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Government First Time Small Business Loans

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Tips For Finding Small Business Grants In Canada

Friday marked first day to apply for $350B in federal small business loans

Finding a small business grant in Canada can be difficult. While there are some grants available, most of them are for particular groups of people doing particular things in particular places. For instance, all potential entrepreneurs in the Northwest Territories are eligible for a grant of up to $15,000 a year. Government grants also tend to be clustered in particular fieldsagribusiness, environmental technology, and biotechnology are industries the government supports with grants retail is not.

There are very few pure, no-strings-attached small business grants available in the first place many Canadian grant programs involve matching contributions or subsidies, meaning that you have to put out money to get money. But contributions and subsidies are valuable sources of small business funding, too, and youll never know if your business would qualify for one of the available business grants available unless you look.

Unfortunately, theres no master list to consult, so youre going to have to do some searching. Below are five tips that can make your search for small business grants in Canada more successful. You’ll find the small business financing youre looking for in no time.

How To Get Small Business Grants In Canada

Many funding programs have firm policies about which companies may receive funds and even how recipients can use your grant money. If your organization, business objectives, demographic targets, or size donât fit with the goals of the grant, you wonât likely receive it. Thatâs why youâll need a detailed business plan as part of your application.

To help you access all your options, weâll review four types of small business grants along with 25 different grants opportunities available to Canadian SMEs:

  • Federal government grants
  • Provincial and local government grants
  • Government grants for women small business owners
  • Corporate or private grants for small businesses
  • NGO grants for minority small business owners

How Long Youve Been In The Business

While new startups can absolutely apply for a first time business loan, in general itâs easier for companies with a little history under their belt. As a result, the minimum time in business is often two years, with companies with a longer business time more likely to be approved than younger companies.

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Dont Stress About Finances

To make it through the first year and build a profit, you want to focus on , so you dont need to stress about finances, Signorelli said. Manifesting and building a business requires you, the owner, to believe in yourself and your new small business.

With the right budget, you will get the right amount of money from the right investor, giving you the freedom and confidence to focus on your dream and make it happen, Signorelli said.

Before You Apply For Grants To Start A Business

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Once you find a startup business grant that meets your business needs, make sure to read through the fine print in the application guidelines.

An excellent first step in applying for funding is to contact the local government representative specified in the grant documents. They can verify whether your company meets the requirements for candidacy and provide up-to-date information about the funding opportunity.

You may need to submit a statement of intent to the funding body. Itâs a short document that outlines what your company does and why you think you should receive funding. Your statement helps the funding body confirm whether you should apply for the grant.

The funding body may let you know youâre not the best candidate based on your statement, which can save you time so you can apply for something else.

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Alberta Export Expansion Program

The Alberta Export Expansion Program provides funding support to Alberta small and medium-sized enterprises , municipalities, industry associations, Indigenous communities and economic development organizations promoting Alberta exports through outbound international business travel or bringing international buyers to Alberta.

The Dos And Donts Of Your First Small Business Loan

From creating a budget to managing costs, there are several steps you can take to make the most out of obtaining and managing small business loans. Holly Nicholas Signorelli, a certified financial planner and CPA, advises aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners to maintain realistic expectations. Based on more than 20 years experience, Signorelli shared the following dos and donts of first-time small business loans.

Editors note: Looking for the right small business loan for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

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Conseil De Dveloppement Conomique De L’alberta

Conseil de développement économique de l’Alberta offers support to Francophone entrepreneurs throughout the business life cycle, from start-up to succession. It provides help in establishing a business in Alberta, business model development, marketing and sales techniques, financial planning, training, networking activities and more.

Grants Loans And Programs To Benefit Your Small Business

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When you know where to look, help for your small business is there for the taking.

There are many grant programs available to small businesses, depending on a variety of qualifying factors.

Times are tough for small business, but help is available, from both the governmentfederal, state or localand the private sector. It may be in the form of a grant, a loan or a leg up competing in a difficult business environment. Heres a breakdown to help you sort through whats available.

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How Does A First Time Small Business Loan Work

Fast & Easy Application Process

No-cost, no-obligation application with funding in as few as 24 hours1

Helpful Loan Guidance

A Funding Specialist will contact you to help you choose the right business financing option.

Quick Decision, Fast Funding

You could be approved, and funds deposited into your account, in as little as 24 hours.1

Dos And Donts Of Winning Business Grants

Lets start with some basic dos and donts of trying to win grants.

