Former U.S. President Barack Obama got it exactly right: “The World Needs More Canada.”
In the context of my role as a Business Funding Analyst at Mentor Works, I am reminded every day of our nation’s agricultural, technological, and manufacturing strengths as I assist Canadian SMEs in preparing their government funding application packages. Their growth projects never cease to amaze me – and with the help of federal and provincial funding programs, the world is indeed gaining more of Canada’s best.
I’ve learned a lot about some of our country’s most valuable resources and commodities since joining Mentor Works in late 2017; I have developed a greater appreciation for the domestic greenhouse-grown produce in my local grocery store, I look forward to welcoming next-generation technology in my community (and my car), and I feel hopeful about new life sciences breakthroughs on the horizon.
Key Learnings from Government Funding Success Stories
While Mentor Works provides writing support to projects in many vastly different industries, there is a commonality to the approaches the applicant companies take to government funding.
Here’s some of what the awarded companies have taught me about finding success with Canadian government grants and loans:
Take a Team Approach
As Jim Collins observed in his bestselling Good to Great business management guide, the most effective business leaders don’t start with envisioning “where” – they start with “who.” In other words, they assemble “the right people” before setting off in the direction of their business goals.
Harvard Business Review reports that CEOs put in a 9.7-hour workday, on average, and do work on 79% of weekend days. Do business leaders have the time to devote hours – let alone days – to prepare a funding application package? Do their staff have the time or the skillset to give this process the care and attention it requires?
Our clients choose Mentor Works’ team of Canadian Government Funding Planners™ to help them navigate the process of identifying and applying for project funding opportunities. This partnership frees them to do what they do best – manage and develop their Canadian SME, advance their growth projects, upskill their workforce – while allowing my colleagues and me to put forward our best analysis, research, and writing skills on their behalf.
Look at the Big Picture
When I first joined Mentor Works, I found the vast array of Canadian government funding available for technology adoption, facility and export expansion, R&D, and hiring and training to be somewhat overwhelming. Kickstarting the funding application process can be a bit like embarking on a major home renovation project; with so many options and so much at stake, it’s difficult to know quite where to begin.
I’ve since learned, like many of our clients, that developing a strategic government funding plan is a key first step. This involves considering your growth projects over the next 12-24 months and identifying where your project activities align with specific funding programs. To borrow the renovation analogy again: developing a plan that breaks your project into successive stages, each with its own set of milestones – and then aligning each stage with the right suppliers and contractors (i.e. expertise) – you will ensure you achieve the end results you seek and also maximize your budget/mitigate project costs as much as possible.
If at First You Don’t Succeed…
Just like your business, the government funding landscape is continually evolving. Programs are discontinued – sometimes expectedly, sometimes not – and others adopt changes to eligibility criteria, scope of projects supported, or maximum funding awarded.
Your funding potential needn’t end with a notice of rejection; organizations that ultimately find funding success are the ones that are willing to “try, try again.” Not only are there a wealth of federal and provincial government funding programs available to support similar project-related funding areas – some of which can be stacked to optimize project support – but Mentor Works can assist you in reviewing and restructuring a previously unsuccessful application for resubmission during a future program intake.
Begin Your Government Funding Journey
If your business has “more Canada” to give and is ready to pursue success with Canadian government grants and loans, please download the free Build a Government Funding Plan slide deck. This resource will reveal a three-step process to plan for, and incorporate, government funding for a greater number of strategic projects.
Learn how to optimize your government funding strategy by accessing the Build a Government Funding Plan slide deck.