Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Businesses and not-for-profit organizations in Canada’s northern region may be eligible for project funding from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor). CanNor is one of Canada’s six regional development agencies (federal agencies that drive economic development in their respective geographies). CanNor was established in 2009 to help create a sustainable and more dynamic economy in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

CanNor’s economic development programs provide funding to key economic sectors, such as mining, tourism, fisheries, and cultural industries, as well as community and business development.

Across 2019, CanNor announced over $2.8M in funding for a variety of northern projects.

Funded projects involved product innovation for small businesses, development of women-led businesses, and growth in the arts.  

Canadian Government Funding for Small Businesses in the North

Yukon Entrepreneur Funding: Cold Climate Innovation

Cold Climate Innovation (CCI), a program operating under the Research Centre at Yukon College, offers access to funding and mentorship to high-potential individuals and SMEs, to help them achieve commercial success. Funding from CanNor supported the relocation of CCI from Yukon College’s Ayamdigut campus to the NorthLight Innovation Hub in downtown Whitehorse.

CCI received over $1.6M from CanNor to help offset total project costs of over $3.3M.

Additional funding will go to CCI to expand its support services and broaden its reach into Yukon’s remote communities.

Training Nordic Skiers: Proskida

Proskida, which develops performance training devices for Nordic skiers, has been awarded nearly $100K for product development. Proskida has developed an instrumented ski pole grip that provides cross-country skiers and biathletes with real-time data on their performance. Funding will help the company develop its performance measurement technology and refine its business strategy, as well as create two new jobs.

Reducing Landfill Waste: Boreal Compost

Boreal Compost Enterprises (BCE) designs and builds commercial-scale machines that separate compostable materials from garbage, thereby reducing the amount of waste entering landfills. Almost $100K in CanNor funding financed development of an improved machine system that is capable of processing larger loads. The project allowed BCE to enhance its existing operations and maintain six jobs.

E-Learning for All: Apprendo Learning System

Apprendo Learning Systems (ALS) is an international firm that delivers training and education solutions for businesses. CanNor funding will help ALS to expand operations by transforming its online e-learning platform into a public training system for institutions, organizations, and individual learners.

CanNor is investing $98,990 in this two-year project, and the Government of Yukon will provide $38,525 in additional support.

The project will allow ALS to create three new jobs and expand one current position.

Laboratory Upgrade: Icefield Tools Corporation

Icefield Tools Corporation (ITC) designs and develops high-tech precision equipment to create boreholes (deep narrow holes in the ground to locate water, oil, or other substances), used in surveys by the mining, oil and gas, and civil engineering sectors.

CanNor is investing $99,999 in ITC’s development of an innovative navigation system that will significantly improve drilling efficiency and reduce borehole costs. This project will result in the creation of two new jobs and the expansion of ITC’s product offerings.

Software Innovation: Proof Data Technology

Proof Data Technology (PDT) develops software that helps governments reduce paper waste by streamlining approvals and improving data-driven decision making. Almost $100K in CanNor funding will accelerate the company’s growth, create two new jobs, and expand three current positions.

Equipment for Entrepreneurs: Yukonstruct Makerspace Society

Yukonstruct is a not-for-profit organization that provides affordable access to space, equipment, and knowledge for makers and entrepreneurs. Its Northlight Innovation space is the first innovation hub north of 60, a facility that brings Yukonstruct members and services together under one roof.

Northlight Innovation previously received nearly $2.5M in CanNor funding, as well as an additional $1.95M from the Government of Yukon.

Yukonstruct’s most recent funding award of $73,495 represents a top-up in funding to cover 100% of the costs for the organization to purchase new equipment. The new technology will allow entrepreneurs and SMEs to build models and prototypes to further develop their products for commercialization.

Canadian Government Grants for Small Businesses – Women Entrepreneurship Fund

CanNor awarded $300K altogether to four women-led and women-owned businesses in the Yukon through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund.

Upgrading a Yukon Landmark: Hotel Carmacks

Hotel Carmacks is a hotel, restaurant, and shopping complex that has been in operation since 1947, and is now run by Kendell Tricker, daughter of the previous owners. The hotel received Canadian government funding to obtain a license to sell cannabis, renovate its office space, and train management and staff.

Tech Development for the North: Kryotek Arctic Innovation

Kryotek Arctic Innovation Inc. creates and operates low-impact equipment and systems (e.g. drills and sensors) for use in northern conditions, for customers in mining exploration, geotechnical engineering, and environmental remediation. Kryotek’s Director of Operations is Astrid Grawehr, who helped develop the company’s Talon Drill System. Kryotek will use funding to develop and expand export opportunities as well as streamline production and distribution of a new drill system.

Scaling Up: The Yukon Soaps Company

The Yukon Soaps Company is Indigenous-owned and operated by Joella Hogan. The company makes soaps from scratch, handcrafted in Mayo, Yukon with natural ingredients. CanNor funding will help Yukon Soaps purchase new equipment and prepare a site for a new facility in order to scale up its operations.

Funding for Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs: SMRT Women

SMRT Women is an award-winning community for aspiring and working female entrepreneurs, based in Whitehorse and run by Selene Vakharia, a strategist in high-impact marketing and events. SMRT Women will build an online academy for northern female entrepreneurs that will provide digital courses and workshops and offer a business accelerator program.

CanNor Canadian Arts Grants

Inuit Technical Artistry: Qaggiavuut’s Qaggiq School of Performing Arts

CanNor provided $203,750 to support technical arts training in Nunavut. Qaggiavuut’s Qaggiq School of Performing Arts supports the development of Inuit artists to be agents of change who create new, forward-thinking performing arts work.

Economic Growth: Nunavut Film Development Corporation

CanNor is contributing $122,006 in Canadians arts grants towards a five-year strategic plan for Nunavut’s film industry through the Nunavut Film Development Corporation (NFDC), to fund professional training and support strategic development in the territory’s arts and film. Nunavut’s film, television and digital media industry is estimated to be worth over $10M annually.

CanNor Funding Programs for Northern Businesses

One CanNor funding program that may be of particular interest to businesses is the Business Scale-Up & Productivity (BSP) program, which helps firms to accelerate growth and adopt innovative technologies to drive scale-up, productivity, competitiveness, and new market entry.

Additional CanNor funding programs for businesses are the Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth), which backs businesses and other organizations in driving sector development and building capacity, and the Northern Aboriginal Economic Opportunities Program (NAEOP), which offers two funding streams, one for Aboriginal communities and one for Aboriginal entrepreneurs or business owners, to help them generate new economic possibilities.

Next Steps to Learn More About Canadian Government Funding

Many of the initiatives offered through Canada’s Regional Development Agencies, such as the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, are discussed in Mentor Works’ funding webinars – we cover all of the basic criteria for you to gauge if a program may be an appropriate fit with your strategic growth projects.

Registration is open for all 2020 webinars; make sure to sign up today so you don’t miss out on potential funding opportunities!

Canadian Government Funding Events for Small Business

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Sunnie holds a PhD in English from Dalhousie University, and has published her writing in several academic journals, as well as in magazines, newspapers, and blogs. She combines years of experience as a professor in English with practical experience in the private sector as a trainer in writing and analytical thinking.

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