In Canada, businesses have various federal and provincial opportunities to fund growth initiatives and innovative efforts. For instance, the Government of Alberta offers several financing options to small businesses, enabling them to expand, diversify, and access additional markets. If you own a start-up organization in Alberta, consider investigating the following funding sources to make your goals a reality.
Types of Financing for Start-Ups
Relying on a single source of financing is rarely a productive strategy for any business, especially not for a start-up. Instead, enterprises should look for multiple opportunities to secure sufficient financial support to meet their unique needs. Some funding options that small businesses in Alberta may seek are:
- Venture capital: Investors that provide capital for a promising endeavor in exchange for equity
- Angel investors: Wealthy individuals who may be industry leaders that invest in start-ups
- Bank loans: One of the most sought-after funding sources among small and medium-sized enterprises, bank loans provide a traditional source of capital in exchange for interest payments
- Government grants: Non-repayable federal or provincial government support for businesses meeting eligibility requirements
- Government contributions: Federal or provincial government support that is repayable as stated in the contribution agreement
- Business incubators: Focus on funding an enterprise at different stages of development, typically within a specific sector such as AgTech
- Love money: Funding from family members and friends
Start-Up Funding in Alberta
You may consider any of these funding options, but keep in mind not all of them are as beneficial for start-ups. For instance, attaining financial support from venture capitalists or angel investors may require you to relinquish large chunks of ownership of your organization. Conversely, while grants may take more effort to apply for, they don’t involve repayment or giving up a stake in your business. Contributions are also an attractive option for start-ups, as they generally contain much more manageable repayment conditions than traditional debt.
In most cases, government grants and contributions are designed for businesses conducting projects that align with federal or provincial objectives and meet certain criteria. Some ideal funding sources for small businesses in Alberta include:
Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR)
Results Driven Agriculture Research (RDAR) supports the transformation of agriculture in Alberta. It brings together scientists, producers, academic institutions, and private corporations under one goal — making farming more sustainable and commercially successful. The organization focuses on producer-led projects displaying results-driven agriculture research to expand potential in the province.
The On-Farm Action Climate Fund (OFCAF) is a current funding source for RDAR. This fund provides financial support to farmers researching methods to mitigate the effects of climate change. Specifically, the money helps producers accelerate the adoption of Beneficial Management Practices that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote more sustainability and efficiency.
The largest research and innovation agency in the province, Alberta Innovates, works to solve current struggles businesses face while also developing new opportunities for them. The overall objective is to cultivate a more sustainable future where Alberta start-ups and citizens will flourish.
In addition to coaching sessions and workshops, Alberta Innovates offers numerous grants and contributions to enterprises at different stages, from the early phase to industry growth. Financial support also goes to businesses across an array of sectors, such as agriculture, clean energy, and health research. Every year, Alberta Innovates invests approximately $286 million in groundbreaking initiatives.
Alberta Export Expansion Program
Small and medium-sized organizations may seek funding through the Alberta Export Expansion Program for eligible expenses related to international business relationships. For instance, some costs the program supports include airfare, accommodations, conference room space, and registration for tradeshows.
Funding comes in the form of reimbursement after the travel is finished. For-profit and municipal applicants may be paid back up to 50% of qualifying expenses, while non-profit applicants may receive up to 75% of eligible costs. This financial support is also available to Indigenous communities, municipalities, industry associations, and economic development groups.
Obtain Financing with Easly
With many sources of start-up funding in Alberta, small businesses have several options for seeking financial support for their ambitious projects. If your enterprise qualifies for and receives investment tax credits, it may be eligible for an advance from Easly. We work directly with organizations that obtain government financial support and align with the mandates to accelerate the funding timeline. By partnering with us, start-ups can access this capital sooner as on-demand and non-dilutive funding through our Capital-as-a-Service platform.