Government Funding for Wood Industry Businesses – Part Two 

Alena Barreca

Welcome to Part Two of the Government Funding for Wood Industry Businesses feature article. Last week, we discussed two of the top funding program categories: hiring and training and research and development. If you missed it, please refer to the first part of this collaborative piece to learn more about how those types of funding may benefit your Canadian wood sector business.

This follow-up article aims to explore government grants and loans available for capital investment projects such as adopting new technologies and processes and available funding for business expansion such as preparation, research, and introduction into new global markets, scaling up business production, and growing business operations.  

Funding for Capital & Technology Investment Projects 

Capital investment funding supports Canadian wood industry businesses that want to focus on technology and software adoption projects. As opposed to business expansion funding, which generally focuses on larger expansion projects completed over multiple phases, capital investment grants and loans tend to support specific projects that are directly related to improved business performance from a technological standpoint. 

Companies can access technology funding programs at both the federal and provincial levels to offset capital investment project costs, allowing them to purchase innovative technologies sooner than would be possible by only using cashflows. The following is an example of a popular government funding program for wood industry businesses that offers specific funding for tech challenges commonly encountered within the Canadian forest/wood sector. 

The Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) Program

Originally launched in 2010 by the Government of Canada through Natural Resources Canada (NRC), the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program aims to address a critical need for capital investment in new forest industry technologies that innovate, diversify, and bring new jobs to the ever-growing Canadian wood and forest industry. The program was renewed in 2020 with $82.9 million of funding to be distributed over three years among two streams: Capital Investment Projects (Stream 1) and Studies (Stream 2).

Through the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) Program, Canada aims to bring the next wave of innovation to the Canadian wood industry sector and solidify the country’s position as a leader in forestry transformation.

IFIT’s Capital Investment Projects Stream can provide eligible applicants with up to a maximum of $10 million per project for companies representing an advancement of a technology or process for innovation purposes. 

Strong projects must lead to a more diversified product mix for the wood sector, including high-value bioproducts, including bioenergy, biomaterials, and next-generation wood building products. Eligible wood industry businesses of all sizes across Canada are encouraged to apply. Both streams of the IFIT program are currently open. 

Business Expansion Grants for Wood Industry Businesses 

Have you ever thought about expanding and growing your wood manufacturing business into other countries? Although it can take considerable knowledge and financial resources to scale your business globally, developing a growth strategy that includes government funding is a strong step towards an achievable and sustainable expansion. 

A variety of government grants and funding programs can help offset the costs of purchasing equipment for exporting, producing certifications for industry standards, participating in international trade shows, trade missions, translating materials, marketing research and analysis, hiring international market development assistance, and much more.

About the Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) Program

Two BSP streams are separated through FedDev Ontario and Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). Offering slightly different levels of support, both focus on helping Canadian businesses with high-growth-potential projects adopt and/or adapt innovative processes in advanced manufacturing, digital technology, value-added agriculture, and clean technology that support productivity, grow operations, and increase productivity exports to global markets. 

The FedDev Ontario BSP program provides southern Ontario businesses with expansion loans of up to 35% of project costs to a maximum of $10 million. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis with no submission deadlines.

The WD BSP provides up to 50% of eligible project expenses to a maximum of $5 million per project and $10 million per applicant for businesses located in Western Canada. The next application period has yet to be announced, but there are typically two intakes per fiscal year. 

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. 

To help educate businesses on the government funding opportunities available to them, Mentor Works, based in Guelph, Ontario, is a group of government funding specialists that provide educational resources, up-to-date news, and eligibility criteria on over 75 active grant and loan programs. Mentor Works helps Canadian businesses by streamlining the application process with experienced program qualification and grant writing services, creating time and money savings in a funding process that can be pretty complicated to understand. Their contact information is accessible at the end of this article. 

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.

You might also like