This grant blog addresses the following topics:
- Why few small business grants exist for startups
- Small business grants presented for startups in the following categories: agriculture, Indigenous, and technology
- Two secret gems
- Other small business grant resources for starting a business
Do small business grants exist for startup companies?
Are there many?
Where are they?
Further down in this blog.
Contrary to what you probably heard, you will find few small business grants for start-up companies. Most of the grant are in five specific sectors, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Governments are risk adverse; they are reluctant to give money to startup businesses.
Everyone knows that most businesses start and fail within a couple years.
Most grants are for established businesses (and established non-profits).
Some small business grants do exist for startup businesses, and we present them here for your convenience.
3 Grants You Need To Know About
1. AGRICULTURE | CANADA-BC Agri-Innovation
Value: Eligible projects may be funded up to 75% in cases where the potential benefit to industry is demonstrated to be substantial.
Innovation means the development of promising “new to B.C.” agriculture and agrifood products, practices, processes or technologies that might be adopted or commercialized by the sector.
- B.C. agrifood sector producers and processors
- Industry associations/organizations
- Retail and food service businesses
- Input, technology and support services providers
- Academic institutions and/or other organizations and private sector businesses
- Regional districts and local governments
- Research and Development: late-stage research projects that develop innovative products, practices, processes and technologies with the potential to move to the pilot or demonstration stage within two years.
- Pilot and Demonstration: projects that focus on testing or demonstrating pre-commercial products, processes, practices or technologies from around the world. Projects should result in market-ready solutions ready for commercialization or adoption by the sector.
- Commercialization and Adoption: projects support activities that reduce the financial and business risks associated with early-stage commercialization and adoption of innovative products, processes, practices and technologies.
Contact: AgriServiceBC@gov.bc.ca | 1-888-221-7141
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 | email@example.com
3. TECHNOLOGY | NEW VENTURES BC COMPETITION
Value: $275,000 in capital and in-kind business services
The New Ventures Competition presented by Innovate BC drives the growth of early-stage technology companies by providing mentorship, business seminars, networking events and recognition.
- Past winners have raised over $302 million in financing, $200 million in revenues, and have created thousands of jobs in British Columbia. Over 150 of BC’s top business leaders volunteer as mentors and jurors. Since its inception, more than 1,500 entrepreneurs have participated in the program.
Suite 900 – 1188 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Toll free: 1.800.570.7957
TWO SECRET GEMS
GRANT GEM ONE
Self Employment Program
The Self Employment Program provides financial assistance to eligible applicants who want to start their own business or purchase an existing business, in which they have had no prior ownership. The program provides income support, business plan development support, a variety of business skills development workshops, one-on-one mentoring, business counseling, collaboration with peers and experiential learning in hands-on workshops.
GRANT GEM TWO
Finding grants can be time consuming and painful, so I put my entire grant database online for you for FREE! The list of BC grants is growing in the database. Enjoy.
OTHER START-UP GRANT RESOURCES
While few grants exist for start-up businesses, BC has several government-funded and private organizations to help you get started. Here is a list to help you get started:
BC Government Startup
The BC government has a decent “Starting a Business” resource page. It’s fairly clean. Check it out here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/managing-a-business/starting-a-business
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | 1 800-667-2272
Canada Small Business Financing Program
We support entrepreneurs through mentorship, coaching, and community. Join us and let’s build the future of #OKGNtech.
Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC)
Women’s Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organization devoted to helping BC women launch, lead and scale their own businesses. Fueling the success of BC women entrepreneurs since 1995, our full range of services includes business loans up to $150K, plus access to additional financing through a partnership with BDC, business skills training, personalized business advice, mentoring, practical resources and a supportive community.
Spring is a global incubator, accelerator and advisory firm that helps impact entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneurial ecosystem builders thrive. Spring empowers entrepreneurs & entrepreneurial ecosystem organizations to build better businesses and change the world.
SFU VentureLabs accelerates science and technology-based new ventures. We help companies who’ve found their product market fit become profitable, sustainable businesses—supporting them with the programs, mentoring, and services companies need most, when they need them most. Spring was founded in 2014 with a simple, but bold, vision: to change the world through entrepreneurship.
Contact: Phone: 604.729.4747
Innovation UBC hubs in downtown Vancouver and Kelowna provide easy ways to access our network.
