadian agriculture, agri-food, fish, and seafood industries by allowing them to identify market priorities and carry out marketing activities to develop export opportunities:
● Development and production of advertising materials
● Trade shows, conferences, and trade missions
● Implementing marketing and branding plans
|Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit||Supports the training and certification of new trades apprentices through wage subsidies. Credit covers the training of new trades employees.|
|Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit (Ontario)||Incentive to allow SME’s to hire new apprentices in trades.
● Register new trades apprentices in sectors where there is high demand for skilled workers
|Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP)||The Build in Canada Innovation Program is a first purchase program offered by the Canadian government.
● Pre-commerical, innovative product or service opportunity to bridge the commercialization gap
● Must be of use to the Canadian government by improving efficiency and effectiveness
|Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG)||Receive up to 66% or $10K in training grants per trainee to enhance your workforce.
● Most training that improves skillsets and career advancement is eligible.
● Training can be carried out throughout the calendar year.
● Program available from 2014-2020 with an annual funding pool of $192M in Ontario.
|Canada Media Fund: Experimental Stream||Grant for developing, producing, and promoting innovative, interactive software development projects including apps and video games.
● 3 streams: Development, Production or Marketing & Promotion
● Grant covering 75% of eligible costs up to $500K/$1 million
● Canadian companies can apply if ≥75% of content is developed in Canada
|Canada Summer Jobs||Encourages the hiring of young workers (i.e. 15-30 years) to allow for career related experience. Financial hourly wage subsidy program.
● Deadline for submission: January 31, 2014
● Part of the Youth Employment Strategy programs
|Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP)||Supports non-profits in developing new products, ideas, or technologies to advance the agricultural industry.
● Covers 50% of costs; $1M project max & $4M lifetime funding max
● Covers labour, equipment, travel, software, and other direct project costs
|Career Focus Programs||Receiver $15K-20K in funding towards the hiring of new post-secondary graduates.
● Candidates must be 15-30 years of age
● Sector and position specific variants of funding are available
● Supports the hiring of permanent Canadian residents/citizens/refugees
|CDMN Soft Landing Program||Funding for mature startups and SMEs to enter into new markets, close international sales, or connect with new partners. The program connects businesses to local incubators to help fund international business activities.
● Up to $4K in funding for international activities
● Partnership with local business accelerator for market development
● Desk space and associated services covered by CDMN for up to 3 months
|Community Futures Program – CFDC||Loans for existing SMEs and start-ups to help with growth. Loans can be used for purchasing fixed assets, leasehold improvements, capital equipment, and operating capital.
● Loans up to $150,000 for business development activities
● Interest rate for the loan averages between 2-3% above prime, subject to local CFDC
● Ontario businesses of all sizes can apply
|Connect Canada Internship||Allows companies to solve a R&D problem through the hiring of an intern over 4-6 months. Eligible projects include:
● Market Research
● Applied Scientific Research
● Technical Problem Solving
● Software Solutions
|CME SMART Prosperity Now||Helps fund SMEs capital expenditures and expansion into new domestic and international markets by providing 33.3% in grants, up to $75,000, for eligible projects, such as:
● Operational efficiency improvements
● Global expansion activities
● Marketing expenses for new domestic and international markets
● Energy efficiency and environmental reduction programs
|Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF)||This program is designed to support business expansion projects that create jobs within Eastern Ontario, provides up to $1.5M in grant funding or a $5M fully repayable loan depending on the project size. Eligible costs include:
● Capital Equipment
● Leasehold Improvements
● Direct Labour
● Skills Training
|ecoENERGY Efficiency for Industry Program: ISO 50001||Provides grant funding for companies registered under NRCan as a CIPEC Leader to obtain ISO 50001 certification. Eligible costs include:
● Development of energy baseline
● Energy use assessment
● Energy performance monitoring and reporting
● Professional fees and training
|Export Market Access (EMA)||Funding available through FedDev Ontario and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to assist SMEs in their international ventures. Grant covers 50% eligible expenses up to max of $30k such as:
● Marketing brochures, sell sheets, pre & post show mailers
● Trade shows and related exhibition costs, display panels, banners
● Translation and freight
● Flights and per diem allowance for meals/lodging
● Industry Market or competitive research
● Also includes foreign bidding projects
|Growing Forward 2 Ontario for Organizations & Collaborations
Growing Forward 2 Ontario for Food & Agri-product Processors & Producers
|Cost-sharing grants for 50-75% of project costs, aimed at supporting the agricultural industry in Ontario to expand, innovate and become more competitive. Funding is available to support:
● Capacity Building Projects: Audits/assessments, strategic planning, and training
● Project Implementation: A follow-up grant program, based on the results of the Capacity Building project.
|Health Technology Exchange (HTX) Programs||Ontario government funding for healthcare and medtech sector. Projects can focus on:
● Pre-commercial development
● Commercialization of innovations
● Clinic evaluations & technical assessments
● International Expansion
|Investing in Business Innovation (IBI)||Additional government funding (i.e. up to $1M) to commercialize new products, practices or processes of start-up businesses after obtaining angel or venture capital investments. 3 streams of funding: Early-stage businesses, Angel Networks, and Not-for-profits.
