What is a Small Business Grant?
Grants are defined as monetary funds provided to businesses of all sizes by philanthropists, companies, or the government. The most prominent feature of these is that they are not required to be paid back and do not bring equity partners into the business.
Grants are often given out to specific industry sectors, regions, community groups, or certain kinds of businesses. For example, there may be a handful of government grants handed out to small businesses operating in the environmental sector. Or a digital skills grant is given to small businesses to hire post-secondary graduates.
It's important to understand that each grant will have specific eligibility criteria, and you should conduct extensive research to see if you meet these criteria.
Understanding the Difference Between a Grant and Loan
Government grants are given out to support all kinds of businesses, especially small businesses. Loans are another form of financial support that entrepreneurs can apply for to start, grow, and develop their businesses.
A grant is a financial award given by entities - such as the government - to an institution, business, or individual for a particular purpose. These usually support the execution of a business project, which directly benefits the public of Canada.
On the other hand, a loan relates to funds borrowed from a financial institution or a person. These are a liability and must be paid back within a specified time frame. Additional charges are levied, namely interest. Once a business or an individual receives the funds from a loan, they are free to use them as they deem fit. A loan usually requires some form of collateral, like property or assets. Likewise, it can affect our credit score (in a positive and negative way).
Now that the definitions have been cleared up, below are some primary differences between grants and loans.
Any loan that you take out must be returned to the person or financial institution you borrowed it from, along with interest. But where grants are concerned, no amount of funding received must be paid back.
While grants are usually handed out by relevant government authorities, either at the provincial or federal level, there have been circumstances when corporations, foundations, and organizations have stepped forth to provide financial assistance.
For example, Save On Energy is a grant program in Ontario, which is controlled by the Independent Electricity System Operator or IESO. The IESO is a crown company that operates the electricity market in Canada.
On the other hand, loans can be taken out from private companies to private parties, as well as financial institutions. Usually, people turn to banks for financial assistance, but the government can step in to provide loans to some businesses.
Eligibility and application
Grants can often be tiresome due to their lengthy application process. In some cases, small businesses also require help from grant experts to fill out the applications. Where a loan is concerned, obtaining it is relatively easy, requiring fewer formalities.
Moreover, not everyone is eligible to apply for and receive a grant. Certain conditions need to be met.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Business Grant
Free monetary funds
The most appealing advantage of grants is that they are essentially a free source of money. They do not have to be repaid, making them an optimal choice to carry out business endeavors. It allows small business owners to take risks, depending on the feasibility of their ideas.
Easily accessible information
Numerous websites and portals can provide meaningful information about how, where, who, and when to obtain the grants. This accessibility facilitates small business owners in finding the grants that best suit their ideas. Therefore, it does not matter which industry you operate in; the resources and information are at your fingertips.
Now let's go through some disadvantages.
Time-consuming and competitive
To apply for a grant, you need to undergo the tedious process of completing research and filling out paperwork. There are numerous grants out there, so you will need to find out what best suits the venture you are about to take. In addition, your proposal needs to be creative and appealing.
Most research on grants will tell you that they are highly competitive. Hundreds of companies can apply for the same grant, and only a few will become successful applicants.
Grants may be defined as free money, but they have several conditions and restrictions. You must be very particular when explaining how you will use the funds obtained and the game plan you have in mind. You’ll likely need to fulfill certain obligations.
Main Portal Links for Grants in Main Regions
Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, British Columbia, and Manitoba are six of the largest regions in Canada, based on their provincial economic ranking. If you run a small business and are looking for grants in the regions above, here are credible sources of information:
Other authority sites
Small Business Grants you can Explore
Below are some of the most popular grants given to small businesses in Canada.
Canadian small business grants
Offers as much as $50,000 for small and medium-sized businesses in the country to set foot in international markets in a wide range of fields. If your project is ready to take off after the 1st of April 2022, feel free to apply here.
This grant aims to support the commercialization of health-related technology through collaborations between public health providers and SMEs. The contribution of this grant can go up to $600,000. You can apply here.
Canadian government grants for small businesses
This can amount to $500,000 to $15 million, depending on the type of project. It promotes the improvement in the physical conditions for heritage culture, innovation, and arts, specializing in projects related to construction and renovation. You can apply for this grant by contacting the regional office of the Department of Canadian Heritage .
This grant pertains to developing and promoting interactive software projects, including video games and apps. The maximum amount given out for these is $1.5 million per project, so start applying right away.
Small business recovery grant
This subsidy is offered to SMEs, charities, and non-profits in Canada that have suffered at least a 40% decline in revenue in the last 12-month period. You can apply for a wage and rent subsidy through THRP.
A rebate amount ranging from 50 to 100% will be granted to those businesses that have been required to reduce capacity or shut down due to newly announced public health measures of the coronavirus. If your business qualifies, you can apply here.
It extends to providing relief of as much as $10,000 to small businesses in the region that suffered a revenue decline of around 20% due to the coronavirus pandemic. Applications can be filled out online with ease.
