6 Steps to ERP Systems Upgrade/Implementation with Small Business Grants

bigstock-Leader-and-her-team-Young-att-13870619Growing Canadian manufacturing organizations have been increasingly taking advantage of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems achieve workflow automation and improved productivity across operations.  Whether your organization is in need of implementing a new ERP system, or customizing or upgrading an existing system Canadian small business grants are available to help reduce the costs of these human and financial resource intensive projects.

A Comprehensive and Cost-Effective Approach to ERP Upgrade/Implementation

Small to medium-sized companies across Canada have received funding to cover an average of 70% of outside project costs by partnering with Mentor Works Canadian government funding experts. This article outlines a step-by-step process to follow in order to choose the right system while lowering the financial burden through the leveraging of Canadian small business grants.

STEP 1:  Confirm Eligibility for Canada Small Business Grants

For some firms an ERP system implementation or upgrade is inevitable with or without access to Canadian government grants. For others, leveraging small business government grants can enable them to take on the project sooner and with a comprehensive approach. If government funding for small business is necessary in order to consider taking on the project today look to the following eligibility criteria in order to ascertain whether or not your firm will be eligible.

General Eligibility Criteria for the Majority of Canadian Business Grants and Loans:

  • Incorporated for at least 3 years
  • 15 employees or more
  • Manufacture or perform R&D in Canada
  • Cash-flow positive for the last 2 years

STEP 2:  Partner with Reputable and Trusted ERP Experts

Once you have decided to explore the implementation or upgrade of an ERP system the next step is to reach out to a reputable vendor. The vendor will be able to provide a walkthrough of their solutions and how they could be best leveraged by an organization of your nature to optimize workflows and provide automation.  Discussion will also touch on your company’s operations model and current barriers to productivity.

STEP 3:  Access IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) Canadian Business Grants to Cover Costs from the Planning and Analysis

IRAP is able to fund this as a part of your ERP planning or as a stand-alone lean process optimization/ evaluation. The ERP design stage will involve developing streamlined and standardized workflows with automation for future state. Target key gaps with largest impact from the analysis. This involves selecting modules for implementation and determining the level of customization. What follows is a statement of work from your vendor with a comprehensive detailing of modules which will be adopted, functional / operational areas impacted, and a breakdown of the anticipated system functionality and projected efficiency gains.

IRAP Funding for ERP Implementation and Customization

After consulting with Mentor Works small business grants and loans experts you will be recommended to reach out to your Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) representative in order to discuss the merit of your project. Forging a positive long-term relationship with your representative can open up opportunities for well over $50,0000 of funding money per year. You will be looking to utilize IRAP’s Accelerated Review Process (ARP) funding program, which is a maximum $50,000 grant towards your ERP project or prerequisite activities, such as process audits and overhauls required to properly implement your new ERP platform.

Details of IRAP’s Accelerated Review Process Canadian Government Grants

  • IRAP funding through IRAP ARP will support up to 80% of direct labour costs and 50% of subcontractor fees, up to $50,000,
  • Other projects eligible for this funding includes Business Process Mapping (BPM), Lean Manufacturing Projects, and others that focus on solving a technical challenge,
  • IRAP small business grants funding is available Canada-wide and runs from April 1st to March 31st annually.

STEP 4: Utilize Canadian Business Grants for Training to Offset Training Costs Incurred During Development and Deployment Stages

The Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) is a small business grant that provides businesses with funding for training their employees. Businesses can obtain up to $10,000 per employee to cover 66.67% of training costs.

STEP 5:  Access Small Business Grants for Hiring on New Staff During and After ERP Roll-out

Once your organization’s new ERP system is up and humming you may be looking to hire additional scheduling personnel for continued operation and maintenance of the system, while others find the hiring of new production staff is warranted due to improved efficiency and the desire to expand.  Availability of funding through specific government business grants for hiring programs tend to fluctuate, but several programs released annually provide between $12K and $20K in support for new hires.  Reach out to Mentor Works 4-8 weeks before your intended new hire start date and we can advise you on the most suitable funding for hiring program available.

STEP 6: Seek Canadian Government Funding for Further ERP Customization as Required

While planning in advance always recommended when it comes to access to government funding, you can apply for funding to support a project more than once by breaking it into stages.  Once your organizations ERP system has been implemented, for example, you may choose to adopt additional modules and customization as required; such as: barcoding systems, expansion across additional functional areas, etc.  By this time your organization will be familiar with the process while having developed a rapport with your IRAP representative.

Canadian Government Funding Updates and Support

Mentor Works Ltd. provides Canadian SME’s with small business grants selection and application support services. Sign up for our Canadian government grants and loans weekly e-newsletter in order to stay up to date on new programs and funding release dates.   You can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


  1. In Canada we are a non profit corporation with about 25 employees, that offers, among other things, training and consulting services in a number of business areas, and we want to implement an ERP system.

    in addition, we would like to develop & trial (R&D) some courses to see what we can do to improve the knowledge increase. We would need to develop some courses and then trial them to a small number of people. We would then sell the successfully developed training and coaching courses to our clients globally.

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