The Where and How of Applying for Business Grants

02 Jun. 21

Starting a business, especially with a lack of funds; is incredibly difficult. While there’s a variety of ways for people to fund their businesses; they often include taking on large amounts of debt or require a large history of credit prior to being able to take out a loan. While business grants are a great way for an upstart business to fund itself, they can be a bit difficult to apply for and to receive. Business grants tend to also pay out to particular fields, including agribusiness, biotechnology, or environmental technology. Moreover, many business grants are ‘no strings attached’ deals, some requiring the business to match the subsidy or grant upfront in order to be approved for funding. While there is no master list of business grants for businesses to browse, we’ve collected a list of tips below in order to apply for business grants; and to make the process a little bit simpler.

Business Grants sometimes go by Different Names

While this guide will refer to business grants by that uniform term, websites which may advertise business grants are not always as transparent. They may be listed under different terms such as generic terms like “small business financing,” awards, contributions, shared costs, subsidies, rebates, tax credits (or additional tax rebates). All of these terms can refer to a business grant, as they may refer to funding your business does not inherently need to pay back. However, it is important for the business manager or legal team to investigate the fine print in order to prevent hidden fees or costs.

Your Business May not be Treated as a Priority

The amount of availability for business grants depends on a variety of different factors. Things such as location and industry sector are critical, as while sciences are typically treated with reverence and receive the majority of the funding; sectors such as retail and business receive significantly less. Moreover, location is pivotal. Smaller, local provinces may not offer as many options when it comes to business grant funding; and in larger areas such as Ontario; there are more organizations located in the North end as opposed to the South end. Be sure to research the availability of these programs in your area before taking further steps for your business.

Use Hub Sites

While I said earlier that there is no master list or government-hosted list for business grants; there are a variety of independent websites which host lists for business grants or other funding which does not need to be paid back. These are known as hub sites and typically cater to specific industries. Some of the best known of these sites is Innovation Canada and the Government Assistance Page; which allows you to search for business financing programs that are available per province.

Hunt for Grants in your Own Field

Instead of broadening your search for business grants, it may help to narrow them instead. Using guides on the Government of Canada website, you can freely find out the exact industry classification your business fits into. Once you have the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, it’ll be easier for both you and your business to find government assistance programs available to your particular industry sector.

Changing your Business to Take Advantage of Grants

While this tip might be a bit more drastic than the others, it may also prove to be the most profitable. There are certain financial and economic activities your business and team can take in order to improve the funding situation for your business. For example, participating in an SR&ED tax credit program will get you access to ‘free money, largely in the form of tax credits or rebates. Assuming you follow the SR&ED rules, you can even receive your tax credits without having to wait for full approval. Additionally, you may change the overall expenditure of your company in order to better your chances for business grants. Industries focusing on technology, exporting goods, and alternative energy is a few sectors the government is particularly keen on at the moment.

You may need to make some large changes to your business in order to receive grants for funding. But following these tips, you should be able to secure a variety of capital to ensure the success of your business. For more business tips or if you want to share your changing ideas, you want to implement in your business, contact us or mail at

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