In business we always hear “you have to spend money to make money,” but where do you get that money from in the first place? There are many ways to generate capital in your business, including loans, grants, and soliciting outside investors. Bootstrapping, or selling services and products to fund your business without outside funds, is also a popular option.
Another great option for many businesses is to seek a Canadian small business grant.
Grants are likened to “free money” for your business. They are a great way to increase your business’ access to funds without the cost or worry of repayment. While loans can be effective to help you move forward on projects to grow your business, you normally have to pay those back and with interest. Grants can get you moving without worrying about how you are going to make the repayments.
To qualify for most grants you need to prove you’re worthy of the funds. This means having a legitimate business and a well-written business plan! It shows to funders that you are serious and are going to use the money to grow your business and support the local or domestic economy. They want to know what you have to offer and your big idea is backed by a strong strategy.
Business plans act as a foundation and a guide for your business too. It’s what you will weigh every business decision against. It’s also going to help you secure future loans and attract investors. Ultimately, whomever is funding or administering the grant wants to know why you need the money and how you intend to use it. They need assurance that you have a reasonable chance for success and the know-how to put that funding to work.
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Something else that funders really appreciate is when you can already fund 20-50% of your business on your own savings. They want to see you investing in your own project, that you’ve done work to generate funds yourself and that you have the motivation required to find resources towards your goals. They don’t want to be the only reason your business can operate; they want to see evidence of stability.
There are many great grants available to small business owners in Canada. So many in fact that we can’t list them all in one article! If you have a solid plan in place and apply for funding that’s relevant to your business activities, you have a chance at generating the infusion of capital that your business needs to grow.
Here are the top 10 Canadian small business grants you may want to consider:
- The Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant. This is a grant provided by the BC provincial government and it provides $10,000 and $30,000 to small and medium-sized BC businesses impacted by COVID-19. There is an extra $5,000 to $15,000 available for businesses in the tourism industry.
- Launch Online Grant. This BC government grant helps businesses upgrade their online presence to allow customers to book services or buy goods from them online. It covers up to 75% of eligible expenses, up to $7,500 per business. The grant can also be put towards digital marketing training, advertising, and even photography.
- CanExport Program. This Canadian Federal Government grant covers up to 75% of eligible project expenses associated with export marketing and international expansion activities. The maximum allowable amount per project is $75,000 and two projects per fiscal year can be submitted. Read our recent article with more tips for applying for a CanExport Grant.
- Canada Job Grant. This grant helps cover 50-100% of the costs of third-party training for employees, $5,000-$15,000 per employee. Each province operates its own version of the grant and has flexibility to meet the needs of the businesses in its jurisdiction.
- Innovative Solutions Canada. With three levels of funding available, Innovative Solutions Canada helps businesses overcome tech challenges so they can create services and products people need and improve the way the government operates. The grants range from $150,000 to $1,000,000 and can extend to government procurement contracts.
- Strategic Innovation Fund. This Canadian government grant is designed to boost technology development and productivity. It can cover up to half of project costs and has three different streams available for different types of organizations and projects.
- Mitacs. Mitacs funds up to 55% of projects and connects researchers to support them. They fund collaborations between institutions and business to solve problems and innovate together.
- Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP). This grant offers up to $10M that can cover up to 80% of direct labour and 50% of sub-contractor expenses. It’s designed to increase innovation capacity and bring ideas to market and is funded by the National Research Council of Canada.
- Next Generation Manufacturing Canada. Covering 44.4% of eligible project expenses, this grant is designed for projects with expenses between $1M and $20M and that have a goal of developing technology and applications that make the manufacturing sector more competitive.
- Canada Periodical Fund. Specific to the publishing industry, this grant supports Canadian print magazines, community newspapers and digital periodicals. It has programs to help publishers, the industry, and to generate business innovation. This grant program was conceptualized to help the publishing industry overcome market challenges and make sure Canadians can continue to access quality Canadian content.
With so many Canadian small business grant options available today, it’s an amazing time to have a business that you want to grow. Growth is dependent on having a strong business foundation to help support your company’s direction. It’s also a requirement for these and many other top Canadian small business grants.
With all the day-to-day activities you have to run your business, you don’t have time to add another 4000-5000 word document to your to-do list. The good news is there are professional grant writers available to do it for you. One of them is the team at Bsbcon!
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