Canadian Government Grants for Small Business Innovation

Business innovation in Canada has remained stalled in comparison to other developed and developing nations. The Canadian government has invested nearly $25 billion in federal government grants, loans, and tax incentives between 2006 and 2014 to support innovation in Canada, however this strong funding support is still evolving to be better utilized by industry. Compared to 16 “peer” countries as defined by the Conference Board of Canada, the nation consistently ranks at the bottom, given a long-standing ‘D’ grade on a year-after-year basis. Innovative young companies and powerful corporations both need to make better use of small business funding for research in order to improve Canada’s global position and truly innovate.

“The innovation performance of Canadian firms has continued to fall relative to the previous two decades, despite considerable federal efforts in recent years.”
– Paul Rochon, Deputy Minister of Finance

Canadian Small Businesses are Importers of Innovation

Much speculation has been given as to why firms fail to produce innovation in Canada, with the absence of tough competition, a smaller market to provide innovative solutions for, and a higher aversion to risk being some of the most commonly cited reasons. Alternately, one could look towards the industry makeup in Canada versus other countries. And although there are a wide range of programs specifically for manufacturers, Canada has shifted away from the manufacturing sector, which has historically made significant investments into research and development. Instead, Canada is becoming more dependent on the energy and natural resources industry which provides poor investments into innovation.

This has led to Canada becoming an importer of innovation. Canadian firms wait for businesses in other countries to overcome industry challenges, then buy solutions from them in order to remain competitive. Not only does this show the decline of the country’s innovation, but it also affects the bottom line of these organizations.

Canadian Government Grants for Small Business Innovation

Ultimately it’s the responsibility of businesses within Canada to start producing the innovation which is so greatly needed. Federal and provincial funding is continuously available to firms who display the initiative to incorporate innovation into their old methods of doing business. A couple examples of this small business funding include:

Investing in Business Innovation (IBI) is a 0% Ontario government loan where early stage businesses may receive up to $1 million, or 33% of eligible costs towards the late-stage development or early-stage commercialization of innovative projects or processes. This funding may be leveraged to help bring new products to market or assist in late stage development of new technologies.

IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) provides $50,000 in Canadian government funding grants to support technical problem solving for research and development projects. Eligible projects must have some sort of technical risk or challenge to be overcome, thus needing an innovative solution.

Find Small Business Funding with Mentor Works

If your small business is invested in innovative projects, Mentor Works can help you find the Canadian small business funding available to improve your cash flow. With the knowledge of the top Canadian government funding programs available, we would be delighted to assist your business increase its innovative processes. Contact us today to learn about even more small business funding programs, or register for one of our free informative government funding workshops where you’ll learn about specific programs targeted to your industry. To stay updated with daily government funding news and programs, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

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Written by

Jeff Shepherd holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Guelph. He is passionate about Canadian business, economics, and politics. As Marketing Coordinator for Mentor Works, Jeff educates business leaders about proactive funding strategies.

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