Small Business Grants BC to Scale Up Your Business

Starting and scaling up a small business can be exciting yet challenging. You will be glad to learn that several small business grants are available to help you as an entrepreneur in British Columbia (BC). These small business grants in BC are crucial for business owners looking for funding to start or grow their businesses. British Columbia provides a range of grant programs at the provincial and federal levels and opportunities from local governments and non-profit organizations.

This post will explore the small business grants in British Columbia, providing you with handy information to unlock opportunities and fuel your entrepreneurial dreams.

Who Is Eligible for Small Business Grants in BC?

Providing documentation is simply one aspect of the grant application process. Before receiving funding from the provincial or federal governments, participating financial institutions or professional service providers, businesses, and entrepreneurs must meet other specific eligibility criteria. For instance, most BC startup grants and funding programs are only available to British Columbia residents, permanent residents, or Canadian citizens.

Other essential requirements include the size and structure of the business. Some grants are only available to small and medium-sized enterprises, while others are only for incorporated companies. Besides, there are location-specific funding opportunities, such as the Columbia Basin Trust or Vancouver grants.

Therefore, when looking for government loans and grants, it’s advisable to ensure that your business or organization meets all eligibility criteria before applying.

The Main Requirements for BC Small Business Grants

Here are the primary requirements for most small business owners to meet when applying for grants:

  1. Have a complete business proposal that covers the company’s operations or a proposed project plan that includes the budget, scope, and timeline.
  2. Providing proper financial projections or financial statements, including a balance sheet, cash flow, a profit and loss statement, and yearly revenue generation.
  3. Registration and licensing for the business to legally operate in British Columbia and any additional industry-specific licensing requirements.
  4. Having an investor pitch deck: Most government funding agencies and private investors require presentations (Pitch Deck). These are usually brief 10- to 15-slide presentations highlighting the business model, scaling-up strategy, specifics about shares, and funding needs of the business in a visually appealing format.
  5. The business’ employee list, including the number of part-time and full-time workers.
  6. Any letters of support or referrals.
  7. Some amount of funding comes from sources outside the grant program.

Types of Government Business Grants in British Columbia

1. One-Time and Renewable

One-time and rewritable government grants are the most common grant types. These funding programs will offer a lump sum for specific needs, such as training your employees. The renewable part allows you to return and get more when more training costs are incurred.

2. Non-Repayable Grants

Non-repayable business grants are the most sought-after by most business owners. Unlike a loan, the money obtained through this grant program does not have to be repaid. These government grants, however, fund particular needs a business may have and are offered based on those needs.

3. Partial Contributions

Another type of government business grant is partial contributions. The phrase “partial contribution” means you must provide some of your money to be eligible for the funding. It is similar to a partnership. For instance, if you need $150,000 for equipment, the government may offer you $75,000 to use toward the purchase but require you to fund the remaining $75,000.

Small Business Grants BC

1. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD)

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) usually manages the federal government’s Business Scale-up and Productivity (BSP) program. Their funding supports high-growth businesses that produce innovative products, services, or technologies and are trying to scale up.

This BC government grant can contribute between $200,000 and $5 million per project, or $10 million to any organization, covering up to 50 percent of eligible project costs. Remember that 50 percent of the funding must come from a non-government source, which must be stated when submitting an expression of interest before applying for the grant.

Who Can Apply?

Small to mid-sized businesses:

  • Incorporated in Canada.
  • Have fewer than 500 full-time employees.
  • Have employee-operated facilities in Western Canada.
  • Be a high-growth business scaling up.
  • Aim to accelerate growth or support productivity improvement, technology commercialization, or business scale-up.
  • Have been in business for two or more years before applying.
  • Have a maximum project duration of three years focusing on one or more of these areas: clean technology, clean resources, advanced manufacturing, health and biosciences, digital industries, value-added agriculture, and value-added processing of natural resources.
  • As a small business owner, know all funding sources, government, and non-government (at least 50 percent of funding should come from non-government sources) at the time of application.

How Do I Apply?

Before applying for financial support, you must submit an expression of interest. Go through the BSP EOI Help Guide before submitting your application. You will be invited to apply once your expression of interest has been received and approved.

