Whether you are interested in starting a small business, or already in business but looking to expand your operations, you are most likely going to need funding to achieve your goals. You are probably already aware that there are small business grants made available by the government of British Columbia, but you may not be aware of how to find and apply for the right one for you.
Government funding is a very real and viable option, available through several funding agencies that exist at the local, provincial, and federal levels. To help you out in navigating this process, here are some tips to help you find and apply for a small business grant:
1. Know What To Look For
There are actually a large number of funding programs that can help small business owners in BC. The difficulty is in finding the right one, as there is no real way to know who is eligible without having the facts about the specific program’s criteria and qualifications.
Each program is different, and the eligibility criteria varies, though there are some basic requirements that they have in common, such as being a Canadian citizen, being in a valid industry recognized by the government, seeking funding for valid funding purposes, and having a registered business or being prepared to register upon applying.
When searching for funding online, be aware that the phrase “small business grants” is not commonly found on Canadian government websites. Searching for “small business financial” will provide more results. You should also search for types of funding that don’t need to be repaid. This can include contributions, awards, subsidies, rebates, tax credits, tax rebates, shared costs, and non-repayable loans. Focusing on grants alone will not be as fruitful as searching for multiple types of funding.
2. Know What's Available
Funding is not available in every industry or for every purpose. Government grants—particularly government grants—go to business owners who demonstrate that they will be used in constructive ways, such as creating jobs, contributing to the economy, improving training, making use of eco-friendly technology, and helping to improve the environment.
Funding may be available to you for several reasons, including:
- Starting or expanding your small business
- Hiring and training employees
- Paying your employees
- Advertising and marketing
- Supplies and tools/equipment
- Improving your cash flow
3. Finding Grants and Funding Programs
It can be challenging to find small business grants and other funding. With each program being handled by a different agency, each with its own website, you may struggle if you don’t have a good idea of what you are looking for.
Some resources exist, such as the website of the BC government, but these resources aren’t always as clear and helpful as they could be. Adding to the confusion, a small business owner in British Columbia might even be eligible for funding programs outside of BC, but which provide funding to BC small businesses.
One of the more useful sites is the Innovation Canada website. Searching from their government assistance page can help you find business financing available in your province.
4. Know What You Need Funding For
This sounds obvious, but you need a business plan to know exactly how you will be using your funding, how much you need, and when you need it. With this knowledge on hand, you will be able to pinpoint your needs and save time in your search.
Look for programs that match your need, rather than trying to compare your needs to the funding that is available. Only seek out the financing you need, rather than what you simply want and be aware that many small business grants are specific to their industry. This can help with narrowing your search.
5. Understand How Your Business is Prioritized and Classified
As mentioned above, funding is simply not available for every business and every industry. Certain industries, because they align with government objectives, are chosen for greater funding. Other industries that are not in alignment with those objectives fare less well. One prime example is the limited availability of funding for small retail businesses.
If you are unclear on how your business is classified by the government, there is a guide available on the Government of Canada website. Knowing how your business is classified can help you search within that industry by searching the industry name and “grants Canada.”
6. Make Your Business More Attractive for Funding
Given that the government tends to fund businesses that align with their objectives, there are certain grants that you can and should apply for if you are engaged in the related activity. For example, hiring students provides your small business with several benefits. Aside from being anxious to work and prove themselves, student employees can provide you with new ideas and perspectives. Many will also be willing to work short-term during periods when you need the extra manpower.
While it can be challenging to find the right funding for your small business in British Columbia, GrantFinders is here to assist you. For more information about the options available to you and how we can help, contact us today.