Small business operators who either want to start a new venture or expand their existing ones are always looking out for small business grants in Canada. Such small-to-medium enterprising units, however, cannot survive on small-business loans that are required to be paid back in installments and also with interest.
The Federal government in Canada does not offer such privileges to small-to-medium enterprises (SME) and mostly the programs are loan-based or assistance programs that either expect repayment or some shared contribution.
Canada Offers Grants With Strings, No Free Money
Whenever a small businessman is looking for a grant, he expects it to be free money. But small business grants in Canada are rare as here even grants have certain conditions and strings attached. Some grants expect small-business entrepreneurs to invest a bit. It means even if the businessman does not have to pay back he will have to put down his money first.
Usually, organizations offering such grants expect the entrepreneur to invest anywhere between 10 to 50% of the grant amount as a part of the commitment. Contrarily, to receive a grant from the government the small-business owner is expected to guarantee job creation. Such restrictions are enough to snub the enthusiasm of newbie entrepreneurs.
Small Business Grants And How Canadian Government Expectations Differ
The main interest of the government in providing a grant is to ensure a business-specific development in a particular province or place. For example, if they want to develop a biotech hub in Nova Scotia, then businesses with similar proposals have a better chance of getting the grant. But normally, small business owners want to start something in retail such as bookshops, bakeries, or clothing stores which may not get the favor of the government.
Small Business Grants In Canada Based On Places And People
- The SEED Entrepreneur Support Program offers around $25,000 annually to All NWT Businesses to help them cover up the cost related to capital assistance, startup, market development, operational support, and product promotion.
- Farmers, who are just starting in the agriculture field, are aged in between 18 and 40 and are resident of Quebec can receive a startup grant of around $50,000 for equipment purchases, land improvement, etc.
- The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund (NOHFC) provides loans and grants to SME’s that are located in Northern Ontario and have the potential to create employment for the locals. The fund provides Small business grants in Canada and loans under different programs for expansion, internships, and new business opportunities.
Small Grants That Are Specific To Industries
People interested in starting a small business in a particular industry have an edge over the others.
- Small businesses that are associated with seafood sectors, fish, or agri-food are more likely to qualify for funding. Eligible ventures can expect to get funding of around $100,000 but there are certain conditions attached. Such businesses must have the potential to penetrate the existing export markets or create a niche for themselves independently.
- SME’s expecting funds for expansion should have a sales annual turnover of $50 million or below, should have market-ready products, and have researched the export market for the product’s viability thoroughly. Importantly, such business owners are also expected to contribute at least 50% of the entire project costs.
- The Center of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN) offers financial and technical support to researchers and businesses who wish to accelerate the commercialization of their innovative technology-oriented products, services, and applications.
Partial Small-Business Grants In Canada
- Toronto Enterprise Fund Catalyzing Grants offer partial grants to social enterprises that provide training and employment to the strugglers. SME’s with strong social business ideas can expect to get a grant of $5000 to $10,000 so that these ideas can be analyzed and tested in the market.
- Bioenterprise Seed Funding Program offers partial grants to businesses associated with agri-food, agriculture, environmental or sustainable technology sectors. The program is specific to southern Ontario and can provide up to $30,000 through coaching and mentorship services as well as seed funding. However, business owners have to offer a partial financial contribution to become eligible for the funding.
- Mtl Inc. offers a $30,000 grant as startup cost to young and innovative ventures that promise strong growth potential. The grants are restricted for residents of Montreal or those operating in the South Shore of the Island of Montreal and are in the age between 18 to 35 years.
Best Option For Canadian Small Business Owners
Small business grants in Canada without any conditions are very few. But if you are ready to offer some form of contribution as commitment then you can get a bit lucky. These programs offer to fund small businesses, mentoring, and training.
- Self Employment Program allows the participants to create their business plan and if accepted can receive steady income support for an entire year while you test it. More often such programs are specific to province so you need to check that. Also, you must qualify the Employment Insurance criteria.
- In Ontario students in the age group between 15 to 29 years can get small-business grants up to around $3,000 for running summer businesses and entrepreneur training.