There are over 200 unique funding programs available to Canadian businesses.
Mentor Works has been supporting Canadian businesses in accessing and securing funding for growth for over 10 years and has, to-date, secured more than $1B in total funding for our clients.
Our experience and expertise has helped our clients grow, create new jobs, and successfully complete thousands of projects. In this post we want to answer some commonly-asked questions about business funding in Canada. If your question is not in this article, we encourage you to check out additional FAQs we’ve covered over on our website.
Canadian Government Grant Basics
Q: What’s the difference between a government business grant, loan, and tax credit?
A: Throughout Canada, businesses have access to a range of incentives and funding programs to help support growth. These programs incent businesses to make investments in their growth by supporting the cost of the investment through direct funding support. Funding support is provided through a range of mechanisms.
A tax credit program provides a tax credit (which allows a business to reduce their taxable income) for meeting specific program criteria. A grant is a non-repayable contribution towards a project. A loan is a repayable contribution towards a project. Each funding mechanism operates differently, and every specific program will have its own terms and conditions.
Q: Are Canadian business funding programs entitlement programs? What’s a competitive funding program?
A: An entitlement program is defined as a program that companies can participate in simply by meeting the basic criteria. Some tax credit programs, for example, are entitlement programs. If a company meets the criteria, then they are entitled to the benefit of the program. The majority of grant and loan funding programs in Canada are not entitlement programs, but rather, are competitive funding programs.
A competitive funding program is one where a company must submit a competitive proposal to secure the incentive. Competitive funding programs are also called discretionary funding programs, as approval is at the discretion of the funding agency.
Q: How much is available to my business?
A: As there are over 200 unique funding programs available to businesses in Canada there’s no set answer for how much money is available to any one business. Mentor Works helps clients develop a Proactive Funding Plan that will help them maximize their funding potential. Funding amounts vary by program; for smaller programs our clients are typically receiving $50,000-$100,000 and for larger investments we commonly see $1M+ in grants and loans.
Business Grant Specifics
Q: How long will approval take? When will I get my money?
A: Funding approval timelines vary with each program. Most Canadian government funding programs will provide a standard response time for their specific program. In general, we see approvals in as quick as five business days or as long as three to five months depending on the scope of the project, complexity of the investment, and the amount of due diligence required by the government.
Q: What happens if my project changes?
A: Projects change – this happens from time to time, especially when we’re dealing with a project that is as long as three, four, or five years in length. When developing your funding proposal, we will work to ensure the budget and scope of investment is as accurate as possible while still leaving some room for flexibility. If your project has been funded and you have to change it, we always recommend working directly with the funding agency to understand the rules and the impact change may have on your project.
In some cases, funding agencies are ok with changes throughout the project, and others may push back on the level of change. It’s important to be as accurate as possible with your initial proposal and minimize the amount of significant change during a project.
Q: Can I secure more than one grant for a project?
A: Yes; companies can stack government funding programs to maximize an investment. There is usually a stacking limit imposed on a project, but our team will work with you to ensure you are receiving the highest possible return for your investment. Our team routinely works with companies to manage a project budget across multiple funding programs and secure a combination of grants and loans to support the investment.
The Mentor Works Process
Q: How long does Mentor Works take to complete a proposal?
A: Mentor Works’ team of funding experts can complete most proposals within a 15 business day period. Our turnaround time relies on access to information within your company and getting project details back so we can write a competitive proposal. Smaller projects can be completed within three to five business days, and some very large proposals may take up to 20-30 business days – again, all based on how easily we can access information within your company.
Q: Why would I work with Mentor Works?
A: Mentor Works is the leading government funding consultancy in Canada. We complete over 800 projects per year with a very high success rate. We are routinely recommended by our clients, and maintain strong relationships throughout the industry. Our team of experts can help simplify the process, provide you with expert advice, make the funding process more efficient, and increase the likelihood that you’ll receive funding.
Q: How does Mentor Works improve the chances of getting funded?
A: There are two main ways in which we help our clients improve the chances of getting funded. First, we craft competitive and winning funding proposals. Because of the volume of funding proposals we write, we are able to help you better understand the funding programs and how your project aligns with them. This allows us to ensure that there’s a strong fit for your project and put together a strong proposal.
Secondly, we work with you to ensure your budget is fully developed and all costs are considered. This means that when you get funded, you’ll end up with a higher funding contribution. On average we’ve found that our clients are receiving 15-20% more by working with us. This translates to up to $200,000 in additional funding for a larger project than if a client had done it on their own.
Navigate the Government Funding Process
Accessing government funding can be complicated and often requires considerable time and resources. To help streamline the process, Mentor Works has developed the Navigating the Government Funding Process slide deck, which explores the options available when it comes to developing a plan, writing your application, and sending it for review.
Learn how to choose an optimal funding path by downloading the Navigating the Government Funding Process slide deck.