Canadian Government Funding for Small Businesses

Canadian government funding programs can support small businesses, large corporations, non-profits and post-secondary research institutions. However, the key to accessing these programs are knowing which ones provide the best fit for your organization and upcoming projects.

Many government grant and loan applicants miss out on their true funding potential because they are unaware of the scope of funds available, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Business leaders should browse the top funding programs below to learn more about commonly accessed government grants and loans.

List of Canadian Government Grants and Loans for Small Businesses

The most popular government grants for small businesses in Canada can be categorized into four project-related funding areas:

Each program has specific and unique eligibility criteria that you should review prior to applying to ensure your business and project are eligible. If you would like information on a specific program, please click on the program name to learn more.

Have questions about a small business funding program? Send us a message via our Contact Form or call our toll free number (1-888-599-3111).

 

Government
Funding
Program
Description Business
Expansion
Capital
Adoption
Hiring &
Training
R & D
Accessible Technology Program (ATP) The Accessible Technology Program is designed to support the development and testing of assistive technologies. It provides up to $4 million per project/year to improve digital and knowledge economy participation among persons with disabilities. Projects must:

  • Be specifically targeted to enable active participation in the digital and knowledge-based economy; and
  • Be financially accessible to Canadians with disabilities and commercially available in the long-term.
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Agricultural Clean Technology Program (ACT) The Agricultural Clean Technology (ACT) Program supports research, development, and adoption of clean technologies through investments in, and promotion of precision agriculture and agri-based bioproducts. It provides up to 50% to a maximum of $5M per project:

  • Developing clean technologies;
  • Accelerating adoption of on-farm clean technologies;
  • Piloting and evaluating clean technologies;
  • Basic and applied research and more.
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AgriInnovate The AgriInnovate Program helps businesses commercialize and/or adopt innovative agri-based products, technologies, processes or services. It provides up to $10M in repayable funding contributions to support:

  • Adoption of clean technologies, including precision agriculture;
  • Advanced manufacturing, automation and robotics; and
  • Projects strengthening value-added products/services.
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Alberta Export Support Fund The Export Support Fund provides assistance to Alberta SMEs focused on reaching new markets through attending trade shows. Grants will offset up to 50% of costs related to:

  • Airfare to/from the event
  • Select accommodation
  • Trade show registration
  • Marketing material translation
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Alberta Innovates Research Funding Programs
Alberta Innovates offers several research funding programs for Alberta businesses to:

  • Test or showcase advanced technologies
  • Hire research, development, and commercialization employees
  • Perform collaborative research and development projects
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Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit The Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit (AJCTC) supports the hiring of new apprentices through wage subsidies. Up to $2,000 per year/employee can be accessed. check-mark
Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF)
The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) provides up to 75% of eligible project costs to a maximum $3M in research funding to develop and commercialize technologies that:

  • Have a strong research and development component
  • Have a high potential for commercialization
  • Provide economic development opportunities for Atlantic Canada
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Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) WinterTech Development Program The AVIN WinterTech Development Program provides up to $500k for Ontario SMEs to validate, test, prototype & demonstrate new products/technologies that meet the demands of winter weather conditions. Priority areas include:

  • Mass light vehicles (such as cars, trucks, and vans)
  • Heavy-duty vehicles (such as trucks and commercial vehicles)
  • Transportation infrastructure
  • Intelligent transportation systems
  • Transit-supportive systems and vehicles
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AV Research and Development Partnership Fund: Technology Demonstrations The AV Research and Development Partnership Fund: Technology Demonstration stream provides up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $1 million in research grants to develop, prototype, and validate innovative autonomous vehicle technologies. Priority areas include:

  • Mass light vehicles (such as cars, trucks, and vans)
  • Heavy-duty vehicles (such as trucks and commercial vehicles)
  • Transportation infrastructure
  • Intelligent transportation systems
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BC Rural Dividend Program The BC Rural Dividend Program provides up to 60-100% of eligible project expenses to assist rural British Columbia communities and non-profit organizations to reinvigorate and diversify the local economy. Funding priorities include:

  • Community capacity building
  • Workforce development
  • Community and economic development
  • Business sector development
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Business Scale-up and Productivity Program (Southern Ontario) The FedDev Ontario Business Scale-up and Productivity Program accelerates company growth and helps adopt/adapt innovative technologies that support productivity. Funding Supports:

  • Early adoption or adaptation of innovative technologies and processes
  • Commercializing/producing new products or processes
  • Expanding management capacity
  • Researching/developing export markets
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Business Scale-up and Productivity Program (Western Canada) The Western Business Scale-up and Productivity Program accelerates company growth and helps adopt/adapt innovative technologies that support productivity. Funding Supports:

  • Early adoption or adaptation of innovative technologies and processes
  • Commercializing/producing new products or processes
  • Expanding management capacity
  • Researching/developing export markets
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Canada Job Grant (CJG) The Canada Job Grant offers up to 50-83% to a maximum $10,000 in training grants/trainee to enhance your workforce.

