Federal Startup Funding in Canada

As an entrepreneur, there’s nothing more exciting than securing venture funding to support your growing startup. The problem is, being venture-backed also means giving up some of your precious equity in the process.

Of course, venture funding isn’t the only way to get a business off the ground. In Canada, there are many different government business grants available for startup companies. From refundable tax credits to cover your research and development costs, to grants that allow you to hire fresh talent, the Canadian government has multiple federal programs and provincial grants designed to spur innovation north of the border.

The problem is, finding these government business grants can be a little tricky. To help you narrow your down your search, we’ve put together a list of the top government business grants for startup business in Canada.

Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) – A federal tax incentive program designed to encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada.

AgriInnovate Program – Provides repayable contributions for projects that aim to accelerate the commercialization, adoption and/or demonstration of innovative products, technologies, processes or services that increase agri-sector competitiveness and sustainability.

AgriMarketing Program: Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Component – A Canadian government grant that supports international expansion projects undertaken by food and beverage businesses. Through the program, SMEs can offset a portion of eligible project expenses for trade shows and related international marketing activities.

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) – Non-repayable contribution to develop, adopt or adapt innovative or improved technologies.

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP): Youth Employment Program – Financial assistance to offset the cost of hiring young talent to work on projects with R&D, engineering, multimedia or market analysis components or to help develop a new product or process.

Entrepreneurship and Business Development Fund (EBD) under the Northern Aboriginal Economic Opportunities Program (NAEOP) – The EBD fund provides financial support to Aboriginal entrepreneurs, businesses, and commercial entities to expand their business in the three territories.

Going Global Innovation (GGI) – GGI offers funding to support Innovators from Canadian organizations seeking foreign partners for the purpose of establishing a collaborative R&D agreement.

Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development Program (ABED) – ABED works with Aboriginal entrepreneurs and its partners to provide a range of services and supports that promote the growth of a strong Aboriginal business sector in Canada.

CanExport – Financial support for your small or medium-sized firm’s development of new export opportunities.

Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development (SINED) –SINED, administered by the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor), promotes economic development in the North in order to strengthen territorial economies and increase economic participation by Northerners.

Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) – The Strategic Innovation Fund’s objective is to spur innovation for a better Canada. Specifically, it serves to simplify application processes, accelerate processing, and provide assistance that is more responsive and focused on results. The program has five Streams, each with its own precise objective.

Canadian International Innovation Program (CIIP) – Funding to cover up to 50% of research and development project expenses while working with a foreign partner in Brazil, China, India, Israel or South Korea.

The Commercialization Consulting and Mentoring (CCM) Program -Funds to assist Atlantic Canadian businesses and institutions in the final stages of commercialization.

Accessible Technology Program (ATP) – Funding to develop affordable and commercially viable new technologies that will improve access to the digital economy for persons with disabilities and increase their employability.

Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) – A Canadian government funding program dedicated to supporting the research of innovative technologies. The program enables both private-sector research and collaborations with academia and research institutions. Projects should focus on commercially-viable technology development or adaptation.

Innovative Solutions Canada Program – If you have an idea to solve a government challenge, your business could get up to $150,000 to develop a proof of concept and up to $1 million to develop a prototype if your proof of concept is approved.

LearnSphere’s Export Market Access Program (EMAP) – Funding to cover the costs of short-term projects relating to export strategy, planning, and marketing activities.

Translation Assistance Program – Financial assistance for small and medium-sized businesses in the Atlantic region interested in having their promotional material translated.

Canada Job Grant (CJG) – The Canada Job Grant offers training grants/trainee to enhance your workforce. The Canada Job Grant maintains a provincial variant (stream) for every province and territory in Canada, except for Québec.

Canada Media Fund: Experimental Stream Innovation Program -Funding for innovative digital media content and software. The Experimental Stream supports the conceptualization, prototyping, production, and promotion (innovation) of interactive content intended for use in the Canadian media industry or for public use by Canadians.

CDMN Soft Landing Program – Funding for mature startups and SMEs to enter into new markets, close international sales, or connect with new partners.

Low Carbon Economy Challenge – A Canadian government funding program designed to support projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

NSERC Engage and NSERC Collaborative Research and Development (CRD) – The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) offers non-repayable grants to connect SMEs with University researchers for research and development.

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