This grant blog addresses the following topics:
- Why few start-up grants exist
- Start-up grants presented in the following categories: agriculture, Aboriginal, and technology
- Two secret gems
- Other start-up resources
Do grants exist for start-up companies?
Are there many?
Where are they?
Further down in this blog.
Contrary to what you probably heard, you will find few grants for start-up companies. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Governments are risk adverse; they are reluctant to give money to start-up businesses.
Everyone knows that most businesses start and fail within a couple years.
Most grants are for established businesses (and established non-profits).
Many grants work like this: you spend the money first, and the grant reimburses you 50 percent or 75 percent – in the event of stacking.
GRANT STACKING IS WHEN YOU TAKE TWO OR MORE GRANTS AND APPLY THEM TO THE SAME PROJECT. GRANT STACKING IS USUALLY ENCOURAGED BY GRANT AGENCIES.
Here is the stacking section from the Alberta Innovates Product Demonstration Program guide:
Some grants do exist for start-up businesses, and we present them here for your convenience.
3 Grants You Need To Know About
1. AGRICULTURE | PRODUCTS TO MARKETS PROGRAM
Value: The Program provides grants on a cost-shared basis to cover Eligible Expenses for approved Projects up to a maximum of $50,000 per Applicant per Fiscal Year. Eligible Capital Expenses shall be cost-shared at 25% grant and 75% Applicant; and b) Eligible Non-Capital Expenses shall be cost-shared at 50% grant and 50% Applicant.
The purpose of the Canadian Agricultural Partnership Products to Markets Program is to support growth of Alberta’s agricultural industries by supporting development of New Products and/or processes, commercialization of products in New Markets, and expansion into local, domestic and international markets.
- Industry Organizations;
- New Entrants; and
- Producers who are: i. adding value past primary agricultural production; or ii. involved in international market development activities.
- Product and Process Development
- Label and Package Development (must be supported by marketing plan)
- Processing Capacity Expansion
- Market Development
- Export Preparation and Planning
- Product Demonstration
- Activities to Support Aggregation and Distribution of Food
- AF-led Outbound Trade Initiatives
2. ABORIGINAL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT (ABED) | INDIGENOUS AND NORTHERN AFFAIRS CANADA:
Value: Funding maximums are up to $99,999 for Aboriginal individuals and incorporated businesses and up to $250,000 for community owned businesses.
ABED works with Aboriginal entrepreneurs, communities, and organizations to achieve their business goals by providing a range of services and support that promote the growth of a strong Aboriginal business sector. Support will vary depending upon the needs of the client, the availability and sources of funding, the eligibility of costs, the economic benefits, and the project viability.
Clients must be individuals of Canadian Aboriginal heritage — Status or Non-status Indian (on or off-reserve), Métis or Inuit — or a majority-owned Aboriginal business, or an Aboriginal community and/or development corporation
To be eligible for support, clients should also be involved full-time with the proposed business in a management capacity and must be able to provide some level of cash equity to support the project
- Business planning
- Establishment (capital) costs
- Business acquisitions
- Business expansions
- Marketing initiatives that are local, domestic, or export oriented
- New product or process development
- Adding technology to improve operations and competitiveness
- Operating costs in association with capital costs
- Financial services, business support, business-related training, and mentoring services
Deadline: Ongoing. Speak with regional Aboriginal Financial Institution (AFI) before applying.
Contact: Alberta Métis Development Inc. (AMDI) | 1-800-252-7963 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Micro-Voucher | Alberta Innovates Technology Futures (AITF):
Value: Up to $10,000, paid directly to a Service or Product Provider.
The Micro-Voucher is designed to support technologies in the early developmental stages, from TRL 2 to TRL 4 inclusive – for early start-up development. The Service or Product Provider provides any one or more of the following items for the benefit of the Applicant:
- Market assessments
- Business plan development
- Intellectual property assessments
- Acquisition of materials and/or equipment critical to the Applicant’s operations
- The Applicant must pay a minimum cash contribution of 25% of the Project Costs directly to the Service or Product Provider. Strategic Timelines Inc. is a service provider for this program.
The Service or Product Provider (applicable for the Micro-Voucher Program only) – the person or entity named in the Application who is providing services and/or products to the Applicant during the course of the Project must meet the following criteria:
Must have demonstrated qualification, capabilities and capacity to successfully perform the work required or deliver the applicable product in or for the Project in a timely manner
Must be Arm’s Length from the Applicant (cannot have any legal relationship with the Applicant
Does not have an outstanding balance or otherwise owe money to an Alberta Innovates organization, subsidiary, or partner
Must provide the service(s) and/or product(s) at reasonable market rates
Contact: Neelum Mangat | 780.450.5085 | email@example.com
TWO SECRET GEMS
GRANT GEM ONE
As we’ve been building the Alberta Business Grants database for years, we’ve come across government funded programs.
