Update: The National Research Council (NRC) now offers project-based funding through a single Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). Please visit the NRC-IRAP Research Project Contributions page for more information.

bigstock-Innovation-word-cloud-illustra-20598500When it comes to funding sources for software development businesses, there is rarely a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are alternatives to relying too heavily on venture capital. Through our work with dozens of Canadian software developers, Mentor Works has compiled a list of the most valuable small business grants and loans programs available to software developers.

1. IRAP ARP Research and Development Funding

Through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), the Federal Government provides Canadian government grants for SME’s to help them commercialize their innovative technologies and products.

IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) Small Business Grants Canada

IRAP funding for research and development program supports eligible small businesses committed to R&D, who can receive as much as $50,000 in Canadian government grants via the Accelerated Review Process funding program. IRAP ARP Funding can be used to cover up to 80% of direct labor and 50% of contractor fees to develop and commercialize new technology or products, as well as solve any other internal technical challenge.

IRAP Funding Example Projects:

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

2. Solve Innovation Challenges with IRAP Mid-sized Projects Funding

Another excellent IRAP funding program that businesses are less aware of is IRAP Mid-Sized Projects.

IRAP Funding for Mid-Sized Projects

IRAP Funding for Mid-Sized Projects supports projects that are larger than either IRAP ARP or Digital Technology Adoption Program (DTAPP).  The exact amount of IRAP funding will be determined by an IRAP representative.

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.

Projects that Typically Qualify for IRAP Funding for Mid-Sized Projects:

  • The development of new products, including manufacturing process analysis & product testing
  • The creation of original software
  • R&D, prototyping, feasibility studies

3. Receive up to $20K in Small Business Grants for Hiring a Recent Graduate

Offering one of the most generous wage-subsidies we have seen in recent months, The Human Resource and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) Career Focus offers up to $20/hour of a recent graduate’s wages up to $20,000 total over a 25-week term.

HRSDC Small Business Grants for Hiring

This program is for businesses that have the ability to plan their new hires in advance, but otherwise nearly every position can find funding through this program so long as the recent graduate hired has a background in the related field and is 30 years of age or younger.

Example Positions Hired through this Canadian Business Grants Program

Engineer, Financial Analyst, Marketing Analyst, Administrative Assistant, Software Developer, Graphic Designer, and many more.

4. Get Approved for Ontario Business Loans of up to $500K

Funded by FedDev Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative, the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) supports SMEs across Ontario.

SOFII Small Business Loans Ontario

The primary focus of this Ontario business loans program is to help SMEs with late-stage commercialization, new product or service development, new applications or markets, and development or implementation of new processes or technologies.

Other SOFII Ontario Small Business Loans Details

  • Depending on the applicant’s risk profile the interest rate is said to be between 8-12%
  • 10 year amortization, 4-10 year term loan
  • Possible to allow up to 6 months of interest-only payments at the beginning of the loan

Stay Connected with Canadian Small Business Grants and Loans Experts

Keep in touch with Mentor Works Canadian government funding experts by subscribing to our Canadian government funding for small business weekly e-newsletter and by following us on LinkedInYouTubePinterestGoogle+, and Twitter.

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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.

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