5 Key Steps That Can Make Canadian SMEs More Competitive And Successful With Assistance From Grants

Small Business Canada

If you are growing your business operations, grants can help leverage your cash flow, reduce risk and get things done sooner. Developing and improving products; hiring and maintaining staff and going global is challenging, expensive and risky. The following 5 steps outline what type of activities will keep you competitive by way of leveraging government grants.

Canada Small Business

Talent funding

Talent acquisition is an integral part of the success of a business.  For Canadian companies, there is a host of hiring grants and wage subsidies that can assist in hiring new talent.  These grants can assist in intern programs and fellowships for Master or Ph.D. level grads, and even assist in full time hires.  Funding can range anywhere from $7,500 upwards to $50,000.

Skill Development

Many businesses partake in skill development, but often overlook this grant program that can assist in defraying the cost.  For SME’s with less than 100 staff, the Canada-Ontario Job Grant will fund 5/6 the cost of any 3rd party training.  This training includes areas like sales, administration, leadership and technical.

International Expansion

If your business is looking to increase revenue by way of expanding into new foreign markets, CanExport may be able to assist.   CanExport is a federal program that can assist in a wide range of costs associated with an international expansion where you are breaking into a new foreign country market. The funding covers 50% of marketing costs up to $50,000. Costs include travel, patent application costs, social media, and tradeshows. Depending on where your company operates in Canada, there may be other provincial programs that can assist.


The largest area to remain competitive is Innovation.  IRAP (industrial research assistance program) is focused on funding R&D projects that relate to improving product, process or service and can cover 50% of a project cost all the way up to 10M in funding.  

Canada Small Business

In addition to IRAP there is also the well know SR&ED tax credit program; superclusters and numerous provincial funds such as OCE and Alberta Innovates.  

Understand the roadmap, and be strategic

As a first step knowing what government funding programs align with your past or future business plans can help you assess how grants can improve your competitiveness.  Capitalizing on this will help leverage working capital, bank financing or private funding with less risk.

Hunter Cookson, R&D Tax Credit and Grant Specialist, has specialized in assisting companies fund innovation including government grants, R&D and innovation tax credits in Canada, UK, Europe and the USA.
As R&D Tax Credit and Grant Specialist of RDP Associates, Hunter has worked with small to large companies, in all types of industries. He has lectured extensively on R&D tax credits, government grants and innovation management and participates in government/practitioner meetings.
Hunter has had a hand in working with R&D Tax Credits and government grants since 2009. In 1987, RDP Associates was established in Canada and has since grown internationally.
RDP Associates Ltd. (“RDP”) main goal is to connect innovation to the bottom line. This includes all types of innovation to grow a company’s business through hiring, training, R&D/product development and accessing foreign markets.
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