This grant aims to assist communities and businesses that may need support to recover from the effects of the pandemic. As part of RRRF, you can receive as much as $20,000. Feel free to apply on the relevant website.
Kingston Pandemic Business Recovery Grant and Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program are additional grants for you to explore. You can also apply for the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant or Innovation Growth Program (IGP) .
Grants for female entrepreneurs
This Bootcamp for female entrepreneurs (woman-identifying or non-binary) can award as much as $100,000 for your startup, irrespective of the sector that you operate in. While the application form indicates it is no longer accepting responses, feel free to contact the Program Manager at the bottom of the website.
This grant can award a sum of $10,000 monthly to allow female entrepreneurs to create their own successful business. An additional grant of $25,000 is awarded to 12 winners annually. You can apply here .
Start-up business grants
Provides financial support to up and coming entrepreneurs in all kinds of fields to a maximum amount of $60,000. If you are aged between 18 to 39, you can get started with the application process here .
You can now get your tech product on the market and get it off the ground with funding matching 50%, or a minimum of $10,000. Apply now.
New business grants
If you have an idea for a startup that will focus on developing growth in the economy, then this is the grant to apply for. You can get funding of as much as $500,000.
Through this program focused on technology-based startups, you can build a firm financial structure for your business. In addition to a maximum grant of $60,000, TandemLaunch assists in networking and mentoring. Apply online and get things moving at the earliest.
Black business grants
If you are looking to start up or grow your business, no matter which field you operate in, the RBC program can offer you loans up to a maximum amount of $250,000 to get you started. You can learn more about the application process and fill in the online form to kickstart the process.
Black business owners can receive funding of up to $10,000 to either expand or get started with their small businesses. Apply now on their website.
Provincial small business grants
This grant supports all small businesses operating in advanced manufacturing by providing grants for 15% of the costs to $5 million as loan funding. You can complete the application process online .
The program in Manitoba supports the competitiveness and growth of agriculture. The amount of the grant varies depending on the focus of the project, along with the chosen stream. Complete the application today.
Black entrepreneurship grants
This program was launched to give out $50 million of early-stage, start-up, and seed capital to businesses led by black entrepreneurs in Canada. Feel free to contact them and start the investment process.
The program was initiated to provide funding of up to $5,000 to $6,000 in startup loan financing. Get the application process started today!
Minority business grants
The SoGal Foundation decided to team up with various organizations to provide $5,000 to $10,000 to minority business (Black women or non-binary entrepreneurs) owners in Canada, and the US. You can apply for the grant by contacting them over email.
This loan can be received by minority businesses in the country to improve and purchase land and equipment and leasehold payments for as much as $1,000,000. Apply today !
Grants for retail businesses
Small retail businesses can now gain access to funds of as much as $10,000 for development and expansion, as well as mentoring and advisory services. Complete the application process online .
The main street businesses in Toronto can now receive creative and innovative solutions to their problems and go ahead with building initiatives with a grant amount of $25,000 to $50,000. Feel free to apply online .
R&D grants small businesses
This grant can help business owners access 50-75% of funds for a project worth $2 million to research and develop clean technologies. Apply on the website today.
Canadian innovators can now accelerate their research and development with grants covering 60% to 80% of their labor costs for a $10 million project. Apply now.
Business grants for young entrepreneurs
This financing aims to allow young entrepreneurs to access funds for their startups. The financing for this loan can go as high as $100,000 for the youth hoping to enter a vast number of fields. You can easily apply online .
This program is for youth entrepreneurs looking to make a mark in the business world. It can provide financing of up to $5,000 to those who clear the application process. Apply through the website.
Writing Your Grant Proposal
Before you can obtain a grant, you need to submit a creative and practical proposal to convince the relevant organization to support your business idea or project. Here is the right way to develop a distinctive business grant proposal.
- Chalk out a firm cover letter
- Begin your proposal by writing a straightforward executive summary
- Tell a bit about your organization
- Come up with a direct problem statement
- Clearly outline your objectives and goals
- Paint a picture of the product design and the strategies and methods that will be adopted
- State how the success of each step will be tracked and evaluated
- Provide contingencies, such as other sources of funding
- Develop and explain the budget required
Getting access to funding to start and grow a business is not an easy task. While grants are free money, it’s important to remember that they are highly competitive and time-consuming.
Nonetheless, they are an integral form of financial support for entrepreneurs around the world. Before you apply for your grant, is it worth understanding the value of your business. You can use these insights in your grant proposal. BusinessesForSale.com offers a free, valuation tool that you can use to gain access to these insights.
Although you may not want to sell your business, you may want to briefly research the ins and outs of the process. You can do this by reading our guide on selling a business . If you are not interested in starting a business from the ground up, there is always the option to buy another business and grow it. You can read our guide for advice on buying a business .
If you’d like more advice on your business journey, or you’d like to discuss any concerns related to financing a business, you can contact our dedicated team .