Gaining a business advantage can be challenging when you’re contending with domestic and international competition in an ever-changing market. Getting ahead requires companies to constantly develop new or improved products, increase productivity and expand global market sales.
However, throughout our 25 years in the government funding industry, we have seen that securing the financing companies need to compete continues to be one of the biggest obstacles for small business owners.
Billions of dollars are available to small and medium-sized businesses in the form of grants, loans and tax credits. Unburdened by the lengthy bureaucratic processes of large corporate hierarchies, smaller businesses are perfectly positioned to quickly adapt and take advantage of various funding opportunities.
Financing for Innovation
The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program provides lucrative tax credits for research and development in Canada. If your company is a qualified Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC) developing new or improved products or processes, you could receive a federal refund of up to 35 per cent, plus a provincial rate of up to 10 per cent in BC, on eligible expenditures, including wages, subcontracts and materials for SR&ED activities.
The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) supports businesses that require funding for early-stage R&D and prototyping through a non-repayable contribution that will cover labor and subcontractor costs.
In addition, businesses in Western Canada that are transitioning their innovative technologies to the commercialization stage may be eligible for an interest-free loan of up to $3.5 million per project from the Western Innovation (WINN) Initiative.
For agri-food businesses, the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program (BCAIP), a provincial initiative under the federal Growing Forward 2 (GF2) program, supports R&D activities and the commercialization/adoption of innovative products.
Digital Media Funding
If your company is developing products in BC that present information using a combination of text, sounds and/or images to be used interactively by individuals for educational, informative or entertainment purposes, you may be eligible to receive a refund of up to 17.5 per cent of eligible salaries and wages under the British Columbia Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (BCIDMTC) program.
Furthermore, if your company pays BC provincial taxes and only claims federal SR&ED credits, you may be eligible to receive tax credits from both the SR&ED and the BCIDMTC programs.
Increasing Export Sales
CanExport is a new five-year government funding program, that provides $50 million in non-repayable funding to Canadian businesses to support the costs of new export market development activities including business travel, trade show exhibition and market research.
Numerous funding programs are available for increasing your workforce. For example, companies that are hiring co-op students may be eligible for a $4,500 grant per student under NSERC’s Experience Awards, or $2,700 per student from the BC Tech Co-op Grants Program.
Similarly, companies hiring recent graduates under the age of 31 may be eligible for funding of up to 80 per cent of new hire salaries through the IRAP Youth Employment Program.
Industry-specific funding, such as the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada program and CareerConnect – ICTC, also provide significant wage subsidies for hiring recent graduates.
Take advantage of government funding – it can give you the edge you need to take your small business to the next level.
Please contact the respective government departments specific to your financing needs listed above directly for further information. If you would like more information on which grants apply to you, refer to the Canada Business Network “Government Grants and Financing” page or contact the Canada Business Network toll-free at 1-888-576-4444.