Manufacturers looking to expand their businesses may be missing the boat on millions of dollars in government funding.
That’s according to Mike Janke, who says the federal government has more than 200 active funding programs available to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and most of us don’t know—or trust—they exist.
“I think they just don’t have time (or) if a government rep knocks on your door and says, ‘we’re here to help’ you don’t believe it,” Janke explains, as to why available funding often goes unclaimed.
Citing a government-commissioned panel reviewing federal support for research and development (R&D), Janke says 52 per cent of firms are unaware of federal support programs, and another 35 per cent find the application process too difficult.
From grants to purchase new machinery and equipment, train or hire employees, develop new products, complete R&D or boost efficiency, Janke says there are dozens of programs to help manufacturers grow their business.
That’s where his firm comes in.
Like others, Janke’s grant writing service Onager Solutions acts—for a not-insignificant fee—as a consultancy firm in all aspects of the grant proposal process.
The top five available for manufacturers, he says, are manufacturing capital, new product development, manufacturing training, employment and export grants that offer anywhere from $20,000 to $500,000 depending on the applicant and grant program.
Administered under the SMART Global Prosperity Initiative, the manufacturing capital grant offers eligible applicants up to $75,000 for capital upgrades like new machinery.
Eligible companies must have 15 to 1,500 employees and be in business in southern Ontario for at least two consecutive years.
Projects must be aimed at improving export sales, with eligible expenses receiving a 33 per cent coverage ratio.
The Ontario Exporters Fund offers up to $80,000 for 50 per cent coverage of an export development manager’s salary.
The program is aimed at supporting SMEs as they develop an export market strategy, according to Janke, and requires the manufacturer to have total annual sales between $1- and $20-million, with export sales making up 10 to 50 per cent of that total.
The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) provides $50,000, $150,000 or $500,000 for up to 75 per cent coverage of new product development and R&D initiatives.
The Yves Landry Training Foundation provides eligible applicants with up to $50,000 for a 50 per cent coverage ratio to support training and skills development, Janke says.
Qualified projects need to create and maintain jobs.
Janke says the Regional Career Focus program provides $20,000 for 50 per cent coverage to hire a recent graduate from a post-secondary institution.
The graduate must be a Canadian citizen under 30-years of age, with the position they are entering providing an opportunity to gain career-related work experience and skills.