It is not a secret that many small businesses in Canada (SME’s) rely heavily on government support to make it through their first couple of years. The Canadian SME’s – both from high tech and other sectors – are the driving force of the Canadian economy making more than half of the contribution to the Canadian GDP. The government recognizes the hurdles faced by the companies, particularly by those in high tech area. With the global trend investing in technology and innovation, Canada follows the suite and invests in high tech sector through various government grants and programs for small businesses.

The question is: can your company access these so-called “free money”?

The best way to answer this question is to look on the all the grants available, carefully review the eligibility criteria, evaluate the company chances of success and then make the decision whether to spend time or not on the application process. At the end of the day, the time spent on the process has a direct cost to your company. The average application – and I am not talking about multimillion ones – can take anywhere between 2 and 4 weeks.

Many companies struggle with making that decision. Even if they are 90% sure that the government grant application will be successful, they simply cannot afford spending their time only to learn that they fall in the 10% of unsuccessful applications. The time, effort and frustration of not being approved is draining and can seriously affect the company productivity for the next while during post-application time.

So at one end, small business are offered these amazing sources of free money. And at the other end – the stake of wining is too high.

Now imagine, it is time for your car to have an oil change. You have two options: to go to your car dealership (or to any other service shop) or do it yourselves. Which one you decide to choose entirely depends on your available time and cash to pay for the service. If you decide to do it yourselves, you need to think about a couple of things such as where to dispose the old oil. If you decide to go to the service provider, then all you need to do is allocate some time to actually go there and allocate some cash to pay for the service. Which option is the best? The best is the one that works best for your needs!

I used this example above to give some illustration to the grant application process. Similar to the oil change, companies can subcontract this service and hire a grant writer. Typically any grant writing project would be charged either by hourly or by flat project fee. Which option is the best I cannot really say. My company ConnexFund offers both these options and let the client decide which one to choose.

The point here is that if you are not sure whether or not you would qualify for the grant, find someone who can help you with this process and take you all the way through from the grant application to the funding money awarded.


ConnexFund is a Canadian management consulting firm in business financing specializing in government grants with focus on organizations in technology and innovation. Feel free to check our FAQs or contact us with any question you may have about our business model, available for you grants or anything else around finding money for your small business to grow!

This post was first published on Pulse, LinkedIn on May 21, 2015 and today I am publishing it here with some slight modifications.