Government Funding for Wood Industry Businesses – Part One

Alena Barreca

Did you know that your wood industry business may be eligible for Canadian government grants and/or loans to help offset costs on strategic projects such as hiring and training new and existing staff, business expansion, adoption of technology, and other innovation efforts?

By investing in a funding strategy to obtain assistance for upcoming projects, Canadian businesses can leverage financial support to help meet their goals at a more successful rate.

All About Canadian Government Funding and How Your Business Could Benefit from Grants and/or Loans 

You may know that Canadian government funding programs are available for your business – maybe you’ve even applied for grants and loans in the past – but the funding landscape is vast and often complicated, with hundreds of programs that each have their own unique deadlines, expectations, applications, and allocations. Funding programs are available federally, provincially, and territorially.

Maintaining an in-depth understanding of these incentives (including their purpose, timing, and what they look for in applications) can be incredibly difficult for most businesses. Based in Guelph, Ontario, Mentor Works is a group of government funding specialists that aim to educate businesses on the funding available to them and help them streamlining the application process when they need support.

Hiring and Training Grants for Wood Industry Businesses 

A business is truly only as strong as its team. Suppose you are planning on expanding or developing your workforce. In that case, there are Canadian government grants for small business recruitment activities to ensure they have qualified workers and the requisite skills and capabilities to support ongoing and future business plans. Funding programs can help organizations hire or retrain staff, improve their effectiveness, and train their staff in new areas such as advanced technologies or operational processes.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and an important source of good jobs across this country… [That] is why we continue to help them get the financial help they need to protect their workers and pay their bills,” said Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.

The following is one of the top Canada-wide grant programs accessible to all types of wood industry businesses, including manufacturers, suppliers, and others, for the hiring, retention, and training of new and existing employees.

About the Canada Job Grant (CJG) Program

The Canada Job Grant (CJG) is a Canadian government funding program designed to reduce the costs of providing third-party skills training to new and existing employees. Launched in 2014 as a 6-year program, the Canada Job Grant allocates upwards of $194M annually to support the upskilling of employees to perform new tasks and become more employable.

All training programs must be provided by an eligible training organization (no internal training programs) and should focus on improving business function, including (but not limited to): lean manufacturing principles, customer service, project management, financial planning, food safety, strategic planning, general management, leadership, software and technology, and sales and marketing.

CJG funding can reduce the cost of training employees by up to 50-83 per cent. This can cover up to $10,000 to $15,000 in training costs per trainee in the form of non-repayable grants. Each province has its own limitations and guidelines to help optimize a workforce and ensure all employees contribute to operational success.

Funding for Research and Development Projects 

Research and development activities support innovation and enable Canadian companies to achieve competitive advantages over other domestic and international firms. These types of activities are not just for research-focused companies and large businesses with substantial R&D budgets but also for smaller companies that seek an edge over products and services that currently dominate the market.

Innovation is a mindset that businesses must adapt to remain a viable choice for customers; without research and development, there will eventually be solutions available to your client base that are more appealing than your offerings. Fortunately, Canadian government funding is available to offset R&D costs and help companies stretch their research budgets.

The following is one of the top Canada-wide research and development programs accessible to wood industry businesses, including manufacturers, suppliers, and others.

About the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) Program

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a program uniquely targeted to support Canadian industrial and technology sector businesses. The program offers financial support (both grants and loans) of up to 50 per cent of project costs for activities that drive sustained productivity and economic benefits. SIF focuses on large-scale projects that request at least $10 million in contributions, meaning the minimum project size must be at least $20 million.

There are five streams of funding provided through SIF, and applicants can align their projects to address one of the following areas:

  1. Research, Development, and Commercialization
  2. Business Growth and Expansion
  3. Investment Attraction and Retention
  4. Collaborative Technology Development and Demonstration
  5. National Ecosystems

The SIF program is open to businesses from all sectors across Canada, but potential applicants should keep in mind that this is a highly competitive program. While an eligible company may qualify for funding, it must also demonstrate high growth potential and drive innovation in a robust technological development project.

Canadian Government Funding Application Support

The Mentor Works team of Government Funding Planners™ works directly with clients to design and implement tailored solutions to support business growth. They work with Canadian businesses to develop a dynamic government funding plan that supports all areas of business investment, which gives a significant competitive advantage when used correctly. Their clients are awarded an average of $180,000 in grants per year.

Let us simplify the application process and highlight four of the most common project types supported through government funding. This article will explore hiring and training grants and funding available for research and development projects. Part Two of this feature will further uncover government grants and loans available for capital investment, such as adopting new technologies and processes and funding for business expansion efforts.

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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