Government Grants for Small Business
If you own a small business in Canada, you probably have a million ideas on how you could enhance your business but just lack the funds to do so. If this sounds like you, then you’re in luck! The Canadian government offers tons of grants specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Now you may be thinking, “That’s great and all, but I have no idea where to start. What’s the best way to get grants for my business?” Again, you’re in luck! Read on to find out more about how you can secure government grants for your small business: whether you are a consultant, have a small shop, or provide a service.
The wonderful small business contributions in Canada
Small businesses play a significant role in the Canadian economy. Here are some key statistics:
- There were 1.29 million small businesses in 2021
- Small businesses employed 8.4 million people in Canada, or 68.9% of the total private labour force in 2019
- The contribution of small businesses to gross domestic product generated by the private sector was 41.9% in 2016
At Granted, we’re passionate about helping small businesses get to the next level and make a greater impact.
How Companies Can Leverage Government Grants for Small Businesses
Larger hiring grants worth $10,000 to $15,000 tend to cater to companies that are in a technical industry like manufacturing or IT tech. But with a little creativity, service-based businesses can access higher amounts of Canadian government grant funding.
How service-based businesses can secure more government funding
While there are funding opportunities for service-based businesses like consulting, hotels, restaurants or coffee shops, the kind of positions they hire for usually have smaller funding amounts like $3,000. These hiring grants have lower amounts because they don’t have as big a need for technical expertise.
Our team has helped small businesses be more creative in how to approach a government grant so they can get more funding. For example, a small restaurant can hire a social media coordinator for a certain period to promote the company rather than outsourcing the work to an agency. There are many government grants right now that fund full-time positions.
Another way a small business can tap into higher government grant amounts is by taking advantage of training grants to skill up internal staff like a busser or server. The staff can learn to effectively use social media to promote the company. There are many training grants worth thousands of dollars to help a company’s staff learn new skills including the Alberta Training Grant, Trades Training Fund and BC Employer Training Grant.
How small shops can get government grant funding
Small mom-and-pop shops can also take advantage of Canadian government grants. Saving a few thousand dollars can be used to buy other things for the business or keep more of the profits. Canadian government hiring grants are intended to support full-time work terms, not contract work. The intention is to reduce unemployment and increase opportunities for young people to gain work experience.
If the business owners are not so tech savvy, they could bring someone to help them with social media promotion while giving them meaningful work experience. This kind of position can be supported by hiring grants that provide support in hiring and training a candidate.
How service-based small businesses can leverage government grants
If your company provides a service, many people may think there are less grant opportunities. But there are ways you can effectively use Canadian government grants to increase your revenue.
Let’s say there is an accounting service that can provide some training to businesses to help them manage their books. In this case, the accounting company is the trainer and there is a program where companies can apply for government grants to take your courses.
It’s important that if you offer training, your training is not portrayed as coaching, which is less structured teaching. If companies apply for a training grant with a coaching service, they won’t qualify. That’s why you have to make it clear you are a training provider on your website and marketing materials.
You can still offer consulting services while having this training component. Be honest and transparent by making sure your website has the necessary information a grant program requires like having a course outline, duration, and pricing.
How consultants can increase revenue
Right now there are rural small business grants that allow companies to hire a consultant to help them grow their businesses. If a company is stuck in a process like manufacturing or wants someone to build their financial dashboard to better understand their financials, they can get support from the grant.
The intention of these types of rural development programs is to increase the sustainability and revenue of companies in suburban areas. If your service can help companies in rural areas, you can increase your revenues.
Tips to secure Canadian government funding for small businesses
So you’re ready to apply for government grants. Before you do so, it’s important that you make sure your company meets some of the basic administrative requirements first. This makes small business grant applications process faster and smoother.
1) Register your business
This may seem basic but there are so many sole proprietors who set up a tax account but don’t register their business provincially. The reason it’s important is that many grants require companies to be registered for at least one year.
The cost is minimal if you compare it with the opportunity to gain access to small business grant funding. You don’t have to be incorporated for most grants but you need to make sure your company is registered correctly.
2) Check into a business license
In some regions, business licenses are mandatory while it is optional in others. Even though some grant programs don’t require proof of a business license, it is helpful to have when a program does ask for it.
3) Apply regularly for Canadian government grants for small business
Successful companies take advantage of government grants regularly. They see grants as a part of their strategic planning and understand that they are not ‘one-off’ opportunities.
Some programs launch with multi-year funding commitments so it may be possible to apply annually for the same or similar programs. In some cases, you can “grant stack” and get funded by more than one program! We know because we’ve seen $155,000 in savings from a combination of hiring and training grants.
4) Get on lists
Follow mailing lists from trade associations and business associations who often are the first to be notified of new programs that impact your industry. Scroll through them before you hit “delete” because you never know if there is a pot of grant funding just waiting for you to access.
You can start by joining our mailing list at Granted where we often share insights about grant programs in Canada. You can also use GetGranted, our Software-as-a-Service product, to get a customized list of government grants based on your business profile.
Small businesses play a significant role in the Canadian economy. Service-based companies can secure more government funding by hiring people in positions that help them grow like a social media coordinator. Small mom-and-pop shops can save a few thousand dollars by hiring a young person who can provide general help or help with marketing.
Businesses that provide consulting services can increase their revenue by providing training services to companies that can qualify for training grants or providing services to companies in rural areas that qualify for rural development grants.
To make the grant application process smoother, it’s important that companies properly register their business provincially and get the appropriate business license. Successful companies apply to government grants regularly and get on lists to stay updated for funding opportunities.
If you’re not sure where to start, our “Grant Angels” here at Granted are ready to help you get grants for your small business. Fill out our grant calculator to see how much grant funding is in your future.