  • Most training that improves skillsets and career advancement is eligible.
  • Training can be carried out throughout the calendar year.
  • Each province has its own sub-program with unique funding contributions and eligibility criteria. This excludes Quebec which has a similar but distinct source of training grants.
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Canada Media Fund: Experimental Stream The Canada Media Fund: Experimental Stream is a government grant for developing, producing, and promoting innovative, interactive software development projects including apps and video games.

  • 3 streams: Conceptualization, Prototyping, Production and Promotion
  • Covers up to 75% of eligible costs to a maximum $1.5 million
  • Canadian companies can apply if ≥75% of content is developed in Canada
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Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP) The Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP) offers small businesses with <$10M in annual gross revenues can receive loan funding for expansion activities up to $1M.

  • Competitive interest rates
  • Can apply at a financial institution or credit union
  • May require a business plan
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Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP)
The Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) is a five-year (2018-2023) program offering government grants are repayable funding contributions to businesses and organizations operating in Canada’s agriculture, agri-food and beverage sectors. It offers funding to support:

  • Domestic and international market expansion
  • Research and development of innovative products/processes
  • Infrastructure and equipment purchases
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Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Processors Stream
As a part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Ontario Processors stream supports businesses that modify or manufacture agricultural products. Eligible applicants may receive up to 25% to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum $20,000 to $250,000 in grant funding for projects such as:

  • ERP implementation
  • Ingredient and waste monitoring and improvement
  • Productivity improvements (technology, production tools, etc.)
  • Projects focused on new product development and testing
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Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Ontario Producers Stream
As a part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Ontario Producers stream supports businesses that grow, raise, or otherwise produce agricultural products.  Eligible applicants may receive up to 30% to 50% of eligible expenses to a maximum $2,500 to $75,000 in grant funding for projects such as:

  • Business planning and improvements
  • Nutrient application and recovery
  • Food safety and traceability
  • New product or process development
  • Domestic and international marketing
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Canadian Agricultural Partnership: Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative
As a part of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, the Place to Grow: Agri-Food Innovation Initiative stream supports non-profits, industry organizations, and collaborative partnerships between two or more parties who represent or are actively involved in the agricultural industry. It offers up to 50%-75% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $1 million to support:

  • Economic development
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Protection and assurance.
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Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC)
The Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC) supports Canadian manufacturers implementing energy management and ISO 50001 pilot projects with up to 50% of costs to a maximum $40,000. This covers:

  • Development and distribution of information related to energy efficiency
  • Development and delivery of training
  • Assessments, evaluations and benchmarking studies
  • Development of technical guides and reports, and implementation plans
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Canadian International Innovation Program (CIIP) The Canadian International Innovation Program (CIIP) supports collaborative research and development projects between Canadian businesses and international partners in Brazil, China, India, Israel, or South Korea.

  • Covers up to 50% of costs to a maximum $600,000 in government grants
  • Used for technology adaptation, validation, and co-development projects
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CanExport
CanExport offers Canadian government funding to assist businesses with export marketing activities in markets representing less than 10% or $20,000 of total sales over the last 24 months. Its exporting grants cover:

  • Trade shows, conferences, and related marketing and travel
  • Third party market research and competitive analysis
  • Product certifications & translation of marketing and packaging
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CanExport Innovation (CXI) The CanExport Innovation (CXI) program offers Canadian government grants for businesses pursuing collaborative research and development relationships with an international partner. Companies may receive up to 75% of project expenses up to $75,000 to formalize research partnerships in a global market. Grants cover the costs of:

  • Travel including airfare and local transportation
  • Accommodations such as hotels
  • Meals and incidentals
  • Visa applications
  • Other non-research related costs such as meeting or administrative expenses.
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CDMN Soft Landing Program The CDMN Soft Landing Program delivers funding for mature startups and SMEs to enter into new markets, close international sales, or connect with new partners. The program connects businesses to local incubators to help fund international business activities.

