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Financing Solutions for Start-ups: Part 3 – Federal Financing for Technology Businesses

8 mins read

This article lists some of the many federal government business financing options for tech start-ups.

Now, maybe your business idea is in the technology industry and you have an excellent App, Gizmo or robotics solution. It worked for businesses in Saskatchewan like Skip The Dishes and 7Shifts so it can work for you. The Saskatchewan Technology Startup Incentive (STSI) is designed to encourage investment in early-stage technology start-ups that will bring new products to market and create jobs in Saskatchewan.

Federally there are a great deal of financial solutions made available to the technology industry. We have compiled a list of potential funding solutions to help your business start-up, train or expand. Please follow the links for additional information, eligibility, requirements and how to apply.

Federal Funding

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) – Innovate

NSERC – Innovate connects researchers with over 4,000 partners in industry, government, and the not-for-profit sector. Their researchers bring world firsts in knowledge, specialized equipment and young talent to R and D collaborative projects. These include University grants, research grants and many different financial supports for innovative ideas. Various grants range from $20,000 to $1,000,000 per year.

Innovative Solutions Canada – Government of Canada

Innovative Solutions Canada is powered by Innovation Canada. At Innovation Canada, they back innovators. Funding, expert advising , and driving new collaborations, their flagship programs and services are designed to help businesses innovate, create jobs and grow Canada’s economy. For the innovators, you can get funds to solve challenges. Every few weeks a study or problem is put up for tender, looking for solutions for you to solve.

Compete for funding to prove the feasibility of your solution and build a prototype. You can also get funds to test your innovation where they buy it to test it and you compete for funding to test your innovation in real-life settings. Plus, there are several other innovation project programs. Funding is up to $150,000 for proof of concept and up to $1,000,000 for prototype development.

Strategic Innovation Fund – Government of Canada

The Strategic Innovation Fund’s (SIF) objective is to spur innovation for a better Canada by providing funding for large projects (over $10 million in requested contribution). There are 5 streams of financing with the first 2 tracks of Funding helping support R&D and commercialization, the growth and expansion of firms and the attraction and retention of large-scale investments in Canada. The other 3 streams of funding help support industrial research, development and technology demonstration through collaboration between academia, non-profit organizations and the private sector with 85 announced projects, $3.4 billion in contributions and $46.6 billion total investment leveraged.

Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) – Western Economic Diversification

Western Economic Diversification Canada makes strategic investments in key economic sectors and supports the development of leading industry geographic clusters through its Business Scale-up and Productivity program.

BSP supports high-growth businesses that are scaling up and producing innovative goods, services or technologies. The program offers interest free repayable funding to incorporated businesses.

A high growth business can be defined as any for-profit company that has notable and/or consistent revenue increases year over year. Typically, this means an increase of at least 20% year over year. Businesses that are negatively impacted by the current pandemic could be eligible if they met this definition prior to March 31, 2020.

The BSP program is open to incorporated high-growth businesses that have been operating in Western Canada for a minimum of 2 years. Preference may be given to small and medium-sized enterprises with less than 500 full-time employees with up to 50% of eligible project costs: minimum $200K; maximum $5M/project and maximum $10M to any one organization.

Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) – National Research Council Canada

The National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) provides advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market. NRC IRAP provides funding to support research and development projects at various stages of the innovation cycle.

In 2018-2019, NRC IRAP was mandated to expand its support to include an increased funding threshold of up to $10 million for larger research and development projects.

Green Bond Program – Export Development Canada (EDC)

Support for environmental companies or projects and clean technology is a strategic priority for the EDC Green Bond Program as demand rises for goods and services that allow for a more efficient use of the planet’s resources.

Transactions will include loans that help mitigate climate change with clean technology or improved energy efficiency. They also include transactions that specifically focus on air, water or soil, and technology that helps mitigate climate change.

Although funding for each project varies, since 1944, they’ve facilitated more than $1.5 trillion in exports and foreign investment by Canadian companies.

SD Tech Fund – Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC)

Supporting Canadian companies – clean technology trailblazers – who are leaders in their efforts to develop and demonstrate new environmental technologies that address climate change, clean air, clean water and clean soil initiatives. The SDTC Tech Fund includes seed funding, start-up funding and scale-up funding.

  • Seed Funding: One-time grant of $50,000 – $100,000
  • Start-Up Funding: Average contribution of $2,000,000 – $5,000,000 up to $10,000,000
  • Scale-Up Funding: Average contribution of $2,000,000 – $5,000,000 up to $10,000,000

Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology Venture Fund – Business and Development Bank of Canada

The BDC Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology Venture Fund is helping build tomorrow’s leaders who are reinventing industries and defining new markets. They do this by partnering with exceptional founders who are creating a future powered by science and technology; working with businesses from their early growth stages to becoming globally successful companies with an investment range of $1,000,000 – $5,000,000.

As you can see there are many federal funding opportunities that will help grow your business from concept, to start-up and even larger expansion. It is amazing how many financing options are offered and available. We hope a few in this list can be of use and help start up your tech company dreams!

Be sure to read Part 4 of our series as we look at Provincial Financing resources and opportunities for your business start-up.

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