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  • Writer's pictureGuy Nelson

BC Entrepreneurs Guide to Small Business Grants in Canada

This article is solely for the benefit of BC small business entrepreneurs needing grant or loan funding. Here I focus on Small Business Grants in Canada that are appropriate for British Columbia small business owners.

I also have two other articles to help BC small business owners find and apply for government grants and small business loans from the BC provincial government. They discuss How to Source Government Grants For Small Business In BC and How to Get Your BC Small And Medium Business Recovery Grant.

There is an overwhelming number of small business grants in Canada for business owners across all the provinces and territories. Nationally, BC companies are arguably in competition with ten times more applicants than in BC. So, it’s important to reduce the time spent evaluating federal grants and loans, then navigate the application for each of them.

You probably realize it doesn’t matter what stage your BC business is in, startup or growth stage, there will likely be a federal funding program that fits your company’s circumstances.

How to Apply For Federal Government Small Business Grants in Canada

Get Your Business Plan Together

If you haven’t written a business plan yet, do it now. It will help orient your business direction, elevate your business perspective, and add value to your grant or loan application. There are options for getting your business plan in order, from working with a professional business planner, to simply using an online template. If you choose to write the business plan yourself, be prepared for the extra work hours it will take.

Determine Your Business Sector

Tailor your search to the nature of your business, your industry/market, your customer needs and your region (i.e. the province of British Columbia). There will be grants broad-based funding programs like technology for the Canadian environment, Canadian biotech, Canadian agriculture, and even Canadian arts. Eligibility for Government of Canada small business grants can be challenging for some sectors like retail-based businesses or franchises, which often don’t qualify.

The current economic climate is also an influencing factor, as are the changes in customer or market needs and government political strategies. It pays to be aware of these and other variables when you are preparing to apply for funding.

Limit Research To Your Own Business Classification

To avoid wasting time, limit your research to programs designed for your own business sector. See which government of Canada small business loans and grantsare specifically designed to support a business like yours.

Develop a Quality Grant Application

A grant application for a Canadian small business financing program is never as simple as completing an online form in under an hour. Be prepared to spend plenty of hours writing grant proposals for your applications. Begin well in advance, literally weeks or even months ahead of the listed deadline.

Here you will be able to use your business plan to a great extent...a grant proposal is very much like a business plan or at least uses many elements from your business plan.

When possible, get copies of prior successful and unsuccessful grant applications. Learn from the past experience of other applicants. To add another layer of perfection, get someone else to review and suggest edits to your proposal and application.

The Canadian Government’s Benefits Finder Tool

The Canadian Government provides their Benefits Finder tool to assist business owners like you to easily discover business Benefits and Services you may qualify for.

It’s incredibly simple to use. You are presented with several appropriate questions and your answers are used as a customized search filter. The greater number of questions you answer will ensure more tailored and suitable results.

Simply visit the Benefits Finder page on the Government of Canada website and follow the easy to follow instructions:

A. Type of Support

This is the initial page you’ll be presented with. Give thought to what your broad needs for financial help are…

What type of Canadian grant support do you need?

B. Choose a Support Category

You have 3 options…

  1. Support due to Covid 19

  2. Other Government Support

  3. All government support

What sort of Canadian government grant support for busiiness do you need?

C. Support for Covid-19

There are 9 categories of support specifically for Covid-19 to select from. Choose as many as you want…

  1. Emergency loans

  2. Grants

  3. To keep employees paid

  4. Help for the self-employed

  5. To defer/waive my taxes/payments

  6. Help for landlords/tenants

  7. Advice to help me through the crisis

  8. To sell/manufacture supplies to fight Covid-19

  9. Help for my innovative project to combat Covid-19

Choose from 9 categories of Covid-19 Canadian federal government grant support for your business.

D. All Other Support

If your funding needs are not clearly associated with Covid-19 financial issues choose this section of 7 categories instead. Choose as many as you want…

  1. Funding

  2. Loans and capital investments

  3. Tax credits

  4. Wage subsidies and interns

  5. Expert advice

  6. Partnering and collaboration

  7. All support

There are many grants beyond Covid-19 support that you can apply for.

E. Your Main Goals

What is it you want to achieve with your federal funding request? You have 12 choices here Choose as many as you want…

  1. Conduct R&D, innovate, develop a product or service

  2. Start or buy a business

  3. Buy or lease equipment or property

  4. Grow and expand my business

  5. Sell internationally

  6. Hire or train employees

  7. Increase working capital

  8. Increase productivity, quality, safety or efficiency

  9. Reduce pollution or improve energy efficiency

  10. Develop the local economy or infrastructure

  11. Sell or close a business

  12. All goals

What is the main purpose of your business that you need a Canadian federal grant for?

Province or Territory

Identify which part of the country your business operates in...

Which province or territory are you doing business in? Choose British Columbia!

Business Type

There are 18 business categories to choose from.

Choose one only…

  1. Agriculture and food

  2. Forestry, fishing and hunting

  3. Mining, oil and gas, utilities

  4. Manufacturing

  5. Education, healthcare and social assistance

  6. Finance, insurance and company management

  7. Business support, administration and waste management

  8. Arts, athletics, entertainment and recreation

  9. Broadcasting and telecommunications

  10. Information technology (IT)

  11. Real estate, rentals and leasing

  12. Professional services

  13. Scientific research and environmental services

  14. Tourism, accommodation and food services

  15. Other services including repair and personal

  16. Retail and wholesale

  17. Transportation and warehousing

  18. Construction

  19. Not sure

What is the nature of your business...which market or industry?


British Columbia small business owners looking for federal funding can benefit greatly by searching the Canadian Government’s Benefits Finder tool. It also remembers your search profile for future use of the tool. Even more impressive, it will email you whenever a new grant becomes available that pertains to your grant application profile.

Good luck with your efforts to prepare your business plan. Write a grant proposal and use the Canadian Government’s Benefits Finder tool for Canadian federal grant programs available to British Columbia small businesses!


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