Innovation funding for SMEs seen as growth opportunity for economic recovery

SME funding

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) represent about 90 per cent of businesses and more than 50 per cent of employment worldwide, according to the World Bank (2021). Canadian corps index above the global average by +9 per cent with SMEs making up over 99 per cent of Canadian businesses. Yet, financing growth initiatives and innovation remains a barrier for many SMEs to compete domestically and internationally.

25+ percent of businesses with fewer than 100 employees reported a 30 per cent drop in revenue in 2020, Federal, provincial and regional governments recognized innovation funding and SME incentivization as mission critical to strengthening Canada’s global competitive advantage and economic recovery.

Support for SMEs key to Canada’s innovation culture

Government support for SMEs and increased investments in key growth sectors are instrumental in continuing to build Canada’s innovation culture. This stretched beyond R&D to include skills development and training, job creation, technology and digital transformation, green initiatives, infrastructure, export, expansion, and commercialization.

65 federal R&D and innovation programs have allocated $1 million per applicant or more in funding for SMEs, while 260 provincial programs are currently accepting applications for R&D and innovation projects spearheaded by SMEs. Top SME growth sectors attracting government funds include advanced manufacturing, bio-health and cleantech.

2021 federal incentives for SMEs

Fundingportal is tracking the $4.4 billion in awarded funds to over 1,300 Canadian SME projects across 20 sectors YTD.

Non-dilutive and non-repayable sources of funding for SMEs include:

  1. $1.4 billion in microgrants and training for technology adoption over 4 years  
  2. $560 million toward the Canada Small Business Financing Program
  3. $500 million in innovation funds for max. 2,500 small and medium-sized businesses
  4. $470 million in construction and manufacturing apprenticeship funding over 3 years. 

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Melanie Tabet

Melanie Tabet

Melanie Tabet is chief marketing officer at Fundingportal. Her marketing and communications career spans nearly two decades, and includes leadership roles in software, travel and government funding organizations. In addition to driving strong marketing, branding and communications results, she has published numerous thought leadership articles on the topics of branding, customer experience, customer centricity, technology, and finance in industry magazines such as Forbes. She holds a degree in Commerce (Marketing) from Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Montreal, and is a passionate marketer, effective communicator, analytical thinker, and strong leader.

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