Financing Support for SME Growth

Alena Barreca

A big challenge for small businesses is finding the capital to expand. Check out these two financing opportunities to help grow your company: Canada Small Business Financing Program and CanExport SMEs.

The Canada Small Business Financing Program helps Canadian small businesses secure loans by sharing risk with lenders, making it easier to get loans from financial institutions. This program is offered through Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada, and interested businesses can apply directly through their Canadian financial institution of choice.

Amount of Funding

Successful applicants may receive the following:

  • Access up to a maximum of $1,000,000 for any one borrower;
  • No more than $350,000 may be used for purchasing/improving a leasehold or new/used equipment;
  • Financial institutions are entirely responsible for approving the loan;
  • Interest rates are determined by the financial institution and may be fixed or variable

Eligible Applicants

Successful applicants will meet the following criteria:

  • Successful applicants should be small businesses or startups in Canada with $10 million or less in gross annual revenues

Eligible Activities

Successful activities will meet the following criteria:

  • Eligible activities may be purchasing or improving land or buildings for commercial reasons;
  • Purchasing or improving equipment; and
  • Purchasing leasehold improvements such as renovations to a leased property.

Funding may not be used for activities such as:

  • Performing goodwill;
  • Stoking working capital;
  • Increasing inventory;
  • Paying franchise fees; and
  • Executing research and development.

The CanExport SMEs funding program provides Canadian government grants to support Canadian businesses seeking to develop new export opportunities and markets, particularly high-growth priority markets and sectors, by covering a portion of eligible sales and marketing activities.

Amount of Funding

Successful applicants may receive the following:

  • Up to 50% funding to a maximum $50,000 grant per project;
  • Applicants may receive up to 50% of eligible costs for up to $10,000 to $50,000 in grant funding per project;
  • The applicant is responsible for the remaining 50% of costs;
  • The annual CanExport contribution maximum is $99,999 (in the event of multiple projects approved in the same government fiscal year);
  • A group of related companies cannot receive >$200,000 in funding in a single fiscal year. Projects budgets should be between $20,000-100,000; and
  • Applicants can apply for funding multiple times as long as their prior CanExport application has been completed all reporting is finished.

Eligible Applicants

To be eligible for the CanExport program, Canadian businesses must:

  • Maintain 1 to <500 full-time employees;
  • Earn annual revenues ranging from $100,000 to $100,000,000;
  • Be federally incorporated federally or classified as a limited liability partnership (LLP);
  • Create eligible project expenses of $20,000 or more; and
  • Be financially stable and able to pay all project expenses not covered by the program.

Eligible Activities

To access CanExport funding for upcoming international expansion initiatives, ensure the project revolves around:

  • Attending Virtual Trade Shows: Event fees and other associated networking functions;
  • Adaptation of Marketing Tools and SEO: Third-party design, translation, and printing of marketing collateral;
  • Applying for IP/Product Certifications: Intellectual property, certification, and adaptation of contracts;
  • Gathering Market Research: Third-party market research and custom studies or reports; and
  • Expert Advice: Third-party advice on digital and e-commerce marketing, intellectual property, trademarks, patents, certifications, consulting services, and sales agents.

Alena Barreca is a Marketing and Social Media Coordinator at Mentor Works. Alena enjoys using her creative and analytical mind to assist Canadian businesses in receiving grants and loans to support their needs. Alena graduated from Brock University with a BA in Media and Business Communications, and Mohawk College with a Post-Graduate Degree in Public Relations.

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