Most small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada have difficulty understanding the process of applying for government grants and loans. Between researching the Canadian government funding program they’re applying for, completing an application, and submitting it to a government agency for review, most SMEs have a difficult time investing the time and resource required to receive funding. In fact, nearly 50% of businesses do not leverage any kind of government funding, while less than 17% of Canadian companies take advantage of small business grants. Despite this, a 2014 study from Fraser Institute revealed that almost $684 billion was provided in government subsidies between 1981 and 2009, tremendously benefiting any business who was able to secure funding during this time.
This blog will help small business owners and executives to reduce the knowledge gap associated with obtaining Canadian government funding through three important elements including sources of funding, application intake periods, and stacking funding programs. To access a comprehensive guide of all important tools and tips for navigating funding, including expanded resources around these tips, download Mentor Works’ Canadian Small Business Funding Guide white paper.
Access Multiple Sources of Canadian Government Grants and Loans
Government funding in Canada can come from a variety of different sources including federal (national) funding, provincial funds, and municipal or regionally focused funding. Don’t have the time to browse government websites to learn about the programs available? Search Mentor Works’ list of Canadian government funding programs to learn about the best opportunities currently available for SMEs.
Federal Funding for Small Business (National)
Federal funding (Canadian government funding) is comprised of grants, loans, vouchers, and tax incentives which can be accessed by businesses across the country. These programs are funded by the Government of Canada and are specifically designed to meet some of the country’s highest strategic economic priorities, either through national or regional development agencies.
National Agencies and Ministries such as the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the National Research Council (NRC), and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) receive funding from the federal government to deliver funding programs based on specific research and development initiatives, or industries imperative to the success of Canadian business.
Regional Development Agencies allocate funds based on the needs of specific geographic areas across Canada. There are six agencies, including the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) which assess the needs of the area served and administer programs which will have the greatest positive impact on businesses.
Provincial Funding for SMEs (Provincial or Territorial Reach)
Each province and territory have funding dedicated to their region. This funding is catered to the area’s economic focus, such as agriculture incentives for western-Canada provinces and technology/innovation funding for Ontario and Quebec businesses. Only businesses who are actively operating in the geographic area or have impact in that region through job creation are able to apply for funding.
Municipal Funding and Business Support Services
Small businesses should also be aware of local resources which can help them grow their business. These funding programs and growth services are often aimed towards startups and early-stage businesses, however there are exceptions. Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) provide business strategy support and funding (generally in the form of small business loans) to companies operating in communities with less than 50,000 residents. Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) also enable small business success through financing, mentorship, and business development services.
For a comprehensive listing of federal, provincial, and municipal funding, download Mentor Works’ Canadian Small Business Funding Guide. Regardless of industry or the size of your business, you’ll find a collection of information, tools, and tips to increase your knowledge of the funding sources which are best for your business.
When to Apply for Canadian Government Funding Programs
Depending on the source of funding and how government organizations chooses to administer the program, the ideal time to apply for government grants and loans may change.
Continuous Intake of Applications
Many government grants call for the continuous intake of applications, where businesses may apply for the program at any time, as long as the program is active according to its funding agency. These periods will remain open until the program’s funding pool has been depleted or until the government’s commitment to the program has finished.
Application Intake Periods
Some government funding programs have a specified duration of time (often known as a call for proposals) where businesses can submit their funding applications. Once these application intake periods have ended, businesses must wait until the next intake period before they can submit their application for approval.
For more information on funding application preparation, receive Mentor Works’ Canadian Small Business Funding Guide. Here, we’ll explain the application process in greater detail and discuss what to expect during the approval process.
How to Stack Funding for Larger Project Contributions
Many small businesses which approach Canadian government funding on their own only receive a small contribution compared to what they could potentially receive by using a government funding consultant, such as Mentor Works. This is because we understand the unique rules of funding, such as how stacking works. Stacking, when used as part of a government funding strategy, enables businesses to receive up to 75% of project costs by strategically combining multiple applications for the same projects. General rules/themes behind stacking include:
- Provincial and federal funding programs can be stacked most easily;
- In some circumstances, multiple federal programs can be stacked; and
- Stacking funding cannot exceed 75% of project expenses.
When used effectively, this strategy enables businesses to accomplish new projects and experience explosive growth through cash flow extension. Want to learn how stacking could work for your strategic projects? Contact Mentor Works and we’ll review the stackable programs which can expedite your projects.
Learn More Tips in the Canadian Small Business Funding Guide
While these three tips construct the basis of a successful Canadian government funding strategy, they only represent a small amount of Mentor Works’ expert funding advice. To gain further insight, business owners and executives should download Mentor Works’ new Canadian Small Business Funding Guide white paper. Here, you’ll learn the most critical elements of government grants, loans, and tax incentives while also developing a greater understanding for eligibility requirements for business expansion, capital equipment adoption, hiring and training, and research and development funding. If you have any questions or would like to implement a Canadian government funding strategy for your business, Contact Mentor Works today.