The Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) has just released the application forms for their new business funding grant; the SMART Prosperity Now Program. For those who are unaware, the CME Smart Prosperity Now Program is a non-repayable business funding grant that can provide up to $75,000 or 33.3% of eligible expenses and activities for manufacturing businesses with an exporting focus.
The SMART Prosperity Now Program is a reimagined program that will replace CME’s former SMART Program. The Prosperity Now Program will focus on encouraging the manufacturers in Southern Ontario to adopt new technologies and expand into foreign markets. The SMART Prosperity Now Program differs from other Grant Funding for Business Expansion in that it also provides Canadian government grant funding for the adoption technology and equipment along with funding for PR and marketing expenditures.
Business Eligibility for Canadian Government Grant Funding
In order to be considered eligible for the CME Prosperity Now Program, the business must be a manufacturer within the South Western Ontario Region with the capabilities or intentions of exporting to foreign markets. The Canadian SMEs must be incorporated for at least 2 years and have between 15 – 1,000 employees. Companies must produce products or services related to manufacturing; software development companies are not eligible for this particular Ontario business grant.
Eligible Projects for Canadian Business Grants
Projects funded by Ontario business grants must improve the productivity and exporting abilities of the business. CME recommends that these projects are not too large or complicated because all eligible projects will have a one year deadline for completion from their project start date. CME’s business funding grant will only provide a maximum of $75,000 or 33.3% of eligible expenses. Projects over $325,000 will not receive the same proportion of project funding as smaller projects. Businesses will be responsible for submitting a business plan and quotes regarding all of their project activities.
Some of the Eligible Project Areas Include:
- International Market Expansion – Developing a competitive strategy and a marketing mix
- New Market Development – targeting potential customers in foreign markets
- Commercialization – marketing research and product advertising
- Purchases of new or upgraded equipment and technologies
- Investments in Sustainable and Green Technologies – reducing waste, using alternative fuels
- Lean Productivity Improvement Investments (Materials are not eligible expenses)
Projects will not be considered eligible if they have received funding from other types of Canadian business grants. If your company has received business funding grants from CME’s previous SMART Program in the past, you would only be entitled to an overall sum $100,000 from both programs. SMART will only consider applications for projects that have not started before October 31, 2011 and are less than 50% complete at date of online application submission. However, you can only begin to incur project expenses after you submit your application, not before.
Eligible Activities for CME Business Funding Grants
Purchases of New or Upgraded Equipment and Technology
- Costs of purchasing capital (excluding land, buildings, vehicles, and intangible assets).
- Third Party Installation costs.
- Consulting fees. This would include expenses for Engineering and Lean Process consultants as well as strategic planners.
- Direct labour and other training expenses associated with the implementation of the new equipment or technology will not be covered.
Foreign Trade Shows
- The booth rental or acquisition expenses.
- Registration for the tradeshow and booth space expenses.
- Trade show media advertising.
- Travel expenses and accommodations of the employees.
- Shipping and transportation costs of the tradeshow materials.
- The promotional materials such as t-shirts and pens.
- Commissions of the tradeshow employees.
- Independent market research (it must be conducted by a consultant approved by CME).
- NEW Independent business marketing plans. This would include the expenses for an online marketing plan as long as it has some ‘offline’ components.
- Foreign customer testing of the product.
- All Costs associated with the public relations and press releases for exporting activities.
- The expenses associated with implementing the marketing plan would not be eligible(media advertising, media placement, and promotional materials).
- Product brochures that are developed by a third party distribution and shipping costs of these are not covered.
Foreign Regulation Compliance
- Foreign legal costs; including expenditures for patents in foreign countries and regulation approval testing.
- Packaging redesign for foreign markets carried out by a third party. These would include changes to instructions, packaging and warranties regarding possible cultural differences or language barriers.
- Foreign Website Development. This only applies to websites that require translation into a new language. Website updates and improvements that are not related to foreign market expansion will not be considered eligible.
- The shipping and communication costs regarding packaging or other activities would not be covered.
- Transportation and accommodation costs are not covered.
- Any fines or penalties incurred from non-compliance with foreign regulations.
- Fees for administrators (administrative fees regarding CME reporting would be considered eligible for up to 5% of the project cost)
Learning More about Funding for Small Business
Manufacturers in Southern Ontario who are interested in this program should create an account via the CME SMART Prosperity Now Online Application Page. If you would like to acquire more information or be kept up-to-date with this program, please contact one of our Government Funding Experts or subscribe to our blog or E-newsletter which is located on the right-hand side of this page.