Are they exactly grants? No. But they are government programs you can benefit for free.
FREE GOVERNMENT FUNDED SELF EMPLOYMENT TRAINING
It’s a training program designed to help Albertans get into business quickly. The folks at the Microbusiness Training Centre are awesome. A program exists in Calgary too.
GRANT GEM TWO
Finding grants can be time consuming and painful, so I put my entire grant database online for you for FREE! Enjoy.
OTHER START-UP GRANT RESOURCES
While few grants exist for start-up businesses, Alberta has several government-funded and private organizations to help you get started. Here is a list to help you get started:
Business Link is Alberta’s entrepreneurial hub. We are a non-profit organization that helps Alberta entrepreneurs start their own businesses. You’ve got an innovative idea and the motivation to take the next step. Now what? We’ll give you the tools to make your business idea a reality, and connect you with the most relevant small business resources to help bring your idea to life.
Contact: Business Link | 780-422-7722
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE):
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enabling women to build successful businesses. AWE provides unique programs and services to women at all stages of business through advising, financing, mentoring, and skills and network development.
We believe our communities and economies are stronger when women are full participants in entrepreneurship.
Startup Canada is a grassroots network of entrepreneurs working together to build an environment for entrepreneurship in Canada. Through online platforms, grassroots Startup Communities and cross-sector initiatives, Startup Canada is advancing entrepreneurial momentum and a culture of entrepreneurship, as the voice of Canadian entrepreneurs.
Contact: Startup Canada | (613) 627-0787 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Formed as an independent corporation in 2008, Alberta Enterprise is a key component of the Government of Alberta’s goal of building a more sustainable, diversified technology industry in Alberta, one where home-grown innovation is encouraged and technology entrepreneurs have greater access to venture capital.
Our mission is to promote the development of Alberta’s venture capital (VC) industry. We achieve this by investing in VC funds that finance early stage technology companies and that have a commitment to Alberta – including a full-time presence in the province. We also support Alberta’s VC ecosystem by connecting investors, entrepreneurs, and experienced technology veterans who share our passion for building a bright, innovative Alberta.
In the long term, our activities will help Alberta claim a larger share of the venture capital invested in Canada. We anticipate venture funds will be more active in pursuing investments here with local lead investors and in looking at Alberta-based companies and technologies. Alberta’s investment community will also be better networked within Alberta, across Canada and internationally.
Contact: Alberta Enterprise | 1-877-336-3474 | email@example.com
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC):
BDC is Canada’s business development bank and the only financial institution devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs.
BDC helps create and develop strong Canadian businesses through financing, advisory services and capital, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.
- BDC supports entrepreneurs in all industries and at all stages of development from 118 business centres across Canada and online at bdc.ca
- BDC is committed to the long-term success of Canadian entrepreneurs and understands that a business is more than just dollars and cents
- BDC complements the role played by private-sector financial institutions and have been serving Canadian entrepreneurs since 1944
- BDC is a financially sustainable Crown corporation and operates at arm’s length from its sole shareholder, the Government of Canada
Contact: Business Development Bank of Canada | 1-888-463-6232
Our rewards-based crowdfunding platform that helps small businesses in Alberta raise capital.
Through ATB BoostR, businesses can raise money, test ideas, and gain exposure and market insights from the crowd. All that in exchange of a reward—a product, service, or experience.
Entrepreneurs also get:
A team of supportive advisors that entrepreneurs can reach out to before, during and after their crowdfunding journey.
Coaching and guidance through monthly Crowdfunding 101 workshops in Calgary and Edmonton.
Opportunities for exposure through live pitch events and ATB’s marketing channels.
Helpful resources! Even if you’re not crowdfunding you can tap into these!)
BoostR is for businesses of all stages—from startup to well established—whether you’re looking to launch or reach the next level of growth.
ATB X Accelerator
Get your business to market faster with ATB X.
20 startups. 14 weeks. Endless opportunities.
Our intensive, 14-week business accelerator program supports Albertan entrepreneurs from diverse industries, who are in the market validation stage, with a curriculum, connections and community.
If entrepreneurship is the path you’ve chosen, you don’t have to go it alone. That’s why we created ATB X—a three-month accelerator program built and operated by ATB, exclusively for our early-stage entrepreneur clients.
What you get:
Dedicated 24/7 office space.
Tailored networking opportunities and weekly workshops.
Access to our Advisory Panel for one-on-one support.
Celebrate the journey and the wins.
