Welcome to Alberta Business Grants!
WHO QUALIFIES FOR GOVERNMENT GRANTS?
- Big grant money
- Small grant money
- A couple grant golden rules
Because I’ve been around grants for nearly 15 years, I’m always surprised when I hear people say the following statements. And I hear them pretty much once a week.
“I didn’t even realize that we qualify for a grant.”
“Why would the government give me, a profitable business, a grant? I don’t believe it.”
Numerous other versions exist, but in this government grant blog, I want to show you who really qualifies for grants.
DON’T WAIT! DOWNLOAD OUR “THREE STEPS TO WINNING A GOVERNMENT GRANT” PDF HERE – HTTP://ALBERTABUSINESSGRANTS.CA/
THE BIG MONEY
Three sectors dominate the business grant scene: agriculture, environment, and technology.
Agriculture (Ag) has grants from start up to scale up. Ag even has its own unique export grant that NO OTHER INDUSTRY can even apply for. That is crazy, but it is true. Here is the government grant for ag businesses: http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/?id=1357941192614.
Our database is full of agriculture grants. They can get grants for everything: employees, export, equipment, marketing, and training. The list goes on. Seriously, if you’re in agriculture or agri-food, and you’re not applying for grants, that is sad.
It is sad because your competition is entering markets at half the cost you are, they are creating new products at a fraction of the price, and they spend way less on marketing than you. You pay taxes. GET IN THE GRANT GAME NOW.
Is your business helping reduce GHG emissions? Is your technology saving fresh water? Massive amounts of grant money exist for “for-profit” businesses that are improving our environment.
If you’re reading this blog, then chances are you know exactly why this money exists. The federal government is Liberal. The provincial government is NDP. They have a strong mandate to create a sustainable economy. If there was ever a time to have a “green” company in this province, it is now. You may never live in a better time than today if you are in the green economy.
Here is the mandate and vision for the largest environmental grant fund in Alberta: Emissions Reduction Alberta:
And that grant is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re an environmental innovator, you need to drop what you’re doing and call the grant agency. By the way, if you want to hit your grant agency meeting out of the park, then go there like a pro. You can take our GRANTS 201 course to avoid making a terrible first impression: http://albertabusinessgrants.ca/courses/. It could make the difference between you receiving $100,000s and you annoying them.
Another tip for the environmental folks. If you’re an engineer, please avoid being overly technical right away. Many people who work at grant agencies are not engineers, so you need to speak to them in a language they understand. As students who have taken our GRANTS 101 course have learned, your project must appeal to the taxpayer. If it doesn’t, you are toast. Look how clean this language is from a funded project. Follow this example when you communicate: http://eralberta.ca/projects/details/matter-timing-source-enhanced-efficiency-nitrogen-fertilizers-products-reduce-nitrous-oxide-emissions-prairie-provinces/
To sum up on the environment, don’t be afraid of applying for a grant. A little bit of work can yield an enormous return for your small business. Just don’t tell Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Finance Minister Bill Morneau. I’m kidding! (this blog was written at time when these two were proposing unpleasant tax increases on small businesses).
If you look out your window right now, you can probably see the pile of grant money about to be thrown at Alberta technology companies. The money will land in the following categories:
- Product development
- Market research
Government grants are everywhere. Our team has had the privilege of winning some of the largest and most coveted grants for technology companies. In a future post, I’m going to break down exactly how we did it. For now I’m going to give you a simple winning formula.
And I can’t take all the credit for this formula. Let us give the credit to Abraham Lincoln who so elegantly said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
WHEN IT COMES WINNING A GOVERNMENT GRANT, YOU NEED TO SPEND MOST OF YOUR TIME IN THE STAGES BEFORE WRITING.
Those stages are “finding” the grant and “meeting the grant agency.” The entire grant is won or lost at that stage.
Find the wrong grant, and you’re done. Don’t speak to the grant agency first and win that meeting? You’re toast.
Those two are the magic formula to winning a grant.
But most people just aren’t patient enough. Grant-losing businesses ask questions like, “when do I get the money.” Instead of asking “does my project align with the government’s mandate?”
Grant Losers: bark at, and are negative to, grant agency staff.
Grant Winners: are patient, kind, and considerate toward grant agency staff.
Grant losers: annoy grant agencies with too many questions. They talk too much. It’s all about them.
Grant winners: are organized. Minimize grant agency touch points. Delight grant agency staff.
Grant losers: don’t build relationships with grant agency staff.
Grant winners: when they win an export grant, they send a post card from the country they are doing business in to say all is well and thank you.
That concludes advice for where the big grant money resides, but what about the rest of us? Is there anything out there for the “little guy or gal?”
Don’t be sad if you’re not in one of the big three grant categories because a lot of other grants exist out there.
The next most common place to find business grants is for companies that are doing exports. If you have products or services and selling them worldwide, you can get everything form your flights, hotels, market research, to trade show booth reduced by 50%.
Here’s the scary part again: if you’re not applying and receiving these grants, your competition might be doing the same job at half the cost as you. Ouch! Imagine you were on the same flight. Okay I’ll stop, but you get the idea.
Now, just about every business is eligible for employment grants (e.g. hiring and training). Even if you’re a really small business, you are eligible for the “small grants” (e.g. 80% wage subsidies for hiring a person with a disability or summer students). Grants galore in this space.
YOU DO NOT QUALIFY FOR GRANTS
The absolute worst business for grants is a solopreneur in consulting. Don’t waste a minute of your life searching for grants. The best grants for start-ups are here http://albertabusinessgrants.ca/start-up.
A COUPLE OF GRANT GOLDEN RULES
Don’t conform your business to fit the grant as it rarely works out. It’s just sad when I see that.
Don’t take short cuts to a grant. If your business doesn’t exactly check all the boxes for the grant, stop immediately. The truth will surface at some point. It might take 12 months to find out – when you submit your first claim for reimbursement and find out “that you do not have eligible expenses to claim.” I’ve seen that once. Ouch.
The good news is that by following the tips in these blogs, you’re going to find government grants simple.