The Government of Canada recognizes the challenges entrepreneurs face with starting or scaling up operations. In response, it offers several programs designed to aid small businesses in reaching their potential. One such program is the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), administered by the National Research Council Canada (NRC).
Learn about IRAP grants and whether or not your organization may be eligible for this support.
What Is NRC IRAP?
NRC IRAP primarily serves small and medium-sized businesses in Canada by funding pioneering projects, delivering advisory services, and connecting enterprises to research and development (R&D) experts. This assistance is designed to expand these organizations’ innovative abilities and guide them in bringing ideas to market. For more than 70 years, the program has supported business and economic growth in Canada.
One of the most advantageous services IRAP offers small and medium-sized organizations is project grants. Businesses engaged in technology-based innovation can seek funding from these grants to accelerate their R&D initiatives.
While IRAP is resourceful for securing government funding, businesses may also reap other benefits from the program. As mentioned, part of IRAP’s support entails advisory services. Qualifying enterprises may consult with industrial technology advisors (ITAs) to gain insights regarding their entire project.
These ITAs have extensive experiences in various fields, such as science and engineering, and have served in management roles at small and medium-sized companies. Additionally, ITAs frequently refer enterprises to others within their community, allowing them to access the combined intelligence of ITAs nationwide.
The following are a handful of the services you may obtain from ITAs:
- Business and technical expertise
- Strategic knowledge
- Instructions for locating the proper resources
- Information and advice regarding patent searches
IRAP also enables enterprises to connect with a vast network of local, national, and international organizations. These partners encompass a wide array of expertise, from colleges and universities, providing insights about R&D to industry associations that offer business guidance. Some areas this network can assist your enterprise with include management, marketing, legal concerns, and general troubleshooting.
In addition to delivering expert advice on issues that matter most for your innovative efforts, these partners can also expose you to local funding opportunities. This service can provide the extra financial support your business needs to expand your project.
IRAP Eligibility Requirements
Not every company qualifies to apply for IRAP grants — only those who meet its eligibility conditions. Review the following IRAP funding criteria to verify your status:
- Must be an incorporated, for-profit small or medium-sized operation in Canada
- Must have 500 full-time team members or fewer
- Must have a goal of growth and profit through the creation and commercialization of cutting-edge, technology-focused products, services, or processes in Canada
Once you confirm your business falls under these categorizations, you may reach out to IRAP about funding. If the program representatives decide to extend a project grant, they will connect you with an ITA. The ITA will meet with you to better understand your enterprise and may request that you craft a project proposal. If IRAP approves the project proposal, your business will begin receiving financial support for its R&D efforts.
To streamline the IRAP funding application process, you may consider creating a business plan. You should also attain a copy of your organization’s financial information, as well as resumes for all management and technical personnel.
IRAP and SR&ED
IRAP is just one of many programs the Government of Canada has developed to support innovative small and medium-sized businesses. Another initiative, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program is the largest source of government-backed financial support for R&D in the nation.
While IRAP and SR&ED tax credits are both government programs targeted at innovative organizations, their financial support is slightly different. You receive your IRAP funding amount at the start of and through the life of the project, but SR&ED funding appears after you conduct qualifying activities as a tax refund at the end of the fiscal year.
Moreover, financial support from IRAP will not cover overhead costs, such as utilities or insurance, but you can claim these expenses with SR&ED tax credits. Businesses that plan to acquire funding from both programs can maximize this assistance by dedicating SR&ED tax refunds to overhead and reserving IRAP support for wages and subcontractor expenses.
Businesses would benefit from pursuing IRAP project grants and claiming SR&ED tax credits, but ensuring you’re maximizing the benefits may not be straightforward. Consultants can provide valuable support here. One of Easly’s lending specialists can connect you with our network of consultants that have expertise in this field.
Contact us to get started.
Advance Your Government Funding with Easly
With support from programs like IRAP project grants and SR&ED tax incentives, Canadian businesses can achieve greater innovation that benefits their bottom line and the growth of the nation altogether.
If your business qualifies for IRAP funding, there is a high likelihood that you also have eligible SR&ED expenditures. We can accelerate IRAP project grants and expedite your SR&ED refund based on accrual through Easly Advances, enabling you to access those funds much sooner.
If you’re ready to submit your application for Easly Advances, fill out this form, and we’ll be in touch.