  • Up to $4K in funding for international activities
  • Partnership with local business accelerator for market development
  • Desk space and associated services covered by CDMN for up to 3 months
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Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF)
The Climate Action Incentive Fund (CSBP) offers SMEs (up to 500 employees) in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick up to $250k in funding for projects that decrease energy usage, reduce carbon pollution, and save money. Projects are to be in the following sectors:

  • Agriculture, building, electricity, energy
  • Fuel, industrial, transportation, waste
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Commercialization for Small Business Program (CSBP) Manitoba
The Commercialization for Small Business Program (CSBP) offers Manitoba businesses up to $250k in funding towards commercialization of innovative products and processes. Projects can include:

  • Product development
  • Product commercialization
  • International market development
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Dairy Processing Investment Fund (DPIF)
The Dairy Processing Investment Fund (DPIF) provides up to 50% of project expenses to improve the competitiveness of Canadian dairy processors. Offers up to $10M for capital investment projects and up to $250k to access expertise.

  • Technology development or adoption to make use of surplus milk
  • Improving a facility’s capacity to use milk/components
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Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) supports business expansion projects that create jobs within eastern Ontario, provides up to $1.5M in grant funding or a $5M fully repayable loan depending on the project size. Eligible costs include:

  • Capital Equipment
  • Leasehold Improvements
  • Direct Labour
  • Skills Training
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Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstration (EVID) Program The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstration Program provides up to $3M for demonstrations of next-generation and innovative electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Eligible activities include the permanent:

  • Installation;
  • Operation; and
  • Management of EV charging and H2 refueling infrastructure
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ENCQOR 5G SME Technology Development Program (5G SDP) The ENCQOR 5G SME Technology Development Program helps Ontario-based small and medium sized businesses partner with larger “anchor firms” to collaboratively address pre-commercial technology R&D projects using the ENCQOR 5G Innovation Platform as a Service (iPaaS) testbed. Funding ranges from $50k-$500k.

Areas of technology interest are defined in Challenge Statements submitted to OCE by the ENCQOR 5G Anchor Firms and posted to the OCE website on a rolling basis.

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Green Municipal Fund The Green Municipal Fund provides financial support to municipalities demonstrating an innovative solution or approach to environmental issues. It offsets up to 50-80% of eligible expenses for all stages of environmental projects, including:

  • Planning
  • Conducting feasibility studies
  • Leading pilot projects
  • Investing in capital projects
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Hiring Grants and Wage Subsidies
Small businesses across Canada may receive up to 50% of a recent post-secondary graduate’s wages to a maximum $14,000 to $20,000 to hire them for a position related to:

  • Business systems and process management
  • Research and development
  • Sales and marketing
  • Green and environmental studies
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IESO Conservation Fund The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) created the Conservation Fund to provide support for significant advances in new conservation and demand management programs, practices and technologies that impact Ontario’s initiative to reduce electricity consumption by 2030. Eligible costs are those related to developing or piloting conservation programs , practices and technologies, including:

  • Design and development
  • Installation and implementation
  • Testing and measurement
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Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) The Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program helps businesses research, develop, and test novel solutions based on problems experienced by Canada’s Department of National Defence. Government contracts can be awarded throughout the process, which includes:

  • Establishing the solution’s merit, innovation, and impact
  • Progressing a solution to a higher technology readiness level
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Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) The Innovative Solutions Canada program supports incorporated, for-profit startups and SMEs across Canada to participate in federal government departmental innovation challenges. Companies may submit their innovative ideas, then receive funding for:

  • Proof of concept (government grants up to $150k)
  • Prototype development (government grants up to $1M)
  • First sale (government procurement contract with no fixed maximum)
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Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) – National Research Council (NRC) The NRC-IRAP’s research project funding contributions may provide up to $10 million in Canadian business grants towards developing or improving technologies using internal technical employees. Eligible projects include:

  • Product development and improvement
  • Process development and improvement
  • Technology development and improvement
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Low Carbon Economy Challenge The Low Carbon Economy Challenge provides Canadian government funding to projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It offers a minimum $1M in government funding to support the implementation of activities or technologies associated with the following project themes:

