What kind of government grants are available for my business?
Updated: Sep 6
For many business owners and organizations, government grants are an underutilized source of funding. Although grants are commonly associated with the non-profit and charitable sector, for-profit companies and individuals can also access grant funding to support certain business initiatives and projects. All levels of government—municipal, provincial, and federal—have a vested interest in supporting projects that help them achieve their public policy goals and strengthen Canada’s broader economy. If your business or project aligns with current government policies and priorities, odds are there is funding available. Below is a summary of some of the most common types of grants available to businesses:
Hiring, Training, and Professional Development
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended Canada’s labour market. Companies across sectors are struggling to find and hire the workforce talent they need to sustain business operations and growth. To help companies address their talent shortage, various programs exist to help businesses hire employees, re-train and/or re-skill employees, and invest in long-term professional development to help retain staff. Some of these grants focus on helping postsecondary students and recent graduates obtain work experience, which can be particularly useful for businesses with temporary staffing needs for short-term projects.
Hiring grants are often targeted to specific industries and sectors with a demonstrable talent shortage, and typically focus on skilled jobs. Additionally, grants exist to help improve the economic participation of equity-deserving groups, such as women, persons with disabilities, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, who are underrepresented in industries such as the skilled trades or the digital economy.
Business Expansion, Marketing, and Export
Businesses that are looking to expand into new markets, both domestic and international, can find government grant funding to help them research and explore new territories, develop business expansion plans, and support their business expansion efforts. This includes expanding into the largest market of them all—the United States.
Depending on the program and department, eligible expenses can include marketing costs (including digital advertising), consulting and professional services fees, travel to attend trade shows and conferences, and staff salaries.
Capital Expenditures and Digital Adoption
As the COVID-19 pandemic revealed, digital readiness is more important than ever before. Various grants exist to help businesses optimize their technology and leverage technological adoption to improve operations, reduce inefficiencies, and secure their data and systems. These grants are designed to help businesses become more competitive, not just in Canada, but in the global marketplace overall. Additionally, there are often tax credits available for businesses looking to invest in capital costs, such as equipment and hardware. Tax credits are often targeted to support specific government priorities, such as carbon capture or green energy adoption. It’s important to speak to your accountant or financial manager to take advantage of these opportunities.
Research and Development, Prototyping, and Commercialization
Canada has the mostly highly educated population in the world and world-class research institutions at the bleeding edge of healthcare, technology, and manufacturing innovation. To support innovation and development, there are substantial grants available to support research and development, prototyping and product development, and commercialization activities to bring new products to market. Funding is available at various stages of the development pipeline depending on the program stream, your business, and the technological innovation you’re proposing.
Canada’s tourism and hospitality industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as public health guidelines necessitated the cancellation and closure of large-scale public events. To help revitalize the industry, there are certain grants available to both for-profit and non-profit entities that specialize in hosting public events that drive tourism and contribute to the community’s cultural and social wellbeing. Eligible expenses may include artist and performer fees, marketing and licensing costs, event security, and production and equipment costs. A demonstrable history of hosting and organizing public events is important to be competitive for these grants.
Business Start-up Funding and Mentorship
Did you know that, in 2021, 97.9% of Canadian businesses were small businesses? Small businesses also employ the largest proportion of Canada’s private labour force at 67.7%. Helping entrepreneurs kick-start their businesses is a priority for many levels of government. Small amounts of funding are often available to help entrepreneurs, especially those who identify as belonging to an equity-deserving group, access start-up grants as well as business loans and mentorship programs.
If you’re interested in learning more about the grants that might be available to you, contact Froese Law today to schedule a FREE 15-minute consultation.