Why government funding is critical for Canadian businesses and how to plan for funding success


Canadian Government Funding

You may be aware that Canadian government grant and loan programs are common for strategic projects in Canada, helping businesses support project costs and meet their project objectives and targetsespecially during times of economic duress. These programs are so helpful, in fact, that the Grant or Loan Program estimates that government funding in Canada may offset between 15-100% of strategic project costs.

Government grants and loans may also create additional cashflows and support for important initiatives, which lead to expanded projects being completed faster and more efficiently. Additionally, government funding support strengthens Canadian competitiveness and helps businesses become leaders on the global stage.


That’s why SMEs and entrepreneurs need to learn how to optimize their funding applications and integrate government funding into their strategic business plans. By doing so, they not only give their business extra support but allow the larger Canadian business ecosystem to thrive on an international scale. To help you better understand the benefits of government funding and proper application techniques, read our tips below:

How to use Canadian government grants and loans

  1. Canadian government funding fuels directives which may be unable to proceed without further financial help;
  2. Government funding supports business expansion and growth; and
  3. Grants and loans from the government improve project outcomes.

Annually, businesses from every industry are awarded Canadian government funding to finish projects and improve them. Funding success stories demonstrate how other businesses may benefit from funding support from the government.

How to apply:

The Application Process for Canadian Government Funding

Accessing government grants and loans can be exciting and rewarding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to undertake if they use the right resources and strategies.

“The application process is not easy, but it can be simplified by planning ahead and linking strategic goals to the right small business grants and loans programs offered through provincial and federal governments.”—Bernadeen McLeod, President of Mentor Works


To be successful, your business must understand the Canadian government funding landscape and be proactive in establishing a strategy for strategic projects and accompanying budgets. Here are four critical stages to starting:

Step 1: Build a strategic analysis for your needs and goals

Since government grant and loan programs are project-specific, it’s important to start by implementing both critical and nice-to-have projects that will directly support your company’s growth, as well as improve your competitive advantage.

Suggestion: Brainstorm with your team what may be improved. Consider these questions to start:

Step 2: Choose grants and loans that suit your business analysis

Choosing suitable government grant and loan programs is difficult for two main reasons:

  1. There are many unique programs, all with their individual focuses, required criteria, processes for applications, and availability.
  2. For SMEs, it’s very difficult to allocate internal resources to remain ahead of program releases and updates.

However, consulting firms such as Mentor Works offer an online database to Canadian government funding programs to assist with the dissemination of the variety of funding options.

Step 3: Use experts to apply with confidence and knowledge

After outlining funding programs that match your needs, you may choose one of the following options:

Unfortunately, businesses that attempt funding applications on in-house often miss deadlines as they often underestimate the time it takes to create a compelling narrative for an application that speaks to both a program’s goals and the organizations’ vision and objectives.

Step 4: Enjoy the rewards of a successful government funding application

Aside from the excitement of achieving an application win, the application process requires being proactive and diligent. So, when a company receives between 15 to 75% of project expenses from government sources, there is more accountability for completing the project.

Frequently asked questions about Canadian government funding 

1. Does my business qualify for Canadian government grants and loans?

For most government programs, businesses should be incorporated for a minimum of three years and have at least 15 people on payroll, while keeping a positive net income. However, there are exceptions, such as COVID-19 relief and recovery funding programs, and more.

Please consult the Mentor Works Canadian Business Funding Guide for information regarding application criteria.

2. What programs are best for my business?

The first stage of Canadian government funding, as mentioned earlier, is to determine your goals. After this, external support services, like Mentor Works’s turnkey funding guidance, help this process with a customized list of programs that offer unique funding for specific projects. Browse our Government Funding Directory to find opportunities for your industry.

3. What rate of approval can I expect for government funding applications?

Approval success rates depend on each specific program and whether you’re able to fit the program design, such as eligible projects and expenses.

Even if your application covers all program criteria, there is never a guarantee that your application will be successful. However, the four aforementioned stages can help your business maximize success rates.

Access this full list of Canadian Government Funding FAQs to answer outstanding questions you may have, and always remember that there are many options for business funding support in Canada.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributing author, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

About the author

Author: Alena Barreca

As a Marketing Coordinator at Mentor Works, Alena helps Canadian business owners by creating educational content about government funding.

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