● Education and Resource Development and Coordination & Convening
● Late stage product development geared towards market diversification and growth
● Customer and market development
● Developing & implementing marketing and distribution strategies
|Investing in Business Growth and Productivity (IBGP)||Aims to help southern Ontario businesses scale-up to expand markets and facilities, increase adoption of new technologies & processes, and increase business capacity to participate in global markets. The program offers two streams, one for For-Profit organizations, and one for Not-for-Profit organizations.
● Increase adoption of new technologies and processes to improve productivity
● Increase business capacity to participate in global markets through market diversification or expanding markets and integration in global value chains
● Help scale-up by expanding markets and facilities
● Support activities to fund or collaborate with SMEs regarding the adoption or adaptation of technologies
|Investing in Commercialization Partnerships (ICP)||This funding program offers support for business-led partnerships that focus on helping to develop products and services that can compete globally.
● Post-secondary institutions and incorporated not-for-profits, including research institutions and industry associations
● Must be located in southern Ontario; Must have 50% support from industry/partners for cost
|Investing in Regional Diversification (IRD)||IRD was developed to help support the long-term development of strong and diverse economies.
● Diversification of regional economy
● Capacity building activities
● Business infrastructure initiatives
|IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP)||Non-repayable grant (i.e. up to $50k) to support innovation or technological improvement projects. Various aspects supported:
● Software implementation
● Productivity improvements
● Production design
● Marketing projects
|IRAP Business Innovation Access Program (BIAP)||Research voucher up to $50K to support collaborations with Canadian research institutions. Projects supported include:
● Technical Services/Specialized Testing
● Planning & Marketing
● Product Prototyping
● Process Development
|MaRS – Investment Accelerator Fund (AIF)||Helps entrepreneurs with early stage technological developments. Repayable loan and 5% equity position (i.e. up to $500k) and support sectors:
● Materials and engineering
● Clean technology
● Information technology and health sciences
|Mitacs-Accelerate||Expansion of SME’s R&D environment for a $7500 investment. Four month internship is matched for $15000 research grant. Aimed at connecting SME’s with University expertise for:
● Innovative research
● Methods and development of tools
● Prototype models
● Technology or solutions to support challenges
● Graduate spends 50% of time on-site with SME
|Mitacs-Accelerate InDev||$3,500 wage subsidy for recruiting Masters and Ph.D students for a 4-month collaborative business development projects, including:
● Product Development
● Marketing/Competitive Research
● Prototyping & Design
● Strategic Planning
● Production Planning
|Mitacs-Accelerate PhD Fellowship||Gain access to a PhD for 3 years for a fellowship and receive $90,000 in grant funding:
● Any Canadian based for-profit can apply
● Full-time expertise of high-skilled PhD graduate student
● Access to university resources and academic supervisor
|Mitacs Elevate||Funding for industry/academic partnerships to solve industry issues through collaborative R&D projects up to 2 years in length. Industry focuses include:
● Health Science & Technology
● Clean Technology
● Advanced Manufacturing
|NextGen Biofuels Fund||Repayable loan for support of full scale-up and process integration projects for technical and financial performance of technologies at first-of-kind facility. Assists with:
● Project assessment, definition
● Building construction
● Environmental assessment
● Production equipment, and
● All labour costs related to the above
|Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) Funding Programs||NOHFC Funding Programs serve a wide gamut of developmental needs by:
● Offering Ontario business grants for hiring recent graduates
● Offsetting northern businesses’ capital costs
● Providing funding for community development projects
● Promoting innovative Northern Ontario businesses, and more.
NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD)
|Non-repayable grant designed to connect SME’s with University researchers for research and development.
● Short-term (i.e. 6 months) research and development funding grants through NSERC Engage
● Long-term (i.e. 5 years) research and development funding grants through NSERC CRD
● Addresses a company specific problem
|Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) – TalentEdge Program||Funding for hiring post-secondary graduates as interns or research fellows to work on collaborative industry-driven research projects.
