I get asked this all the time and the truth is, there's no mystery to this question. There are two primary routes businesses can take to find suitable grants and programs in Canada. As always, if you have a question or think you might want to work together, please get in touch through our Home Page. Also, never miss a blog by following us on LinkedIn or Facebook.
1) Hire a Firm or Consultant
Hire a firm or consultant to learn about your business, structure and plans for the future. These consultants then tap into their networks and experience to find grants and programs best suited for you. These consultants might also have contacts at certain agencies or special insights to help you succeed in your applications. The down side? They cost money, as much as 10% to 20% of the grants they help you win with potential minimum upfront fees as high as $10,000. Depending on the firm or consultant, they also may not help you with grants and programs that are expected to win you less than $20,000 to $30,000 because they aren't worth their investment of time.
2) Use Publicly Available Tools to Find Grants and Programs for Yourself
Often times, firms and consultants will make it seem like finding suitable grants and programs for your business is hard. The reality is, it's not that hard; however, it is true that there are lots of grants and programs out there and it can be a bit overwhelming. To help simplify things for you, there are widely available public screening tools that allow business owners to enter details about their businesses, structure and plans for the future to create a customized grant and programs list for you to review. If you have 2 to 3 hours, you could probably identify at least 3 to 10 grants and programs that might be suitable for you and your business.
Here is my favourite tool that is put together and maintained by the Government of Canada. It contains most regional, provincial and federal grants and programs in Canada.
Government of Canada Grants and Programs Tool:
To use the tool, just click on a link to what might interest you (for example, financing programs, grants, loans, capital investments, tax credits, wage subsidies, etc.) and the filter tool should automatically load. Once you answer relevant questions, you get your customized list of grants and programs. From there, the grant and program information is relatively well laid out for you to review at a glance. If you want more information, links are provided.
Final Tip: Remember that business grants and programs are not meant to be out of reach. They are there to help you if you meet basic criteria and eligibility. No matter what a firm or a consultant says, if your business is a good fit, and you do a decent job on your application and if funding is available, your business should have no problem getting accepted. Don't let a firm or consultant convince you otherwise. Firms and consultants will be able to help and guide you, however, a lot of the heavy lifting for the application will still be left to you. You decide if their cost is worth it.