2. Columbia Basin Trust Region Grants

Columbia Basin Trust Region grants are only available to small businesses within the Columbia Basin region in British Columbia. These grants and loans are usually available in two funding streams:

  • Impact Investment Fund: This funding program offers loans to small businesses and organizations that cannot otherwise acquire conventional funding streams. The financing is intended to help businesses that positively impact the community.
  • Career Internship Program: This funding program provides financial support to small businesses interested in hiring full-time interns permanently. Funding is available to help employers train and hire emerging professionals.

The Impact Investment Fund is a repayable loan with flexible financing options and payment terms ranging from $10,000 to $250,000, depending on the applicant.

On the other hand, the Career Internship Program covers up to 50 percent of the intern’s salary when hired for full-time, permanent work, up to a maximum of $25,000 for 7 to 12 months.

Who Can Apply?

The Career Internship Program is divided into two eligible classes: new graduates and employers looking for work. Eligible employers usually include:

  • Small businesses.
  • First Nations communities.
  • Non-profit organizations.
  • Any local government within the Columbia Basin Trust region.

Social enterprises, first nations organizations, small businesses, and non-profits formed in the Columbia Basin Trust region are all eligible to apply for the Impact Investment Fund loan grant. However, the business must demonstrate that its investment proposition positively impacts the local economy.

How Do I Apply?

Apply for the Career Internship Program Grant through the Trust’s online application site. Apply for the Investment Fund by contacting [email protected] for social enterprises, first nations, and non-profit organizations. Contact the Community Futures Office or Heritage Credit Union for small businesses.

3. Innovate BC’s Ignite Program

Innovate BC’s Ignite Program usually supports small businesses working toward commercializing their research and development through Research and Development Grants. Industry-driven business initiatives significantly benefiting British Columbia are more eligible for funding.

Funding comes in the form of contributions of up to $300,000 per project over three years. Business projects must receive funding from government agencies or other funding sources at a ratio of 2:1 to the Ignite Program’s contribution. This implies that a total of $600,000 must be available for a project to receive $300,000 from the Innovate BC Ignite Program.

Who Can Apply?

To apply for this grant, you have to be a British Columbia-based partnership made up of two or more businesses, organizations, or academic researchers. The partnership can be formal or informal as long as there’s a well-defined collaboration between the academic and industry parties.

Projects must prove that they correct a huge problem faced by the technology or science industries to receive funding. Besides, the project will create a partnership between the industry and academic organizations.

How Do I Apply?

Innovate BC usually picks 6 to 8 research projects to allocate yearly funding. You can submit your application on the Innovate BC Smart Simple application platform.

4. Workplace Accessibility Grant

The Workplace Accessibility Grant offered by Small Business BC (SBBC) helps small business employers in British Columbia by providing financial support to create an inclusive work environment for people with disabilities.

The funding program can support building a more inclusive work environment, policy revision, anti-bias training, implementing inclusive technologies, and updating information and communication documentation.

The maximum contribution is $1,000 for any business.

Who Can Apply?

Eligible businesses include those based in BC, registered with the government to conduct business out of the province, and having 1–50 employees (part-time and full-time).

How Do I Apply?

Apply for the Workplace Accessibility Grant on the SBBC website.

5. Innovators’ Skills and Initiative

Innovate BC and the Government of British Columbia manage the Innovator Skills Initiative to support businesses in the technology industry in diversifying their workforces and filling talent shortages. This funding is offered to employers to help fill tech or tech-related positions with underrepresented individuals.

Government funding usually comes in the form of a contribution of up to $10,000 per applicant per company to supplement the new employees’ salary. The funding program offers up to ten grants for employees every year.

Who Can Apply?

  • Be a tech company or non-profit organization in British Columbia hiring for a business or tech position.
  • Be a non-tech company, non-profit, or post-secondary school in British Columbia looking for a tech position.
  • Be a local or regional authority in BC or an indigenous community looking to fill a tech position.

How Do I Apply?

Apply for grant funding online through the Innovate BC application form.

Featured Image by Microsoft 365 on Unsplash

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