We’re here to support you from a 360 degree perspective with:
Curriculum. Validate your business model and target customers while you test your go-to-market strategy.
Connections. Grow your network in a meaningful way by tapping into ATB’s connections.
Community. Co-work and collaborate with other ambitious Alberta entrepreneurs.
Western Innovation Initiative (WINN) | Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD):
WINN is a $100 million five-year federal initiative that offers repayable contributions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with operations in Western Canada, in order to help move their new and innovative technologies from the later stages of research and development to the marketplace. The intent of WINN is to promote the development and diversification of the western Canadian economy by providing financial support to qualified SMEs to help them accelerate the commercialization of innovative products, processes and services in Western Canada, and by stimulating greater private sector investment in western Canadian commercialization activities.
- For-profit businesses incorporated to conduct business in Canada
- Less than 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees (parents and subsidiaries included in final FTE count)
- Have been in operation for at least one year
- Have operating facilities located in Western Canada (defined as British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba)
- Have a viable plan to commercialize (i.e., generate revenues from sales) an innovative, technology-driven, new or improved product, service or process within three years of project commencement
- Have sufficient intellectual property rights to carry out the proposed project and to commercially exploit the results of the project
- Have provided a current business plan, that includes elements of the proposed project and recent financial statements
- Have confirmed, at the time of application, funding from all other sources, including government and non-government (non-government funding must represent at least 50 percent of the proposed project costs)
- Are requesting no more than $3.5 million in WINN support
Contact: Western Economic Diversification Canada | 1-888-338-9378
Community Futures Alberta:
For 30 years, Community Futures has been supporting small business development and rural economic diversification in Alberta. We are a community driven, non-profit organization with 27 offices in rural areas throughout Alberta. Each office is staffed by local business professionals and guided by a volunteer Board of Directors.
In other words, we live where you live, and reap the benefits of a strong local economy created by business entrepreneurs just like you! Read about some of the many successful businesses we have helped start-up and grow over the years.
We provide a wide range of small business loans, business coaching/training services and business management tools for people wanting to start, expand, franchise or sell a business.
We also run a number of specialized business programs, and actively work with community and business leaders to foster rural economic growth.
Contact: Community Futures Capital Region | 780-968-7013 | capitalregion.albertacf.com
TEC Edmonton’s purpose is to accelerate growth of emerging technology-based companies.
Through its people, networks and facilities, TEC Edmonton develops the Edmonton region’s innovation reputation worldwide by:
- Commercializing technology from private, university and public sources
- Helping build successful innovation-based companies
- Fostering and promoting innovation and new enterprise development
Contact: TEC Edmonton | 780.492.8977 | info@TECedmonton.com
Startup Edmonton is an entrepreneurial community hub. We connect entrepreneurs and product builders with skills, community and workspace to support them as they take ideas to reality.
We’re here to help you each step of the way. We have mentorship & programs, a vibrant community of peer support, and workspace that can grow with you.
Contact: Startup Edmonton | firstname.lastname@example.org
Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC):
We build Edmonton’s reputation, drive the global growth ambition of Edmonton companies, and attract visitors and investment—increasing resiliency and growth of the city.
At EEDC, we know that economic development is a team sport, and our five divisions work in unison on initiatives that generate economic impact and build the brand and reputation of our city:
- Trade and Investment Division
- Urban Economy Division
- Edmonton Tourism
- Shaw Conference Centre
- EEDC Corporate Services Division
Contact: Edmonton Economic Development | 780 424 9191 | email@example.com
Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI):
For over 26 years, the Northern Alberta Business Incubator (NABI) has offered entrepreneurs and small businesses the office spaces, marketing resources, path finding advised, coaching, inspiration, capital and networking connections they need to improve their chances of survival and success at 5 years to 80%. Grow your business, manage the risk with NABI.
NABI provides excellent customer service to meet your needs. We offer flexible month-to-month leases, readily available support services, access to meeting rooms, and opportunities to work with other NABI businesses.
Contact: NABI | 780.460.1000 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Innovate Calgary is the technology-transfer and business-incubation centre for the University of Calgary working with the Office of the Vice-President (Research) to help bridge the gap between discovery and innovation. We help guide research or innovation-driven enterprises to market or to the next stage of business growth.
From ideation to commercialization, we have successfully supported our innovation-driven community for 35 years. We are proud members of Alberta’s innovation ecosystem and work with local, national and international partners to help you move your ideas forward.
Contact: Innovate Calgary | (403) 284-6400
By partnering with the best resources in and out of Calgary, we foster startups, connect founders and support the local business community with programming, events, and initiatives.
