All You Need to Know About Small Business Grants in Canada

Many times businesses need loans and grants. People often look for funds to expand their business and want such funds that need not be returned. This makes grants different from loans. When we talk about grants in Canada for small business, you should know that it is not that easy.

As far as the federal government is concerned, it prefers to invest in small business through loans program rather than small business grant program.

You should also be aware of the fact that not all grant money is free money. I know everyone is looking for free money when they talk about grants but it is not so. People who are actually starting up a new business usually need this grant money thinking they will get free money. But you should know that all the government grants have some kind of strings attached to it.

One example of this is that there are many grants that need an applicant to invest financially. So even if the grant is not to be paid back, you have to invest your own money first. This investment is considered as a commitment by the funders.

Standard investment is considered about 10% to 20%. This is because of this reason, may be, government literature always refer this to non-repayable contributions and not small business grants.

Another string that is commonly attached with the grant is job creation. Exemplifying this is the guide by Northern Business Opportunity program- Small Business Start-up Projects that says, “The proposed new business will operate on a full-time basis and result in job creation in Northern Ontario.”

Government grants are very specific

When the government gives grant to a particular business, the main aim here is to increase that particular business in that particular area. For instance the government wishes to increase the number of call centers or other particular industry in an area.

So if you are basically involved in a business that even government backs, you will be benefited. But usually people who start new small business in Canada are mostly interested in small retail business like bakeries, clothing stores and book shops.

On the other hand, government is not interested in increasing the growth of such business that’s too in areas where people live. So to be clear, in Canada, people involved in particular business that’s too in a particular area are offered the government grants. This will be further clear with the examples mentioned below:

Grants for particular area

  1. Grants to small business program of Northwest Territories: This grant is for small business that has gross sale of less than $500,000. This grant is available for small businesses, co-operatives, partnerships or sole proprietorships. All NWT businesses qualify up to $15,000 per year through SEED Entrepreneur Support Program.
  2. Start-Up Grant for Aspiring Farmers in Quebec: Farmers that are just starting up in agriculture and are between the age of 18 and 40 and residing in Quebec can apply for this grant. The grant is up to $25,000 for sustainable development.

Grants for particular industries

  1. AgriMarketing-SME Component – under this grant, SMEs that are part of agriculture, agri-food, fish or seafood sectors are eligible for the funds. Funds under this grant are up to $250,000. Any project that targets new export market or penetrate more into the existing export market are eligible for the grant.
  2. Also, one’s company should not have annual sales of not more than $50 million. It should have also completed market research and should be export and market ready. It should also contribute at least 50% of the project cost.
  3. Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) – this grant is available to businesses and researches that targets commercialization of innovative communication technology, products, applications or services. The grant of $50,000 to $100,000 is given under this.
  4. The fields that qualify include Software Defined Network, Network Function Virtualization, SD WAN, Internet of Things/Smart City Applications, Data Centre/Cloud, Network transport, applications, or mobility, and Security.

Canadian Small Business Grant Programs that are “Partial”

There are some small business grants that offers some money but you have to do your own financial contributions for the same. These are as follows:

  1. Toronto Region Sustainability Program–The main aim of this Toronto Region Sustainability Program is to lessen the amount of smog, greenhouse gases, toxic releases to sewers and air and other poisonous wastes that is dangerous to environmental health. This program gives technical help for SME manufacturers in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and also 50 percent of cost share but maximum up to $5,000.
  2. Bio enterprise Seed Funding Program –Businesses that are involved in agriculture, agri-food, sustainable or environmental technology sectors can get grant up to $30,000 for seed funding and for coaching and mentorship. This grant is for the people living in southern Ontario.

The Best Canadian Small Business Grants

As we have discussed that there are grants for small businesses that are limited to particular area and industry, there are few grants that are for everyone and do not have any kind of grant attached to it.

If a person is ready to give contribution and shows a required level of commitment, then there are programs that offer funds and support too. These programs are discussed below:

  1. Self-employment program: this is a really very good program as it gives tremendous support. The participant gets help in creating their business and also income support till one year or if the person is disable then up to 78 weeks.
  2. Summer Company: this grant is for students of Ontario that are between the age of 15 to 29 years. Under this grant they receive grant of up to $3000. They also get entrepreneur training and support to run their summer business.

We have discussed about various grants that are available in Canada for small business but there are many small business loans too that are available. Do consider them too before applying for any small business grants.

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