Grants in Canada: How to get funding for startup?

Need to startup fundraising in Canada? If you’re looking for startup funding in Canada, a government grant may be the solution. Join us as we look at the benefits of business startup grants in Canada and where to find grants for startups in Canada, wherever your business is based. 

What do Herschel Supply Co, Lululemon, and MAC Cosmetics have in common? They’re all Canadian businesses with an international presence!

If you’re looking to find startup funds for your Canadian startup, you typically have three options. You can bootstrap the business yourself, find an investor, or apply for a grant – either from the Canadian government, a charity, or another organization.

So, what options are available to you if you’re looking for government funding for your business startup in Canada? We’re going to take a look at this article. Join us as we review some of the startup business grants on offer, and how to maximize your chances of success.

If you dream of being the next big thing to come out of Canada, this is a must-read!

Want to know which country is the best one to register your startup in? Check out this article for our thoughts!

Why apply for a small business startup grant in Canada?

Why apply for a small business startup grant in Canada?

As we mentioned at the start of this article, you have three options when it comes to financing your business. The first is bootstrapping your business through your own savings, as well as through loans. The problem with this is that if you go down the loan route, you will need to pay the money back at some point in time.

The second is through investment, either through an angel investor or venture capital company. While you don’t have to pay the money back, you will need to give away a share of equity in your startup, meaning you lose some control. Plus, if you and your investor have differing opinions on how your startup should be run, it could be a recipe for disaster. Check the list of Venture Capital companies here.

Successfully applying for a small business startup grant gives you the best of both worlds. You get to keep the money, and you don’t need to surrender control of your business. Some grant programs will also give you additional support, like free training and access to networking events. This help can be invaluable, especially if you’re just starting out on your business journey.

Canada is keen to develop successful businesses that perform well internationally and compete on a global scale. This is why there is so much government funding available for startups. 

No matter the size of your business and the industry you’re in, there is lots of money up for grabs. The main thing is knowing where to look.

Small business grants in Canada: what do you need to provide?

Small business grants in Canada: what do you need to provide?

When you pitch to investors, they want to know that you’re going to be successful. This means providing them with lots of information to show your startup is a viable one, from proof of product-market fit to your financial forecasts and a potential valuation.

The same logic applies to government startup business grants in Canada. The government wants to know you’re not going to waste the money they give you, especially in the current economic climate. This means you may need to provide a lot of information when you apply.

What information is needed?

What information will you need to send in with your grant application? It depends. Different grants have different criteria. It’s essential to see what you need to submit before you get started with your application. Otherwise, you might waste your time applying for a startup grant that’s not right for your business.

Most organizations will want to see a business plan. This is so they can find out more about your business, including your objectives, how you’re marketing your startup, and how many opportunities the market has. Check out our blog for more information about what to include in your business plan!

Some small business grants may ask to see proof of a particular certification, license, or membership of an organization. If you don’t already have these, you will need to factor time in to get them. Some grants are only open for a short amount of time, so you may need to move quickly!

Financial information is important too, especially if you are applying for ‘matched’ funding. This is when the grant provider offers a proportion of the money, and you put up the remainder. This type of funding shows that the recipient of the startup fundraising grant is serious about the investment. You may need to show that you have the money in place before the grant provider commits.

In most cases, the hard work doesn’t stop when the grant money is awarded. For example, some organizations might ask you to report back regularly, so they can see what you’ve done with the funding. Other organizations may ask you to submit receipts, that they will reimburse you for.

Number 1 rule

The number one rule when it comes to applying for a small business grant in Canada, or anywhere else in the world? Read the terms and conditions carefully before you start!

Now that you know more about the benefits of small business funding, what small business startup grants are available in Canada? Let’s take a look.

Important note: All monetary values mentioned below are in Canadian dollars, not US dollars!

Charity-based startup grants in Canada

1. Charity-based grants in Canada

While the majority of grants in Canada are provided by the federal and regional government, some charitable organizations offer grant funding too.

Clarence Campeau Development Fund

This organization provides grants and interest-free loans to help Métis people start their own businesses. There are a number of programs available, with a specific focus on women and young people under the age of 39.

Small business grants in Canada

2. Small business grants in Canada

It’s estimated that small businesses make up 98% of all companies in Canada. This means there is lots of support available for entrepreneurs looking to develop and grow a business.

An excellent place to start if you’re looking for government funding for your startup is the national government website. Just access the business benefits finder, answer a few simple questions about your business, and you’ll get a customized list of everything currently available.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada

This grant is aimed at startups that are looking to improve sustainability worldwide. There are different levels of funding available depending on whether you’re starting out or looking to scale up.

Soft Landing: Scale from Home

This program helps tech companies boost their sales and digital marketing by offering $4,000 in reimbursable expenses.


If your startup operates in the technology or innovation sector, you may be eligible for federal government grant funding to help you develop and grow.

Community-based startup grants in Canada

3. Community-based grants in Canada

Canada is made up of several provinces, with each offering its own government funding programs for small businesses. Here are some of them.

Small Business Investment Grant (Prince Edward Island)

This micro-grant offers small businesses on Prince Edward Island up to $3,750 towards capital asset costs like technology upgrades and building construction.

