Canadian manufacturing plant BCThere is a large variety of Canadian government funding programs that exist for small and medium-sized companies in the manufacturing sector; this includes small business grants and small business loans Ontario.  Unfortunately, few firms take full advantage of all of the government funding mechanisms available, and even less know which programs to utilize in order to support their strategic growth initiatives.   Mentor Works has compiled a list of the Top 5 most popular funding programs for manufacturing firms, from our experience working companies across Ontario. Each program is outlined, including links to stay up to date on deadlines and other specifications as well as a free invitation to learn more about these programs.

1. IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP): Research and Development Funding Grants

Most incorporated manufacturing firms are eligible for several R&D based grant programs through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP Funding). In addition to the Youth Employment Program (YEP), the IRAP offers the IRAP Accelerate Review Process (ARP) is available to provide grant funding for small business that supports 80% of direct labour costs and 50% of subcontractor fees, up to $50,000.   This Canadian government funding for research and development is available for most Canadian corporations that have the capacity to carry out internal R&D and have been incorporated for at least 2 years.  Some of the best uses for these small business grants are Business Process Mapping (BPM), Lean Manufacturing Projects and any project that aims to solve a technical challenge.

Possible Project Types:

  • Web Presence Optimization and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies
  • Technology Adoption, Assessment, and Feasibility Studies
  • Product Development and Commercialization
  • Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Projects

2. Digital Technology Adoption Pilot Program (DTAPP): Grant Funding for Business Software Implementation

IRAP Small business grants provided through this program support Canadian incorporated companies with between 15 to 500 employees that are actively increasing internal efficiencies through the adoption of new forms of technology.   One popular project that companies like to make use of this program for is funding for ERP system implementation and upgrading.   Organizations can receive up to $100,000 in small business funding grants which covers 80% of direct labor and 75% of subcontractor costs associated with the ERP adoption or upgrade project.   DTAPP and IRAP ARP Canadian business grants will not release funding until April, however, companies are already meeting with their reps in anticipation of the re-opening of these government funding for business programs.

Possible Project Types:

  • Extension of ERP Modules for Sales/AR, Multi-Product Configurator and Financial Reporting
  • Revised Implementation of New Software and Order Entry Configurator for Order Placement and Confirmation
  • Adoption of digital systems, including barcoding systems and RFID infrastructures

3. Graduate Enterprise Internship (GEI) or iSTEM: Grant Funding for Hiring New Grads

GEI, or “iSTEM”, provides Ontario business grants for hiring recent grads.   Small and medium-sized businesses are able to hire graduates from any of the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math).  The government funding for business hiring program covers 50% of the graduate’s wages over 6 months, up to $10,000 for a Bachelor’s graduate, and up to $15,000 for a Master’s or PhD graduate. The program is offered at a number of post-secondary institutions, including the University of Waterloo, McMaster University, University of Toronto, Western University, Niagara College, and Ryerson University.

4. CME Smart Prosperity Now Program: Business Funding Grants for Capital Equipment

*This program recently closed.

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) offers this government funding for business program is for manufacturers with an export focus on commercializing new technologies, investing in sustainable and green technology, or are entering a new foreign market and are purchasing new or upgraded equipment in order to improve operational efficiency.   CME business funding grants will cover up to 33% of eligible costs up to $75,000 and the grant is only available for one project per corporation.  These Canadian business grants also require eligible firms to have been incorporated for at least 2 years and have between 15 and 1000 employees.    The application deadline for this program is the end of March 2013 so please contact a Canadian Government Funding Expert immediately if you are interested in the program.

Attend a Free Canadian Government Funding Workshop

Here is your opportunity to learn about all of the Canadian government funding opportunities available for manufacturers.    Choose a date/location from our list of upcoming Free Canadian government funding workshops.

Also, please follow us on Twitter and sign up for our Canadian government funding weekly E-newsletter.  Or visit us at

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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.