software development technologyDoes your business have a software development idea that it wants to advance while conserving equity?  Finding information is difficult as data is scattered across a multitude of different government and non-profit sites.  What is more, there is no one grant that is the best for everyone, as they are each suited for different types of ventures, businesses, and projects.  Fortunately, through our work with hundreds of clients, we have come to learn which Canadian government funding programs are the best for software development ventures, and we also provide support services to help navigate you through the process.  Mentor Works has summarized the best small business grants and funding support for software development below.

1. R&D Projects: IRAP Canadian Small Business Grants

IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP)

The federal government of Canada provides Canadian government funding support to Canadian SME’s to help commercialized their innovative products and technologies.  The IRAP ARP Funding program provides funding for technical problem solving through grant funding for business research and development.

Through this government funding for small business hiring program businesses are eligible to receive up to $50,000 in non-repayable small business grants.   IRAP ARP is applicable to 80% of direct labor and 50% of contractor fees necessary to carry out development and commercialization of new products or technology.  Some of the project activities that are eligible under this Canadian government grant program include:

  • Competitive market and product research
  • Technical and market consulting
  • Productivity Improvements
  • IP management and licencing
  • Global marketing strategies
  • Software implementation
  • Production planning and design

 IRAP Mid-sized Projects

IRAP Mid-sized Projects is another government funding for business program from the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) family of small business funding grants that supports businesses that are working to solve an innovation challenge through technology and research.   IRAP Mid-sized projects are those which are $50K and greater in size.  In order to be eligible for this Canadian government funding program the applicant firm must have at least one person on payroll.
Some of the project types that are eligible to receive funding under this stream include:

  • Creation of Original Software
  • Development of New Products, Including Manufacturing Process Analysis and Product Testing
  • R&D, Prototyping, Feasibility Studies, and Commercialization of New Technologies and Products

 2. Business Funding Grants for Hiring

ICTC Career Focus funding for business

The ICTC Career Focus government funding for small business hiring program aims focuses on candidates in the field of information and communications technology.  2013 has not yet seen the release of funds for these particular small business grants wage subsidy program, but we all anticipate its release in early of April 2013.  This Canadian government funding program is excellent for companies that are looking to overhaul their online presence through the building or revamping of their website, taking on search engine optimization (SEO), digging into social media marketing, as well as embarking on any type of software development or IT-related project.  Career Focus covers 50% of the successful candidate’s wage, up to $12,750 for a 4-8 moth internship.

Graduate Enterprise Internship –iSTEM Program

The Graduate Enterprise Internship – iSTEM Program is available only to companies in Ontario.   This Ontario government funding program provides support to companies that hire STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) graduates for a six month internship.  For these Ontario business grants there are two different streams of funding available:

  • Bachelor’s Graduate: $10,000, or up to 50% of wages
  • Master’s/Ph.D Graduate: $15,000, or up to 50% of wages

3. Research and Development Funding for Post-Secondary Collaboration

There are a number of valuable Canadian government funding opportunities to engage in post-secondary collaboration projects, in order to be able to take advantage of them a business needs to keep an inside track on what is out there.

University of Waterloo Engineering Design Project

Small business grants post-secondary collaboration programs like these are becoming increasingly popular among the business community and provide excellent opportunities for companies that are looking for solutions to their technological problems.   This funding for small business program entails teams of 3-4 students for a total effort of approximately 1000 hours over the course of the 12-month project is applied to a local business collaboration software development project.

During the second 4-month term, organizations will have the opportunity to hire a student(s) from the project team as a co-op placement; otherwise the term will break from work on the project.  Each project is supervised by a faculty member in the Department of Management Sciences.

The University of Waterloo’s Engineering Faculty is currently calling for proposals to be a part of Management Sciences and Engineering Design Projects with senior undergraduates enrolled expecting to graduate in 2014.  Contact a Canadian government funding expert for more information on how your company can become involved.

NSERC Applied Research and Commercialization

This grant funding for business initiative is expected to relaunch shortly for 2013 and provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) and post-secondary institutions the opportunity to collaborate and in doing so address the gap between research and commercialization.  For this collaboration effort, the university involved in the program will receive up to $100K while SME’s will be expected to contribute a minimum of 33% of the project costs.  Government funding for small business grants support activities such as proof of concept, demonstration and piloting, problem solving, certification, product test, technology development, engineering design, and product and process applied research.   This Canadian government funding program is currently closed; keep an eye on the post-secondary collaboration programs section of our blog for updates on releases of funds for this program and more like it.

4. Ontario Small Business Grants for Marketing & Export Expansion

Export Market Access (EMA)

Through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and FedDev, small and medium-sized companies are afforded the opportunity to expand into global markets such as China, Hong Kong, India, and the US.  The amount provided through this program is a maximum of $30K, non-refundable or 50% of the project and it can be used towards two trade shows within a 12-month period.  Only one application can be funded through EMA at a time. In order to be eligible for this Canadian government funding for business program applicant firms must have between 5-500 employees on payroll, greater than $500K in revenues and at least 2 years incorporated.   Activities eligible for government business grants Ontario include:  Attendance of international trade shows, fairs and exhibits, marketing tools to help communicate the value of products and services to your audience, market research for targeting specific international markets, and bidding on foreign projects against foreign competition.

Stay in Touch with Mentor Works for Additional Insight & Support

To receive additional advice or support regarding Ontario small business grants applications, contact a Canadian Government Funding Expert or sign up for a  Funding for Small Business Workshop. For regular updates regarding Canadian Small Business Grants, follow us on Twitter.

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Written by

Ryan has a BA in economics, an MSc in management, and several published works including two books. As Marketing Analyst at Mentor Works, Ryan enjoys communicating with business owners & executives about government grants and funding available to help overcome obstacles to growth.