Through entrepreneurship@UBC, we provide a wide range of activities to support start-ups. This includes venture-building programs, and incubation and accelerator spaces such as HATCH—an on-campus incubator for UBC technology ventures.
BC Tech is guided by our mission to make BC the best place to grow and scale a tech company.
Tech is a tool for good in our lives, in our communities, and in our province. BC Tech is driven to make BC the best place to grow a tech company by helping firms grow and scale into anchors—the large companies that drive both BC’s tech sector and the economy.
We do this by providing the place and the programs, and advocating for the policies that help the tech community, collaborate, learn, and grow.
We help startups find product-market fit to launch, scale, and grow their companies. Spend three months with us, learning from our ecosystem’s greatest entrepreneurial minds, while getting exposed to the tech community and turning your ideas into a sustainable long-term business.
JABC (Junior Achievement of BC)
JABC (Junior Achievement of BC) has been a leader in youth business education for 65 years. Through partnerships with educators and volunteers from local business communities, JABC delivers interactive, hands-on learning experiences to students in grades 4-12 throughout British Columbia. Our programs align with BC’s new curriculum and focus on financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship.
Self Employment Training Program for Young Entrepreneurs
S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Self-Employment Training (SET) Program for Young Entrepreneurs is an initiative funded by the Government of Canada through the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement to empower eligible youth and young adults ages 17 and 29 in their process for self-employment / business startup in Metro Vancouver. Participants are screened into the Self-Employment Training (SET) Program based on their ability to meet the eligibility criteria and the viability of their existing business/business idea.
Phone: 236-317-4188 Ext. 2103, 2105, 2106
Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP)
Have a disability and a dream for a business? Ask us about the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program.
Self employment can be a great way for persons with a disability or an ongoing medical condition to achieve economic inclusion. Self employment is made more manageable through flexible hours, personalized work environments and a sense of control over your future.
Self-Employment Program (SEP) for PPMB & PWD
The Self-Employment Program (SEP) is intended to assist BC Employment Assistance (BCEA) clients who either have a Persons with Disabilities (PWD) designation, or meet the Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) criteria in establishing and operating a self-employment enterprise.
Starting a Business to British Columbia
British Columbia, Canada welcomes your business investment. If you are considering locating a new business here, contact them for confidential, knowledgeable advice. Investor services includes Business Start-Up Assistance. They draw on an extensive network of government and industry knowledge, contacts, and experience to help you establish your business in British Columbia.
AdvantageBC International Business Centre (formerly the International Financial Centre British Columbia (IFC BC)) is a non-profit society with a mandate to promote international business in British Columbia.
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.
Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative
The government of Canada is helping Canadian small and medium-sized businesses start up, scale up and access new markets. A strong venture capital ecosystem is critical to achieving this goal and to creating middle class jobs.
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
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 British Columbia
This program is offered around BC. The Self Employment (SE) Program provides financial assistance, business training and business advice to eligible individuals who want to become self-employed. The SE Program provides a financial benefit for a period of 48 week while the business is being established. The SE Program is delivered by the Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) of Revelstoke in partnership with the Employment Program of BC.
Contact: | email@example.com or (250) 837-5345
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
Foresight Launch program
The Foresight Launch program helps you learn what it takes to compete and win in emerging markets. Foresight is a not-for-profit corporation that fosters the growth of SMEs that are developing technology that improve environmental results and reduce GHG emissions.
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.
LISTS OF REGIONAL ABORIGINAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTION (AFI):
Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation (NEDC)
7563 Pacific Rim Highway
Port Alberni BC V9Y 8Y5
Telephone: (250) 724-3131
Toll free: (866) 444-6332
Fax: (250) 724-9967
Web: Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation (NEDC)
Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation (TACC)
Suite 508, 100 Park Royal South
West Vancouver, BC V7T 1A2
Toll Free: 1-800-779-7199
Telephone: (604) 926-5626
Fax: (604) 926-5627
Web: Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation (TACC)
All Nations Development Corporation
520 Chief Eli LaRue Way
Kamloops, BC V2H 1H1
Toll Free: 1-800-663-2959
Telephone: (778) 471-4110
Fax: (250) 372-2585
Web: All Nations Development Corporation
Before you ever write a grant application, I wrote a blog with the six questions must ask.
I also wrote a startup page for page for Alberta, and I include a helpful startup video.