Calgary Economic Development:
Calgary Economic Development works with business, government and community partners to position Calgary as the location of choice for the purpose of attracting business investment, fostering trade and growing Calgary’s workforce.
Contact: Calgary Economic Development | 403-221-7831 | email@example.com
Futurpreneur Canada makes it easier for aspiring young business owners to secure financing. And we’ve partnered with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to extend our support to you even further.
We offer collateral-free loans at better interest rates than most banks. But we can’t do it alone. We’re able to finance up to $15,000 per business. If you need more money, BDC may provide up to $30,000.
Contact: Futurpreneur Canada | 1-866-646-2922
Tundra A.C.E. Program
The Tundra A.C.E program is an exciting new initiative to help fast track the commercialization of near market ready technologies that solve some of industry’s most pressing problems. Learn more about the Tundra A.C.E program.
District Adventures Accelerator Program
Twice a year we invest $130k with 10 Canadian food/beverage and health/wellness entrepreneurs in exchange for a minority equity stake of their company.
The founders take part in a 5-month accelerator program designed to rapidly increase valuation through sales, distribution, and marketing support. The accelerator also provides members with access to blue chip service sponsors, like ATB Financial, Bennett Jones LLP, and BDO Canada to deliver workshops on debt financing, legal, and tax and accounting management.
While we encourage all the companies to move to Calgary for 5 months to work alongside their peers, where it is not feasible, we require each company to spend a minimum of one full week per month in the accelerator during programming weeks.
At the end of the program, founders will pitch their companies at Demo Day, where you will be introduced to investors to attract your next round of funding, including the possibility of receiving follow-on investment from District Ventures Capital.
Throughout the course of the program, we will broadcast your company through public relations efforts, a profile on Youinc.com, our website, and on our social channels.
District Ventures Accelerator is part of an ecosystem of support that delivers capital, mentorship and marketing to innovative CPG companies. Founded by Arlene Dickinson, District Ventures Accelerator, District Ventures Capital, and Venture Communications operate with the sole purpose to turning successful companies into globally respected brands.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | 2540 Kensington Road NW Calgary, AB T2N 3S3
Kinetica Energy Technology Accelerator
Kinetica Ventures was launched in 2015 through an Innovate Calgary (now Calgary Technologies) initiative to develop an energy technology accelerator program. The launch was made possible with $3 million in funding over five years from the Government of Canada through the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program (CAIP), and is supported by Alberta Economic Development and Trade.
Kinetica Ventures bridges the energy industry and technology innovators to accelerate world-class energy technologies. We support industry partners by working with technology developers who have emerging innovation that addresses industry’s key challenges, lowers costs and improves competitive advantages. This unique industry-driven program works closely with key energy sector partners in four focus areas: hydrocarbon recovery and processing; energy transport; carbon capture, reuse and storage; and renewable energy.
Kinetica Ventures assists entrepreneurs to bring their technologies to market and scale them for industry. We work with clients that:
- Have a market demand
- Are a technology developer
- Are ready to commercialize
- Are committed, credible, and coachable
- Are incorporated
- Have a validated prototype
- Want to build a business
Contact: Alastair Ross Technology Centre (Main Office) 3553 31 St NW Calgary, AB, Canada T2L 2K7 | 403-284-6400
Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program
Western Canadians who have a disability can access a network of business professionals and a world of resources through Western Economic Diversification Canada’s Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP). The EDP provides business information, training and development, mentoring and one-on-one counseling services.
In rural communities, the program is delivered through Community Futures offices.
In urban areas, Western Economic Diversification Canada works with organizations to deliver the program. For more information on the program and the services available contact the organization listed below that is nearest to you.
Prospect Human Services Society
Community Futures Network of Alberta
Apeetogosan (Métis) Development Inc.
Apeetogosan is committed to providing profitable and sustainable financial services and support to clients who seek the means to attain economic self-sufficiency.
Services Provided Include:
- Small Business Loans
- Access to Small Business Grant (MEAP & SEAP)
- Support Service Programs
- Business Advisory Services
(Through Pinnacle Business Services Ltd.)
Like other business lending institutions, Apeetogosan’s future lies in the success of its clients. The loan process is designed to ensure that the ingredients for profitability are contained in the business proposal. We are here to help you along the path of turning your idea into a successful reality.
Agriculture Financial Services Corporation
Agriculture Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) is a provincial Crown corporation with a private sector Board of Directors that provides producers, agribusinesses and other small businesses loans, crop insurance and farm income disaster assistance. AFSC has provided Alberta farmers with hail insurance for 80 years and has grown into a diverse corporation with several core business areas, including crop insurance, livestock price insurance, farm loans, commercial loans and farm income disaster assistance.
Contact: 1.877.899.2372 Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
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