  • Building energy efficiency and fuel switching;
  • Industrial, forestry and agriculture projects;
  • Waste;
  • Transportation;
  • Low-emissions fuel production; and
  • Electricity and/or energy production.
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Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program (MIOP)
The Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program (MIOP) provides low-interest rate repayable funding contributions of up to 20% project costs, to a maximum $500k-$5M to attract investment from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) expanding or starting a new business in Manitoba. Funding can be used to:

  • Expand existing facilities or build new production facilities
  • Adaption and adoption of innovative technology
  • Hire and train new/existing employees
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Mitacs Accelerate Mitacs Accelerate provides up to $7,500 to support 4-month internships. During this time, graduate students spend 50% of time on-site with the SME and 50% of time at a post-secondary institution to solve a research-related challenge. This includes:

  • Innovative research
  • Methods and development of tools
  • Prototype models
  • Technology or solutions to support challenges
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Mitacs Elevate Mitacs Elevate offers funding for industry/academic partnerships to solve industry issues through collaborative R&D projects up to 2 years in length. Industry focuses include:

  • ICT
  • Health Science & Technology
  • Clean Technology
  • Advanced Manufacturing
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NGen Manufacturing Program The NGen Manufacturing Program supports collaborative technology development and application projects that help Canadian manufacturing companies compete globally. Offsets up to 44.4% of project costs to form a partnership of at least three private-sector companies in tech and manufacturing to:

  • Develop high potential technologies
  • Create groundbreaking process transformation
  • De-risk the adoption of technology
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Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) Funding Programs NOHFC funding programs serve a wide range of northern Ontario’s developmental needs by:

  • Offering Ontario business grants for hiring recent graduates
  • Offsetting northern businesses’ capital costs
  • Providing funding for community development projects
  • Promoting innovative Northern Ontario businesses, and more
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NSERC Engage
or
NSERC Alliance
The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) offers funding to offset the fees associated with conducting a formal research project at a Canadian college or university.

  • College-industry research partnerships can access funding through through NSERC Engage
  • University-industry research partnerships can access funding through NSERC Alliance
  • Addresses a company-specific innovation challenge
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OCE Customer Demonstration Program
The OCE Customer Demonstration Program provides up to $50,000 in government grants to support technology demonstrations between two or more Ontario-based businesses. Projects should:

  • Advance computing innovation
  • Enhance productivity, competitiveness and skills development
  • Bridge barriers to adopting emerging computing technology
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OCE Market Readiness Program
The OCE Market Readiness Program provides up to $125k-$250k in Ontario small business grants to scale-up an innovative academic spinoff business through its customer creation and company building stages. Eligible activities include:

  • Website and marketing material development
  • Trade show participation
  • Training employees
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OCE Voucher Programs OCE vouchers provide funding for collaborative projects between businesses and universities and colleges to:

  • Develop new products for export markets
  • Solve industry concerns
  • Commercialize innovations
  • Develop online marketing tools
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Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP) The Ontario Automotive Modernization Program helps automotive businesses improve productivity through the adoption of lean manufacturing processes and Industry 4.0-related technologies. It provides up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $100,000 for:

  • Lean manufacturing processes to improve operational efficiency.
  • New manufacturing technologies to spur productivity and innovation.
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Ontario Creates Interactive Digital Media (IDM) Fund The Ontario Creates Interactive Digital Media Fund offers Ontario business funding to support the conceptualization and production of interactive digital media (usually software and gaming products) with the intent to inform, educate, and entertain. Two streams exist:

  • Concept Definition: The creation of storyboards and conceptualization of the digital media
  • Production: The programming and development of the interactive digital media
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Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC) The Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit supports Ontario producers of interactive digital media products through tax credits for:

  • Labour costs related to production
  • Marketing expenses
  • Distribution costs
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Protein Industries Canada (PIC) The Protein Industries Canada program supports businesses and their partners to complete plant protein and plant-based co-product research and development projects, including:

  • Product development
  • Technology development
  • Production efficiency enhancement
  • Export supply chain development
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Regional Innovation Ecosystem (RIE) The Regional Innovation Ecosystem program funds a wide range of projects that develop industry clusters and consortia, build ecosystem capacity, and support business growth, competitiveness, and innovation.

  • Ideal applicants are Southern Ontario non-profit organizations
  • Helps applicants develop programming to enhance regional business competitiveness and innovation.
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Rural Economic Development Fund (RED) The Rural Economic Development Fund (RED) supports regional economic development activities of non-profits in rural southern Ontario.

