Government Funding for Food Businesses: Planning for Success

Accessing government grants and loans is not an easy process, but it can be made easier and more beneficial by using funding strategies.

These strategies, or ‘approaches’ can be used throughout the government funding process, including the planning, writing, submission, and reporting stages. If done properly, these techniques will help optimize the value received from Canadian government funding over time.

Related: Government Funding for Food Businesses: Part 1 – Understanding Grants and Loans

Some of the approaches we use most successfully at Mentor Works include matching business funding programs to top strategic initiatives, using funding to offset all four business investment areas, and tailoring projects to deliver the types of impacts sought by government agencies. Strategic approaches to funding can help food and beverage businesses expand cash flow, organize strategic initiatives, and overcome growth barriers.

We advise all companies to use these strategies when applying for Canadian government funding. Whether managing the application process internally or reaching out to external support, these concepts must be addressed.

Best Strategies to Access Funding for Food and Beverage Businesses

First-time funding applicants are often confused by the way Canadian government funding programs are administered and how to get started with them.

Although this process can seem unclear, tapping into funding resources such as the Canadian Small Business Funding Guide can support your early understanding of the funding landscape. These types of resources detail how funding is awarded, and what your organization needs to be competitive through the government grants and loans process.

Approach 1: Matching Funding to Top Strategic Initiatives

When meeting business leaders who are new to the government funding process, we generally start by integrating the first critical government funding strategy, which is a review of your organization’s top strategic initiatives. Businesses should be able to identify major projects that will be started within the next 12-24 months in order to properly target relevant funding opportunities.

Once these priorities have been recognized, it’s possible to search for funding programs that can support the projects specific activities or expenses. This matching process can be done quickly by a qualified support partner, such as Mentor Works, who has visibility of hundreds of government funding programs and can curate a list of the programs most relevant to your business growth priorities. Additional funding strategies such as stacking can be integrated with matching to secure funding through multiple government funding programs. Although businesses can navigate this stage of the process independently, using external support can help identify a broader range of funding opportunities and speed up the application process.

Approach 2: Using Funding to Support All Business Investments

Another approach we recommend when applying for funding is to access funds for as many types of expenses and strategic investments as possible. Canadian small business funding programs can be used to offset the costs of four major investment areas, including business expansion, technology adoption, hiring and training, and research and development. Applying for funding programs in each of these categories will ensure that your business optimizes the amount of funding it can receive.

Approach 3: Demonstrating the Required Project Outcomes

Canadian business funding programs support projects where there are clear benefits to both the company and the province/country. These are generally considered to be positive net impacts that result from the successful completion of projects.

Government funding programs for businesses use both internal (company-level) and external (economic) benefits to determine how qualified a project is for funding. Competitive funding applications generally state how productivity, innovation, and exports will be increased, among other key variables such as the creation of good jobs and impacts on local economic clusters.

Develop a Canadian Government Funding Plan for Your Business

All these approaches to accessing Canadian government grants and loans can be used to support your overall government funding plan. Funding plans provide a transparent and actionable way to optimize government funding submissions; it provides you with a roadmap to guide the application, submission, and reporting processes which ultimately makes funding easier to access.

Companies can learn more about government funding strategies by downloading the free slide deck, How to Build a Proactive Funding Plan

Author: Jeff Shepherd obtained his Honours Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Guelph-Humber. He has combined his passion for marketing and economic development in his role of Marketing Coordinator at Mentor Works.

Mentor Works is a business support organization specializing in Canadian government funding. The Ontario-based business has helped hundreds of businesses build and execute their funding strategy through a mix of federal and provincial government grants, loans, and tax credits. Mentor Works offers free online resources, funding webinars, and news via their website at

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