Government Grants and Financing for Businesses – I

For a budding entrepreneur, having a solid business plan is vital for a good start to their venture. With a good business plan, the entrepreneur can approach prospective financiers to kick start their dream. Typical sources of such financing may come from personal assets, financial institutions, venture capitalists and/or government funding.

Depending on the type of business, it may be possible to obtain government grants/funding; this post will look at a few such nationwide programs and it covers a variety of industries to show the scope. There is a link at the end of the article that provides the full list of programs and can be narrowed down by province.

AgriInnovation Program

The AgriInnovation Program is a 5-year, up to $698 million funding initiative designed to enable the conception, usage and transfer of new technologies in the agricultural sector (Industry-led Research and Development Stream) and facilitate the commercialization of such innovations (Enabling Commercialization and Adoption Stream).

The funding structure for the program ending on March 31, 2018 is split into two categories: $468 million is reserved for funding application-based projects and the remaining $230 million is available to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research and development activities and program administration. The total maximum contribution to an applicant from both (Industry-led R&D and Commercialization) streams cannot exceed $10 million per year.

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program

The Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP) is a Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) initiative meant to promote collaboration between the aquaculture industry and department by fostering teamwork in research and development activities that fall within the purview of DFO and are designed to meet the needs of aquaculture producers.

The project objectives that fit the program mandate encompass fish health and environmental performance. ACRDP funding is limited to $2 million per year. The program requires contributions from both parties (industry and department) and may be in the form of cash or in kind. The minimum industry contribution is 30% of the ACRDP amount requested (at least 7.5% in cash).

Collaborative Health Research Projects

The Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) is a joint initiative between the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The program aims to support research projects in any field of engineering or natural sciences. A qualifying project could be one that provides health benefits for Canadians and better health services and/or economic development in health-oriented areas. The funding period can be up to 3 years.

Canada Feature Film Fund

The Canada Feature Film Fund offers Canadian-owned and/or controlled film production businesses the opportunity to seek financial assistance through different programs such as the Development Program, Production Program, Marketing Program, Micro-Budget Production Program, International Marketing and Festival Participation Program and Theatrical Documentary Program.

Part Two of this series will look at a few more national-level programs. In the meantime, if you are interested in exploring further, you can find the comprehensive list of programs here.

Have you or your company used one of the programs listed in this article? If so, do you have any insights from a former/current beneficiary’s perspective?

About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.

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Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.
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7 years ago

I can’t talk to the rest, but I led a workstream to secure a grant under the first program on the list for a big company I used to work for. It took us over 2 years to navigate through the red tape and Gov’t bureaucracy (they consistently wanted more and more information) and we finally got $5M.

The kicker was we were hoping for $10 M, but as the Gov’t consistently delayed and punted our file, our costs slowly became ineligible. In addition, after working on an unrelated provincial grant for 1 year and receiving an MOU, we had the funds pulled at the last minute in a political move.

I’m not sure how any small business could benefit from these things as IMO they are more work than they are worth.

7 years ago

@Chris: Thank you for the insight and the good words!
7 years ago

Yeah, this stuff isn’t normally for small businesses. If you’re starting your own business, you can forget about getting free money from the government. Which is probably exactly the way it should be.

7 years ago

Some clarification on one of these “funds” as it applies to the budding entrepreneur… The Canada Feature Film fund is extremely competitive, even for industry vets. As someone who has worked many years in the business with produced feature film credits (including writer, producer, executive producer) to my name I have yet to have a successful application to this fund. The rules have changed over the last decade as well, tightening the purse strings around this fund whose goal is to create culture. I realize the public perception is any Canadian can apply for this funding, but my suggestion for a budding screenwriter/director/producer/film company is to team up with an established local film production company before submitting an application. They’ll know what’s beyond the printed material on these websites and have established relationships with Telefilm executives. Good blog, always look forward to the journey updates and enjoy your posts as well Clark. Keep up the good work!