Welcome to Alberta Business Grants!
My name is David Kincade, and I’m writing a weekly blog to help you secure government grant funding.
Here is this week’s topic:
FIVE PLACES YOU WILL NEVER EXPECT TO FIND A GRANT
This grant blog addresses the following topics:
- Unusual places you can find grants
- My grant beginnings
- Current grant opportunities for non-profits, agri-food businesses, and oil and gas
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When I arrived in Alberta in late 2003, I needed a job.
But I didn’t want any job, I wanted a dream job – one at the beautiful Alberta Legislature. After two degrees in political science, I was ready for the real world.
I ended up as a researcher for Alberta’s Official Opposition.
If you don’t know what that means, it means we get to ask the government absolutely anything we want with very little accountability.
It was an absolute blast.
FUN/SCARY FACT: did you know that a politician cannot be sued for anything he or she says in the “House” – a slang term for the Legislative Assembly of Alberta?
And believe me, any opposition politician doesn’t mind exercising that privilege from time to time. So be careful about not misusing grant funding because you might end up having your name hauled out onto the floor of the Legislature with the cameras rolling.
When I started in research, I was assigned the portfolios of Finance and Gaming. Little did I know that my first boss would become one of the greatest men that I’ve ever known: Rick Miller, MLA Edmonton Rutherford, Rotarian, entrepreneur, and dad.
Rick sat me down in his office and said, “Get me in the newspaper. Follow the money!”
I understood what he meant. He and I knew that there was government money everywhere, and surely the government was misspending some of it. Right?
I went to work and the first placed I looked: GRANTS!!
Now I present to you five places that you might be surprised to find grant funding:
1. FRAT HOUSE FURNITURE
Grant funding turned up everywhere. Here is one that caught the attention of the local media:
I don’t know who wrote that grant application, but I want to hire that person right NOW!
2. GOLF COURSES
Since 1998/99, 746 grants for $25,691,929 have been invested in golf courses. As the image below shows, grants are key part of keeping local golf courses in good shape. You can search around here: http://albertalotteryfund.ca/AlfWhoBenefitsApp/.
The next time you take a swing at your ball and take a huge divot, find solace in the fact you might have put a few of your bucks into the place. By the way, I worked at a golf course one summer (which I highly recommend), and I can tell you they are not cheap places to maintain.
3. OTHER INITIATIVES PROGRAM
When we came across this program, take a guess what opposition politicians were quick to call this one? Come on give it your best guess? Slush Fund.
In 2005 Alberta’s Auditor General decided to look at the program. Here is what he found:
“The Other Initiatives Program provides funding for projects that do not fall within the criteria or parameters of other government programs. The Department has not established or published eligibility criteria for the Other Initiatives Program because of the unique nature of the program.
Recommendation: We recommend the Department of Gaming ensure the published information, such as on www.albertalotteryfund.ca/grants, for grant programs available, is complete.
Recommendation: We also recommend the Department of Gaming develop guidelines for assessing Other Initiatives Program grants (Annual Report of the Alberta Auditor General 2004-2005, p203).”
Today the program is easily found on a website and the guidelines are clean and concise. That said, I have yet to find a non-profit who knows about this program. Feel free to share them this blog or link: https://www.alberta.ca/other-initiatives-program.aspx
4. $100,000 FOR MAKING NEW FOODS
Alberta Innovates has a new funding program for new or improved food ingredients or bioactives, food products, supplemented foods, or natural health products (NHPs)/nutraceuticals.
The end product must be derived from Alberta crop or livestock commodities, competitive in the domestic and global marketplace, respond to domestic and/or international demand, and promote wellness and/or prevent or treat chronic diseases.
Applicants are invited to submit a Full Proposal for a non-repayable grant of up to $100,000.
Deadline September 11, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. MST.
5. $610,000 FOR WELL ABANDONMENT AND RECLAMATION CHALLENGE
Some grants for Alberta businesses can come from organizations in other provinces jointly with larger companies. For example, the Advanced Resource Clean Technology Innovation Centre (ARCTIC) in British Columbia currently has grant funding to solve the abandoned oil well issue in Western Canada, which is being sponsored by NAL Resources of Calgary.
According to ARCTIC, “Oil and gas wells are abandoned either because they are no longer economic or the well’s mineral lease has expired. As of June 2013, there were more than 151,000 abandoned wells in Alberta, representing 35 per cent of all wells in the province (AER). In addition, there were approximately 77,000 suspended wells slated for abandonment with estimated abandonment costs ranging from $7 to $23 billion (Alberta Energy Regulator, 2016).”
ARCTIC brings funding to support Industry Challenge Sponsors find new innovators that can become future suppliers. ARCTIC is operated by the Foresight Clean Energy Accelerator with support from BC Innovation Council (BCIC), Western Economic Diversification (WD) and Canada’s National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC/IRAP).
Any organization is eligible to participate in the program so long as there are demonstrable benefits to developing and commercializing the innovation in Western Canada.
The total funding available is up to $610,000 Canadian Dollars (CAD).
ARCTIC has a webinar on August 14 from 10-11am MST where you can learn more.
Submission Deadline: August 30, 2017
http://arctic.foresightcac.com/arctic-challenges/sprint-4-nal-resources/ – scroll down to the bottom of the page for FAQ document.
Before you start applying to any of these grants, please read last week’s blog about the SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK A GRANT AGENCY BEFORE YOU WRITE
Just one final personal note. During my time at the Alberta Legislature, Rick became a very close friend and mentor. I admired him. He would work hard, yet he would bring his two kids, Chris and Kim, with him everywhere. His priorities were correct, and he was respected by all sides of the House. Unfortunately we lost him far too young to cancer on October 26, 2013. He was 53.
Rick, I know you’re up in heaven reading this old buddy. So many of us miss you and think about you all the time.