Have you seen big companies in the news awarded for millions of dollars and feel that access to these funding opportunities are out of reach for your business? You’re not alone. I see this all the time when I speak to businesses. The reality is that grant programs are often built to support small businesses and although funding amounts are not always in the hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars, the benefits from grants often outweigh bottom line offsets.
Understanding Government Grants
I recently met with a restaurant business that is expanding into a franchise business. At this time, they have two locations. Even at a point in the year when federal and provincial funding is largely allocated, there were still eligible for $20,000 to $30,000 in grant funds that could benefit their business over the next year. As they continue to grow and have greater needs to build out a platform and build out operational improvements, which requires training of their staff, hiring, and leveraging more energy efficient equipment, the amount they qualify for could triple.
The reality is that government grant programs are out there to support businesses that are beyond the start-up stage and ready to grow. They have their first employee, or are seeking to hire one, they understand that further up-skilling is required so that they improve on business and industry-related skills, they are ready to grow their revenues, and/or are developing innovation that puts Canada ‘on the map’. These activities align with four key government objectives: increase employment, build a skilled domestic workforce, greater economic prosperity, and support for world-class innovation.
As great as this sounds, often companies fail to apply for grants for the following three reasons:
- They haven’t registered their business properly: While the government has grants available for businesses, programs filter out businesses that don’t have the right provincial registration and/or municipal business license.
- They don’t think of grants as an ongoing strategic funding option: Companies who take time to search for grants regularly and apply for funding throughout the year are often most successful with grant programs.
- They look for grants to cover basic operational expenses: It would be nice if there was a grant that would cover a new piece of equipment, rent, or leasehold improvements. The reality is that grants need to meet government objectives and it would be difficult to justify to taxpayers why public dollars are allocated to cover general costs of doing business. Hint: Loans may cover some of these expenses.
Want to make sure your company is set up for grant success? Our company, Granted Consulting created this checklist with five tips of how to best prepare your business before applying for grants. It doesn’t really matter what stage of business you are in, leveraging grants is a strategic way to stretch your company’s finances and to grow your business further. Get granted today!