Fonds Jeunes Entreprises

Aimed at businesses in Montreal, this grant program supports fledgling businesses with a grant of up to $15,000.

First Peoples Economic Growth Fund

This business contribution fund offers grants to First Nation businesses in Manitoba.

Micro Business and Entrepreneur Support (Northwest Territories)

These two programs provide financial support to both micro businesses and entrepreneurs in the North West territories of Canada.

Strategic Investments Programme (Nunavut)

This program offers a grant to help entrepreneurs in Nunavut start their businesses or look to expand.

R.A.I.S.E/Grow Your Business Online

This grant program offers coaching and grant funding to minority businesses in the Ontario area. While the program is temporarily closed, it hopes to reopen soon.

Digital Main Street, the organization behind R.A.I.S.E, also provides other grant funding opportunities and support on its website, including the Grow Your Business Online program. This program offers grants of up to $2,400 to help startups adopt digital technologies.

Education-based grants in Canada

4. Education-based grants in Canada

There are some special education-based grants that may be available to you.

Career Ready Program/Building Tomorrow’s Workforce

The Career Ready Program offers grants to subsidize the wages of taking on post-secondary students, with extra money available for hiring minority or first-year students.

The Building Tomorrow’s Workforce also offers grants to take on unemployed post-secondary graduates.

Other startup grants in Canada

5. Other startup grants in Canada

And finally, here are some additional grants that you might want to apply for!

Commemorate Canada

If you have a startup or business that celebrates the history of Canada, this government funding program is for you! It’s ongoing, meaning there isn’t a deadline for applying, but it’s recommended that you apply at least six months before you need the grant.

Innovative Solutions Canada

Like Innovate in the UK and in the US, these government grants are awarded to businesses that help solve challenges. Apply for a challenge, and if you’re successful, you’ll get the funding to develop your idea.

Young Millionaires Program

Got a little one who dreams of being the next Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey? This program is aimed at 9 to 16-year-olds who want to start their own businesses. If accepted into the scheme, they get help and support and a grant of up to $200 to get them started!

Don't discount grants when it comes to startup fundraising

In summary: don’t discount grants when it comes to startup fundraising

We hope this article has given you lots of insight when it comes to small business startup grants in Canada. If you know where to look and you match the criteria, it’s a fantastic way to give your business a head start.

This article just scratches the surface regarding startup grants in Canada. There are plenty more available. So keep regularly checking to see when new grant opportunities are available and connect with as many relevant people as possible. They’ll be able to give you a heads-up when grant opportunities open up.

Not in Canada? That’s okay; there are plenty of startup grants on offer in other parts of the world too! Check out our articles about grants available in the UK and grants available in the USA. We’ll also be looking at grants available in Europe soon. 

Follow us on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn, and we’ll let you know when this article is ready to read. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why should I consider applying for a startup grant in Canada?

Applying for a startup grant in Canada can be a beneficial option because it allows you to secure funding without giving away equity in your business. Grants can also provide additional support such as training and networking opportunities, which can be invaluable for startups.

What are the three primary options for financing a Canadian startup?

The three primary options for financing a Canadian startup are bootstrapping (using your own savings or loans), seeking investment from angel investors or venture capital firms, and applying for grants from government agencies, charities, or other organizations.

How do government startup grants benefit Canadian businesses?

Government startup grants in Canada offer a unique advantage by providing financial support without the need to surrender control of your business. Additionally, some grant programs offer additional resources like training and networking events, which can aid startups in their early stages.

Why is there so much government funding available for startups in Canada?

Canada aims to foster successful businesses with international reach and global competitiveness. Therefore, the government offers substantial funding to support startups of all sizes and industries.

What information do I need to provide when applying for a small business startup grant in Canada?

The information required may vary depending on the grant program, but typically, you’ll need to provide a business plan, proof of product-market fit, financial forecasts, and, in some cases, certifications or licenses. It’s crucial to review the specific requirements of each grant opportunity before applying.

Are there different types of startup grants in Canada?

Yes, there are various types of startup grants in Canada. These include charity-based grants, small business grants, community-based grants, education-based grants, and other specialized grants, each with its own eligibility criteria and objectives.

Can you provide examples of specific startup grants in Canada?

Some examples of startup grants in Canada include the Clarence Campeau Development Fund for Métis entrepreneurs, Sustainable Development Technology Canada for sustainability-focused startups, and the Small Business Investment Grant in Prince Edward Island. There are many more grants available, each tailored to different needs and regions.

How can I stay updated on new grant opportunities in Canada?

To stay informed about new grant opportunities, regularly check government websites, connect with relevant individuals or organizations, and follow updates on social media platforms. Networking can be a valuable source of information for upcoming grant programs.

Are startup grants available only in Canada, or can I find similar opportunities in other countries?

Grants and funding opportunities for startups are not limited to Canada. Many other countries offer similar programs. If you’re interested in opportunities outside Canada, you can explore articles and resources about startup grants available in other parts of the world, such as the UK and the USA.

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Important note: The information in this article is accurate as of November 2022. Grants and the criteria required to attain them change on a regular basis, so please be sure to do your research before applying! Some grant programs may have closed entries for 2022 but will reopen to businesses in 2023.

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