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5 Ways Small Businesses Can Access Grants in Canada

Michael James 2016-08-10 16:00:00

Financial institutions across North America and Europe are not lending to small businesses.

Since the economic collapse, banks have refused to lend money to small businesses and startups. This has been the trend for much of the economic recovery. And it doesn't seem like it's getting any better, even if the Bank of Canada (BOC) slashes interest rates even further (negative?).

In order to establish or grow a small business, many entrepreneurs are turning to the state for funding. Governments at all three levels are offering Canadian small businesses necessary grants, tax credits and other forms of funding in order to compete with the rest of the world. It's a bold initiative for the federal, provincial and municipal governments, but it's also an opportunity for small businesses across the country, whether they're in British Columbia, Ontario or PEI.

The list of small business grants and all other kinds of funding is immense, such as the entrepreneurial initiatives found at Ontario Centres of Excellence. The size is one of the reasons why it's so hard to find, access, apply and receive. Plus you have the hefty competition.

When you're unsure how to get the funds, here are five ways small businesses can access grants:

Be Clever & Be Different From Others

In the world of government-funded small business grants, the competition can be enormous, particularly for a handful of widely known government funding initiatives. On the other hand, there are so many other kinds of government funds that experience a great ordeal of attracting applicants and remain under-subscribed.

Therefore, you must exploit this fact (this is how you be clever and different from your rivals).

As you apply for government grants, seek out lesser-known funds and increase your opportunities substantially. And, of course, you have to continue being different from others.

Show How You Can Contribute to the Economy

Governments won't just give you money (they'll easily extract it, of course!) for being a small business. Instead, the government has to know what it will get in return for granting you funds. Will your small business contribute to the economy or will it help foreign consumers?

Once you apply for a small business grant, you have to show how exactly your company can contribute to the national, regional or local economy. Otherwise, your application will be denied.

Understand Your Business Terminology

A trick to garner government funds is to know your business terminology. What's interesting about this is the fact that most Canadian government websites lack pure business terminology. This is because actual small business grant programs are minimal. Instead, what you will see are things like awards, tax credits, rebates, non-repayable loans and so on. Most of these terms really refer to business funding you do not have to pay back, which is the definition of a grant.

Take Advantage of Hub Websites

Next, you must take advantage of the vast number of hub websites that the Canadian government maintains. These web portals provide you with a full list of government assistance for small businesses, including the much coveted grants. Here are a few websites to take a gander at:

These are just a few of the online resources that you can utilize to find funding for your firm.

Never, Ever Overlook the Details

Did you know that 80 percent of the applications for government funds are turned away at the screening stage? This is because the applications do not fulfill the basic compliance criteria. Whether or not the applicants have read through the fine print, details and overall application isn't clear. What we do know, though, is that success rates need to go up.

In other words, you have to scan through every single detail in order to boost your chances of being approved. If there are certain elements of the funding criteria that you do not understand then hire a professional who can help you through this important process.

Whatever you do, do not overlook the details!

In 2014, small businesses secured nearly $15 billion in government funding. This suggests that the government is bullish on smaller enterprises across the Great White North.

But just because Ottawa or Queen's Park may have fierce appetites for lending money to small businesses, it doesn't mean you can just walk in and request these funds. Instead, you have to go through a long, arduous application process and be sure you follow all the steps. As long as you be creative, abide by the rules and try to look at all of the angles then you will be fine

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