  • Innovation and collaborative activities
  • Support the growth of rural Ontario communities with populations of <100,000
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SD Tech Fund The SD Tech Fund is designed to assist with pre-commercialization strategies of clean technologies. Non-repayable grant supports productivity improvements and competitive advantage for activities such as:

  • Capital items
  • Goods and services
  • Personnel labour costs
  • Depreciation expenses
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Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) The Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) supports growth of knowledge-based industry SMEs through loans to meet these innovative business challenges. Loans help finance:

  • Late stage commercialization
  • New applications or markets
  • New product or service development
  • Development/Implementation of new processes or technologies
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Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) supports business expansion projects that create jobs and secure large-scale investments. It provides up to $1.5M in grant funding or a $5M fully repayable loan depending on the project size. Eligible costs include:

  • Capital Equipment
  • Leasehold Improvements
  • Direct Labour
  • Skills Training
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Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)
The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) offers up to 50% of project expenses towards:

  • Accelerating technology transfer and commercialization of innovative products, processes and services
  • Facilitating the growth and expansion of firms in Canada
  • Attracting and retaining large-scale investments to Canada
  • Advancing industrial R&D through collaboration between academia, non-profits and the private sector.
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TECTERRA Funding for Geomatics Companies TECTERRA offers small business funding support programs for geomatics companies in Canada, including:

  • Commercialization Funding Programs
  • Research & Development Funding
  • Business Support Programs
  • Hiring Grants and Wage Subsidies
  • Networking Programs
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Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention Fund (WRAPP)
The Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention Fund (WRAPP) offers up to $50,000 in Manitoba business grants to develop and implement more sustainable waste management or pollution prevention strategies. This includes:

  • Organic waste management
  • Construction and demolition waste management
  • Integrated waste management system development
  • Pollution information and education
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Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative (ZEVAI) The Zero-Emission Vehicle Awareness Initiative provides up to 50% to a max of $50k in funding for projects that address knowledge gaps and awareness among Canadians on ZEV technologies to move Canadians through the consumer continuum to ZEV adoption. Projects include but are not limited to:

  • Training material & practice guides
  • Test drive and trial program
  • Web-based resource and information portal
  • Workplace charging awareness among employees
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Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVI) The Zero-Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program is designed to increase a network of zero-emission vehicle charging (level 2 and higher) and refuelling stations in more localized areas where Canadians live, work, and play. Applicants may receive up to $5M to accquire stations. Stations include:

  • Level 2 (208 / 240 V) charging station
  • Fast-charging station (from 20 kW to < 50 kW)
  • Fast-charging station (from 50 kW and above)
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Finding Canadian Government Grants for Business

Most business owners receive financing through banking institutions. However, they often overlook government grant funding for business activities from both the provincial (i.e. Ontario business grants) and federal levels of government. Canadian small business grants and other funding for small business is abundantly available. It’s important to know the different types of funding for small business. Fortunately, free resources can help sort through the funding landscape, including this Canadian Small Business Funding Guide.

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Register for Free Events on Canadian Government Grants and Loans

Developing a government funding strategy is critically important to your overall success with Canadian business funding programs. The best way to kickstart your government funding strategy development is by registering for a small business funding workshop or webinar, hosted by Mentor Works. These sessions are tailored towards specific business improvement initiatives and industries, which helps business leaders choose a session most appropriate to their current funding needs. Topics range from workforce development (hiring funding), exporting, research and development, and more.

If you would like to learn about grant funding directly from us, please register for an upcoming Free Canadian Funding for Small Business Webinar or Workshop.

Funding Events

Need Help Finding Canadian Government Funding?

Are you uncertain of your eligibility for any of the Canadian government funding programs listed above? The majority of government grants for small businesses are reserved for established SMEs (ie. 3+ years incorporated, 5+ payroll employees, $500,000+ annual revenue). If you are established, please send us a message or register for an upcoming small business funding event. From here, we can further evaluate your eligibility for specific Canadian government funding programs and help you choose the funds most optimal for your business’ growth plans.

Startups & Entrepreneurs

If you’re a startup, the best way to align yourself for future government funding opportunities is by completing the Startup Funding Checklist. This startup funding resource provides priorities for all startups to carry out in order to be best positioned for funding.

Ask a Question about Canadian Government Funding

If you have a funding specific question, feel free to ask it here. The more context you provide, the better we will be able to tailor our responses to your unique business profile.

Apply for Canadian Government Funding