Your business may know that Canadian government grant and loan programs are available for a range of strategic projects. Maybe you’ve even applied for provincial or federal funding in the past – but if you would like to know about the importance of funding and the best ways to optimize an application, this article is for you. Canadian government funding can offset anywhere from 15-100% of strategic project costs depending on the unique grant or loan program, helping eligible businesses to meet and exceed their objectives and targets.
A critical document that highlights how important Canadian government funding can be is the annual federal budget. This year’s Federal Budget 2021 – also known as “A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience” – includes spending $101.4 billion. The budget includes support options for Canadian businesses to focus on strong economic growth, jobs creation, cleantech innovation, and digital transformation investment.
The Benefits of Canadian Government Grants and Loans
Government grants and loans can create an additional cash flow of financial support into essential projects, which can lead to expanded projects that can be completed faster and more efficiently. This improved agility from government funding support builds competitiveness and allows businesses the space to become market leaders.
Three Key Benefits in Utilizing Government Grants and Loans:
- Canadian government funding can fuel projects that would otherwise be unable to proceed without additional support.
- Government funding supports business growth and development.
- Government grants and loans can improve project outcomes.
Each year, thousands of businesses across Canada are awarded Canadian government funding to complete more projects and improve their growth trajectory. These funding success stories serve as a model for other businesses who wish to benefit from government funding.
Getting Started: The Canadian Government Funding Application Process
The process of accessing government grants and loans in Canada can be a gratifying task for small and medium-sized business owners and leaders to undertake if they utilize the appropriate resources and guidance.
“The application process is not easy, but it can be simplified by planning ahead and linking strategic goals to the right small business grants and loans programs offered through provincial and federal governments,” said Bernadeen McLeod, President of Mentor Works.
To have success in accessing grants and loans for your Canadian small to medium-sized business, your business must first understand the Canadian government funding landscape and be proactive in building a plan around upcoming strategic projects and accompanying budgets. The following are four crucial steps to getting started:
Step 1: Develop a Strategic Analysis of Your Needs and Goals
It’s important to understand that since government grant and loan programs are project-specific, it will help to start by establishing both critical and blue sky projects you can commit to that will directly support your company’s growth and strengthen its competitive advantage.
Suggestion: Sit down with your management team and brainstorm what could be improved in the business. Here are a few questions to get started:
- Would you benefit from hiring any co-op students or recent graduates?
- Could your workplace benefit from innovative, updated technology to directly improve operations and processes?
- Are there any opportunities for business expansion? Would you benefit from a detailed market analysis of your growth potential to expand overseas?
- Is there room for any research and development projects that would contribute to advancing your products and/or services, especially in innovation (for example, clean technology progress) or national economic growth?
Step 2: Select Grants and Loans Specific to Your Business’ Analysis
Finding and selecting the most suitable government grant and loan programs can be difficult for two main reasons:
- There are many different programs, all with their focus, eligibility criteria, application process, and when they’re available.
- It is nearly impossible for small and medium-sized businesses to allocate the internal resources to stay on top of all of the program releases and updates.
For these reasons, business consulting firms such as Mentor Works offer an online database to Canadian government funding programs.
Step 3: Assign Your Funding Application(s) to Someone Who Will Lead the Process with Confidence and Knowledge.
Once you have outlined the funding programs that match your strategic needs, you may either:
- Engage in professional grant writing services; or
- Assign and attempt the application process internally.
Unfortunately, many of the businesses that try to make funding applications on their own often miss the deadlines to apply because they either hit a sticking point or become distracted with other day-to-day responsibilities of their work. These deadlines also lead to businesses not having enough time to create a compelling story throughout their application that speaks to both the program’s objectives and the businesses’ vision and intentions.
Step 4: Enjoy the Benefits of Successful Grants and Loans Applications
Without a doubt, the most enjoyable part of the process comes once the loan or grant application has been received and approved.
Aside from the delight which business owners may feel when they receive that first cheque, the application process has been noted by many as either a stressful or positive experience, heavily depending on whether a business decided to apply themselves or save time and energy by working with a strategic partner. The application process requires being proactive and diligent. When a company receives between 15 to 75% of project expenses from government sources, a higher level of accountability is also instilled in those responsible for completing the project.
The following free resources may be of assistance in completing any of the above four steps:
- Canadian Business Funding Guide: To help accelerate your understanding of the Canadian government funding process, access this comprehensive guide of resources to learn about qualifying and discovering funding programs.
- Build a Government Funding Plan: To help discover your business’ needs and goals and optimize a funding plan that best suits your timeline.
- Navigating the Government Funding Process: Accessing government funding can be complicated and often requires considerable time and resources; learn more about navigating the funding landscape.