● TalentEdge Internship Program: Grant for hiring recent post-secondary graduates or current students.
● TalentEdge Fellowship Program: Grant for supporting industry’s contribution to PhD fellowships.
|Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Voucher Programs||OCE provides funding for collaborative projects between businesses and universities and colleges to:
● Develop new products for export markets
● Solve industry concerns
● Commercialize innovations
● Develop online marketing tools
|Ontario Exporters Fund (OEF)||Grant towards the hiring of an Export Manager to help aid your international market development:
● Covers up to $50K of the Export Manager’s salary
● Gain an employee dedicated to increasing international revenue, gathering market intelligence, and generating new streams of revenue
|Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) Business Grants & Tax Credits||Through Ontario business grants and tax credits OMDC supports several forms of media including magazines, books, video games, film & television, and more.
● Supports strategic marketing initiatives of Ontario-based record companies
● Offers digital media firms non-repayable contributions to help move content projects to production
● Refundable tax credit for eligible labour, marketing & distribution expenses
|Rural Economic Development Fund (RED)||The Rural Economic Development Fund (RED) supports regional economic development activities in rural southern Ontario.
● Planning Stream: Research and investigation into potential economic development opportunities
● Implementation Stream: execution of projects related to regional economic development, regional marketing/branding, attracting & retaining skilled labour
|Ontario Power Authority (OPA) – Conservation Fund||The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) created the Conservation Fund to provide support for significant advances in new conservation and demand management programs, practices and technologies that impact Ontario’s initiative to reduce electricity consumption by 2030. Eligible costs are those related to developing or piloting conservation programs , practices and technologies, including:
● Design and development,
● Installation and implementation,
● Testing and measurement
|SD Tech Fund||Designed to assist with pre-commercialization strategies of clean technologies. Non-repayable grant supports productivity improvements and competitive advantage for activities such as:
● Capital items
● Goods and services
● Personnel labour costs
● Depreciation expenses
|Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII)||Supports growth of knowledge-based industry SMEs through loans to meet these innovative business challenges. Loans help finance:
● Late stage commercialization
● New applications or markets
● New product or service development
● Development/Implementation of new processes or technologies
|Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF)||This program is designed to support business expansion projects that create jobs within Southwestern Ontario, by providing up to $1.5M in grant funding or a $5M fully repayable loan depending on the project size. Eligible costs include:
● Capital Equipment
● Leasehold Improvements
● Direct Labour
● Skills Training
|Strategic Aerospace Defence Initiative (SADI)||The SADI program provides Canadian aerospace and aviation companies with funding to support develop innovations that will advance the industry. Funding is intended to:
● Support innovative products, services and processes in the aerospace & defence sector
● Aid projects that will benefit the Canadian government’s aerospace division
|TECTERRA Funding for Geomatics Companies||TECTERRA offers a full gamut of small business funding support programs for geomatics companies in Canada, including:
● Commercialization Funding Programs
● Research & Development Funding
● Business Support Programs
● Hiring Grants and Wage Subsidies
● Networking Programs
|Youth Employment Fund||This program provides up to $6,800 to organizations that hire recent graduates that have overcome a barrier to employment.
● Train and employ youth for 4-6 month opportunity
● New hires must be Ontario residents between ages 15-29, unemployed & not in school
● Employers must be Ontario based; License to operate; safety insurance; Must be new position
|Yves Landry AIME Global Initiative (Southern Ontario)
Yves Landry AIME North Initiative (Northern Ontario)
|Non-repayable grant aimed at accelerating innovation through training support for technology development related projects. Training that leads to innovation may include:
● Development of new engineering skills
● Training of new IT best practices and other tools for innovation
● Embracing new technologies, new materials or processes and new manufacturing methods
At Mentor Works, we work closely with businesses to determine the best opportunities for growth and innovation through business funding grants and other government funding opportunities. If you would like to discuss funding opportunities directly with us, please attend a Free 60 Minute Government Funding Workshop to receive helpful advice and have your questions answered by Bernadeen McLeod, founder and principle of Mentor Works.
Please feel free to contact us directly if you are uncertain of your eligibility for any of the Canadian government funding programs listed above. We support both startups/entrepreneurs, however the majority of funding is reserved for established businesses (ie. 3+ years incorporated, 5-15+ employees, $500K+ annual revenue). If you are a startup, be sure to fill out our Form for a FREE Download: “Startup Funding Checklist” instead so that we can best accommodate your funding needs. This checklist provides priorities for all startups to carry out in order to be best positioned for funding.
If you are an established business, please let us know about your company and its strategic activities as they relate to potential funding opportunities: