Friday, May 22, 2009

Free money?

An entrepreneur recently wrote me to ask if I knew of any government grants to help companies invest in technology, such as specialized industry software. I replied and said I didn't know. So I decided to ask the readers of this blog. Feel free to drop me an email [rick (AT)] if you know of any help such as this.

Here is the text of my reply to the entrepreneur:

I'm afraid I don't know of any government aid of the sort you describe.
Your accountant may know if there are any grants like that available.

You could also ask the folks at the Innovation Synergy Centre in Markham, Ont., which has run several seminars on financing alternatives for small business. In fact, they have another session scheduled for May 28.
Finally, you might look into whether the software you are seeking is available as a "service", ie, for a monthly fee rather than an upfront pricetag.

If anyone has a better answer, please let me know.


Anonymous said...

The one that should come immediately to mind is SR&ED. Although, we all need to be vigilant of the many so-called "consultants" who will file for you in exchange for a significant share of your return. The program is not perfect, especially in that money must be spent first with the hope and anticipation that your claim could be accepted, but is a program that we should all be knowledgeable about.

I've asked the same question myself, and am always shocked at the lack of awareness even from individuals who claim to be in the "entrepreneur advisory" space (sometimes even advisors who are in government-sponsored institutions themselves). One of the biggest challenges faced by entrepreneurs is raising money, and at the beginning we're often not looking for much. Government money at this stage could be a huge asset, and I'm certain that such programs must exist. Unfortunately, like the sasquatch or loch ness monster, many people suspect that these programs might exist, but no one has actually seen them. Shocking, and unfortunate.

Jennifer said...

Hmmm ... grants (i.e. free, unrepayable funds) are typically hard to come by, although in Alberta, we have AVAC, which funds a variety of start-up ventures; the funding stream most applicable to this venture can be found here

Not knowing where the entrepreneur is ... there's also the Toronto Region Research Alliance or Ontario's Ministry of Research and Innovation

I'd also try to connect with a local Regional Economic Development Alliance or Community Futures Development Corporation, as they offer business support services and, even if they are unable to fund, may provide contacts to follow up on.

It sounds interesting ... best wishes!

Imee said...

I don't know about Canada, but in the U.S. there are grants for businesses, especially startups. I hope the entrepreneur who asked you will be able to find one there in Canada.