As a small business in Ontario, you may have considered obtaining a government grant to help you with your small business start-up or expansion.
Government grants are available and are offered by the Ontario provincial government, as well as the federal government. These government grant programs are there to help small business owners succeed while creating and boosting the economy.
While every single government grant program offered is unique in its own way, some of the requirements including these top 5 usually remain the same across the board.
Knowing these 5 requirements to apply for government funding will ensure your chances of success of obtaining a government grant are much higher.
The top 5 government grant requirements include:
- The location you and your business are in
- The type of industry that your businesses in
- You’re funding requirements, or the specific needs that you have
- Your business plan
- The time of the year that you apply
Well, not all 5 requirements are required, the more of the requirements that you are able to meet, the greater your chances of success out of painting that grant will be.
One of the major funding requirements revolves around the location of your business.
This helps determine which funding agency you will be applying to. As government grants and funding can come from the local government, The Ontario provincial government, or the federal government of Canada, your location helps determine that.
Being specific in regards to your location when applying for government funding in grants will help determine and maximize your potential.
As a small business, you may be eligible for programs including those of the local provincial and federal government.
If you are unsure which programs you can apply for, including government grants, It’s a good idea to speak to an Ontario Startups expert.
Currently, the Ontario Startups funding database has over 1000 different government funding programs including government grants, government loans, tax breaks, and more. The experts also help you better understand the government grant funding requirements and how to apply.
Just like your location, the industry that your business is in matters quite a lot.
Certain government programs will only fund specific industries. Being open or having an understanding of what industry you are in, your chances of success, and finding the relevant government grant will grow.
Some government agencies have a specific focus in mind. This focus may be on a specific industry. For example, many of the Alberta government grants will help within the agriculture or farming industry as this is more relevant to the community that they are in.
While there are different programs for different industries, some of these programs find multiple industries. There is a chance that your business will fit under multiple industries as well.
Your funding needs
One of the key factors that help determine your eligibility for a government grant, Is your need for funding.
- How much do you need?
- What do you needed for?
- When do you need to by?
All of these are considered when factoring in which government grants you might be eligible for.
As mentioned each government agency has a different purpose. These purposes are how they focus on how they will dispuirse the available funds.
When applying for funding no matter what agency you are applying to, it is always a good idea to break down your funding needs.
Doing so will ensure that you can apply to multiple programs.
As an example, if your small business requires $200,000 start up funding, it is a lot easier to obtain that funding amount from various programs than from a single source.
To do so you have to break down your funding needs.
Instead of asking for $200,000 in a lump sum, you should break down the amount that you need into the specifics. How much do you need for your marketing costs, how much do you need for your equipment, how much do you need to cover your wages and so on and so on.
Remember when asking for funding it’s always a good idea to only ask for exactly what you need. Over asking may result in application denial. At the same time, asking for less than you need could result in your business not having enough capital to succeed.
If you need help determining how much funding to ask for, the Ontario Startups experts are there to help.
Your business plan
We talk about business plans a lot.
A business plan should be done. While it is optional, It really isn’t.
The majority of government funding agencies including those of government grants make it and make it a requirement that you apply with the business plan.
In most cases, nobody will give you funding for your business without having an understanding of your business plan or business model.
Need funding for your small business?
A business plan is created for multiple reasons. In this case, your business plan will be used as a document by the agencies to better understand your business model, your financials as well as to show your funding requirements.
While you can spend a few $1,000 paying for a professional business plan write-up, it’s often not necessary. As long as you know how to put down your idea and briefly explain your requirements of a business plan, it will be good to go.
Using the Ontario Startups business plan builder tool will also help you develop your plan step-by-step and make it as per the expectation of government agencies.
Keep in mind that the Ontario Startups experts are also there to help you step-by-step through the process of building the perfect business plan that will help you with your government grant applications.
The time of the year
Deadlines that the various government agencies have can determine your likeliness of obtaining funding.
Are you applying too early, or are you applying too late; is a small factor, however one that determines the yes or no.
The majority of the government grant agencies have a deadline. These deadlines are set in place as a way for the government agency to properly budget.
Once the funds that are allocated are handed out to various business owners the government agency will close.
The closure might last a few weeks or a few months or the agency program may close for good. This all depends on the focus that the government agency has on that specific program.
When applying it’s always a good idea to check the program deadlines.
There are different ways government agencies check applications. Some, as soon as they get them so deadlines don’t really matter too much, but some do so at the end of the deadline, where the deadline is crucial.
The best way to ensure your success is to apply on time.
If you have a few days before the deadline is up, while you can risk it’s usually not worth the time.
The above are the top 5 government grant application factors that you have to consider. Keep in mind that each government grant agency has additional factors and requirements that you as a small business owner must meet. If you don’t meet the above requirements or don’t consider the above factors, your small business funding application may be denied
If you need guidance or need to have a better understanding and how government grants work, which grants you may be eligible for, or how to apply, the Ontario Startups experts are there to help.