  • Make a schedule Many grants are only open to applications once a year. Schedule time to put together an application ahead of time.
  • Write a business plan first Most grants ask for a business plan. More importantly, you should know how exactly the grant money will help your business. Heres our guide to writing a simple business plan.
  • See what companies have been funded in the past This can help you determine which grants you have a good chance of winning. If they funded similar types of businesses, thats a good sign.
  • Get help from local business organizations I went through many types of local business organizations that provide assistance to small business owners. This includes helping you find grant opportunities and presenting your business in the best light.
  • Consider professional help If you come across a grant that requires a well-written cover letter or essay, consider hiring a professional freelance grant writer if you can afford it.


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Who Can Get A Grant

The federal government awards grants to organizations including:

  • State and local governments

  • Non-profit organizations

  • Businesses

The intent of most grants is to fund projects that will benefit specific parts of the population or the community as a whole. What you might see about grants online or in the media may not be true. The federal government does not offer grants or free money to individuals to start a business or cover personal expenses. For personal financial assistance, the government offers federal benefit programs. These programs help individuals and families become financially self-sufficient or lower their expenses.

United States Department Of Agriculture


USDAs business programs provide financial backing and technical assistance to stimulate rural business creation and growth. Loans, loan guarantees and grants are available to individuals, businesses, cooperatives, farmers and ranchers, public bodies, non-profit corporations, Native American Tribes and private companies in rural communities. For more information, please visit the USDA website.

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Should Startups Apply For First Time Business Loans

Unfortunately, first time business loans can be difficult for startups to procure. Thatâs because while some funding sources in the startup ecosystem â like VCs and angel investors â are looking to take big risks, traditional financial institutions like banks generally arenât. Youâre going to need to show that you have perfect personal credit and they might even require that youâre profitable or on track to become profitable. Generally, banks prefer businesses that have a proven track record when theyâre handing out loans.

But, that doesnât mean first time business loans are impossible for startup founders! Itâs just something to keep in mind when youâre considering a bank loan as a funding source.

What Are The Startup Business Loan Eligibility Requirements

Like any other type of loan, a startup business loan has certain requirements that youll need to meet in order to qualify. That said, the requirements may vary depending on your credit health and the lender:

  • Good credit score. Conventional lenders like to see borrowers with a credit score of at least 650 before considering granting a loan. Some lender may even check your business credit score.
  • A sound business plan. Your lender will want to see that youve put in some effort to come up with an in-depth business plan that outlines what your experience is in the industry, where you plan to take your business once you start it, and how much money you need to cover all relevant expenses.
  • No delinquencies or bankruptcies in the recent past. Your credit report will be pulled when you apply for a startup business loan. And in addition to your credit score, your lender will be able to see if youve had any recent delinquencies or bankruptcies. If so, this could hamper your ability to secure a loan.

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Funding Your Small Business Growth

The corporate and government business grants highlighted above are an introduction to the types of small business funding available in Canada. There are likely more that are relevant to your specific industry or business objectives. If you can locate a grant that fits your business, it can be a great alternative to raising capital through investors, personal debt, a business loan, or business credit.

If your business includes job creation, social enterprise, or technology innovation element, Canadian grant funds are looking to support you. Your formal application should, therefore, provide detailed information about your business model, current financial status, and business history.

For more grant options, search the Government of Canada website that are currently available. You can also search by category to find government funding options that are right for your business. Are you starting a new small business?

Our article for guides you through the 15 steps to start a business, along with a you can fill out to go from idea to launch to success.

Factors To Consider When Applying For A Startup Business Loan

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When you take out a startup business loan, youll be committed for a certain amount of time. And during that time, youll be required to make regular timely payments.

As such, youll want to make sure you take out the right loan. To do that, you may want to look at specific factors of business loans, including the following:

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Business Grants For Minorities

There are many loans available for minorities, but few grants, just like veterans.

Minority Business Development Agency : The MBDA offers very restricted grants to all types of American minorities. The grants are only given to those interested in running one of MBDAs Minority Business Centers, and only in specific locations that they want to expand to. Youll need to offer consulting services, and help them secure financing and investments. Youll need to show that you have experience doing this, so very few people are eligible.

In addition to those grants, MBDA also occasionally runs other grant competitions. Youll have to monitor their news to find these opportunities in the future, but there are no set schedules or eligibility guidelines for them.

