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Navigating Grants for Small Businesses in Canada

For small business owners, unlocking new sources of capital and financing is always top-of-mind.

But navigating grants for small businesses in Canada can be tricky. Unfortunately there isn’t a single destination that provides an up-to-date comprehensive list of grants for small businesses online. It can be time consuming to locate the various programs that offer grants and understand the eligibility requirements. Not to mention, many have a lengthy application process and are highly competitive, meaning your efforts might not necessarily bear fruit.

In an attempt to bring some clarity to what can be a little murky, here’s an overview of grants and financial assistance for small businesses in Canada:

Step 1: Understanding the Types of Grants Available

There are many grants available through the government, through government-funded programs and through various charities, not-for-profits, non-governmental organizations and even private corporations. It can take a lot of time and research to identify grant opportunities, so it’s a good idea going into it to get a sense of what types of grants are typically available. While this is by no means a comprehensive list, here are some examples of the categories of grants that exist.

Small business and startup grants from government and other sources tend to focus on the groups or locations that need it most – for instance minority groups or groups of individuals with higher rates of unemployment, or who face barriers to accessing employment opportunities. Examples include:

  • Grants for Women
  • Geography-Based Grants (i.e. grants by province or targeting certain regions, such as rural areas)
  • Funding for Innovation and Media
  • Grants for Aboriginal Canadians
  • Financing for Youth and Young Entrepreneurs
  • Cultural-Based Grants e.g. for new Canadians
  • Agriculture and Trades Grants
  • Grants for Exporting
  • Social Enterprise Support
  • Funding for Environmental Business/Clean-tech

Step 2: Know Your Sources  

Explore all the various types and sources of grants, funding and contributions available to Canadian small business owners.

  • Government Grants, Loans and Financing: The Government of Canada’s Government Business Network offers an online search tool that generates a personalized list of government financing programs for your business based on your inputs (financing needs, industry and location)
  • Tax Refunds and Credits: We recently published an article on the Lendified Blog about tax breaks for small businesses. Read the article and learn about how to reduce overhead and get more return on your business expenditures.
  • Wage Subsidies: High wage expectations can be a real barrier for small businesses looking to hire top talent to grow or sustain recent growth. If you need help but are feeling hesitant to post that job ad, explore wage subsidy programs that can help reduce the costs.
  • Financing from non-government organizations: Seek out not-for-profit or community-based organizations that can offer you financing or direct you towards financing. These organizations are often set up to help business owners in a specific geographic region, demographic group or industry.

Consider Online Loans for Small Businesses 

While grants, government funding, subsidies and tax breaks are all worth exploring, your financial needs may very well be immediate. The whole process of researching, completing applications and waiting for results on grants can be lengthy, and not return the results you hope for. In the meantime, online lenders such as Lendified can approve you for a small business loan within minutes, and transfer funds to your account as early as the next business day.

About the Author: Michelle Pinchev