Grants for Small Business Guidebook
Who qualifies for small business grants in Canada?

The Government of Canada has grants available for individuals, small businesses, large corporations, and nonprofits. This rings true on the provincial and federal levels, giving Canadians a myriad of options in their search for grant funding.


  • If you are an incorporated Canadian company with fewer than 500 employees, you likely qualify for small business grant funding. 
  • Each program has specific eligibility requirements so be sure to read the applicant guide carefully. 
  • Maintaining good financial health will influence your likelihood of approval. 
  • Startups qualify for grant funding, however, the programs will be different from grants for small businesses.

For small businesses, each grant has its own eligibility criteria that you must meet in order to apply. First and foremost, to qualify for a small business grant, you must be a small business (shocking, we know). The Canadian government defines SMEs as companies with fewer than 500 employees. Beyond this, each program will have its own requirements. There are some consistencies between the eligibility requirements across grant programs – let’s take a look!

Eligibility requirements for small business grant funding in Canada:

  1. The business must be registered in Canada. Having a business number is a hard requirement across all programs.
  2. Typically the business needs to be incorporated. While there are small funding programs for unincorporated businesses, it’s very limited. 
  3. You’ll need to be established for at least 1-2 years. Small business grants generally don’t include funding for startups, meaning you’ll need to have operated for at least 1-2 years, sometimes longer, depending on the program. 
  4. The company must employ a certain number of people. To be an SME you must have fewer than 500 employees; some grants are for small businesses with <50 employees, so always check on the criteria. 

You’ve probably noticed a common theme – eligibility requirements. Each program has its own criteria that applicants must meet that could vary slightly from the points listed above. That’s why it’s important to always read through the application guidelines carefully so you know what’s expected. At Granted, we take care of all of the leg work required to identify the right grants for Canadian SMEs. 

Something that varies greatly between each grant is the financial requirements. Regardless of the grant, however, your business must be in good financial health. It’s common to provide balance sheets or income statements as part of an application. This serves to prove you have the financial resources to participate in the grant and help the program reach its objectives. 
We often get questions about grant funding for startups. There are government programs to support startups, however, the scope is different from SMEs. To secure non-repayable funds (ie. grants), you’ll need to be established for at least 1-2 years; there are other funding opportunities available for startup activities such as applied research, product development, testing, proof of concept, and more. For more information on grants for startups, check out our blog

Chapter 4 – How much grant funding can I get in Canada? 

The amount of funding you can get depends on the type of grant you’re applying for, and the specific program mandates. Each program will make this information very clear, and can usually be found on the first page of the website. 

Calculate your potential grant funding

Curious about how much grant funding your company can get?