First Nations Development Institute Grants: Monitor this page to find grant opportunities for small businesses owned by Native Americans. This organization has given over 1,400 grants for a total of almost $30 million dollars from 1993 to 2017. There are no restrictions on the types of businesses eligible for the grants, as long as the owner is Native American. You can subscribe to their email list to be alerted to any new opportunities.

Seasonal Line Of Credit

The Seasonal Line of Credit program is used to finance working capital needs arising from the seasonal upswing of a business.

Typical uses are to build up inventory and to pay for increased labor costs. Loans are repaid from the cash flow of the business. This program may have a limited revolving feature and is only available under the bank guarantee program.

To be eligible, a small business must have been in operation for the previous 12 months and have a definite pattern of seasonal activity. Only one seasonal line of credit may be outstanding at one time and followed by an “out of debt to the SBA” period of at least 30 days.

The applicant must be current on payroll taxes and have in operation a depository plan for payroll taxes. A cash flow projection showing the business’ ability to provide for its needs is required. Maturity may not exceed 12 months.

As a minimum, collateral will consist of inventory and accounts receivable. The guaranty fee is one quarter of one percent. These loans may not be sold on the secondary market.

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How Do You Qualify For A Small Business Grant

When you read about qualifying for a small business grant, most people are talking about eligibility.

Each individual grant specifies which businesses are eligible to win it. Anyone can apply for a grant, but if you dont meet the eligibility criteria, you have zero chance to get it.

Of the grants listed on this page, almost every small business can apply for the grants in the government and corporate grant sections.

If youre a woman, you have several grant opportunities on top of that.

The majority of the rest of the grants I included here are for a specific type of business, so youll need to look at them individually and see if your small business is eligible.

Do Decide How Much Funding You Need

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Its important to know how much funding you need so you dont get charged prepayment fees when you repay your loans. Some lenders charge prepayment fees if you pay part or all of your loan before your loan term ends. For example, if you take out a $20,000 loan when you only need $5,000 and then attempt to pay back the extra $15,000 after realizing you only needed $5,000, youll be charged fees you could have easily avoided.

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Us Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration provides counseling, capital and contracting expertise. It offers loans and training to help small businesses to grow and optimize opportunity. It also provides disaster loans during times of crisis. The SBA has six offices in Texas. For more information, please visit the below links to each district office:

Free Grants And Grant Scams

If you receive information stating you qualify for a “free grant,” it’s probably a scam. Get information from the Federal Trade Commission so you can better recognize and avoid grant scams. If you have been a victim of a grant scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC.

Contact your state consumer protection office if you have purchased a book or paid a fee to get grant information and are not satisfied.

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Product Development And Small Business Incubator Fund

The Product Development and Small Business Incubator Fund is a program offering long-term, asset-backed loans to product development companies, specifically in manufacturing. The primary objective of the program is to aid in the development, production and commercialization of new or improved products in the state.

Export Working Capital Program

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Under this program, the SBA guarantees short-term working capital loans made by participating lenders to exporters.

Proceeds of loans guaranteed under this program may not be used to purchase fixed assets, but can be used to finance the acquisition and production of goods and services being exported, or the accounts receivable of export sales.

Proceeds guaranteed under this program can be used for single or multiple export sales, and the underlying loan can be a revolving one. The maximum maturity is one year.

Eligibility requirements with respect to the size of the borrower, the amount of the guarantee and the loan are the same as for the SBA’s regular guaranty program. The borrower must have been in business for at least 12 continuous months before filing an application.

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Why Does Hascap Exist

We know that businesses in tourism, hospitality, travel, arts and culture have been particularly hard-hit, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said in her speech to the House of Commons when the program was first announced in the Fall economic Statement.

The highlight of the new support for hard-hit industries is the creation of the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program, or HASCAP, which is aimed at sectors such as tourism and hospitality, hotels, arts and entertainmentThe government says it will work with financial institutions to offer 100 percent government-guaranteed financing for heavily impacted businesses, and provide low-interest loans of up to $1 million over extended terms, up to ten years.


It is important to clarify that this website is not the official government website. It was assembled as the creators were also struggling as operators of a highly-impacted travel-related company and we found limited information was available about HASCAP Loans and the HASCAP program.

Please share this site with those in travel, tourism, arts and culture be they restaurants, hotels, attractions, museums, cultural institutions who may find this program a welcome relief. Lets build back Canada better.

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