Canadian Government Funding: Trends and Highlights from 2019

Entering an election period always brings about change in the funding landscape as the incumbent government looks to continue to push their main economic development approach and a potential new government looks to establish their economic development priorities.

Nearing the end of 2019, it’s time to reflect on the trajectory of government funding for small businesses in Canada.

In this post we explore some of the funding trends and outlook for 2020 and beyond.

R&D Funding, Innovation Funding & Technical Risk Support

One of the largest business areas that the Canadian government supports through funding surrounds R&D and technical risk.

Companies who are innovating, developing new products and services, and constantly trying to maintain or expand on a competitive advantage have found increased access to funding.

On a federal level, programs such as the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF), the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), and the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program all provide differing levels of support to companies who are willing to take on technical and R&D risk and to help companies innovate.

It’s likely that funding for R&D and innovation will continue as one of the most accessible pools of small business funding in Canada.

Increasing Focus on Collaboration for Small Business Grants & Loans

Collaboration-focused programs seem to be the new normal. In 2018 and 2019 we saw a number of large collaboration-focused programs open or receive top-ups in funding. All of the supercluster funding is now live in five superclusters that are each aimed at developing and fostering collaboration within the industry.

Similarly, academic-business collaborations have been on the rise with a revamping of the NSERC suit of government funding programs.

Industry engagement has become a larger part of the Canadian small business funding landscape and we expect to see this trend continue. Other programs, such as the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) mentioned above, have opened additional streams of funding aimed at developing and supporting ecosystems. This approach is gaining traction as it allows additional economic benefit for every dollar invested by the government. Projects have a larger impact on their industry and the economy, more jobs are created, and more spillover investment occurs. This model has been successful in other jurisdictions (such as the E.U.) and is being modified with success for the Canadian business landscape.

2019 Federal Election Impact

In another post we discuss the potential impact the 2019 election may have on small business funding, but it’s worth mentioning here as well. Elections always bring about some level of change in Canadian government funding. If the incumbent government is re-elected there’s usually a re-evaluation of priorities and a shifting of focus, and if a new government comes in that usually means new programs that better reflect their economic development priorities.

Learn More about how Government Funding Can Help Your Business

Business owners and executives interested in learning how to prepare for government funding success are encouraged to register for an upcoming funding webinar or event.

These free government funding sessions led by Mentor Works will cover trends in government funding programs, identify specific grants and incentives worth applying for, and explain how to optimize the funding identification and application process.

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Mentor Works provides business support services related to Canadian government funding for business. By assessing our clients’ strategic objectives and innovation challenges, we are able to match optimal government grants for small businesses in Ontario, Canada, as well as loans and tax credits.

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