Guide to Government Funding for ERP Projects in Canada
One of the biggest things small businesses take for granted when they are trying to get their feet off the ground is government funding. The Canadian Government offers dozens of federal and provincial funding programs that help ease the financial burden for small businesses, who in many cases don’t even know they exist. It’s very common for small businesses to find themselves between a rock and a hard place: they need an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution in order to grow, but they need to grow in order to be able to afford an ERP. Sound familiar?
This is where government funding comes into play. There are a variety of programs available that are designed to give you the help you need to break through to the next stage of growth, you just need to know what’s available to you.
Basic Criteria for many Canadian Funding Programs
Unfortunately these funding programs aren’t available to all businesses. If only it were that easy! The majority of Canadian business grants and loans require that you meet the following criteria:
- Incorporated for at least 3 years
- 15 employees or more
- Manufacture or perform R&D in Canada
- Cash-flow positive for the last 2 years*
With that said, this isn’t always the case. As you’ll discover with one of the grants we mention later, sometimes the criteria is less restrictive so it’s important not to rule out funding that can assist with implementing an ERP until you have researched all of the options available to you.
Partner with ERP Experts
Finding a business management technology solution that can fit within your budget (even with the assistance of grants) only scrapes the surface of this decision. You also need to ensure that the solution you choose can accommodate your business goals and provide the features you need to thrive in your industry and continue to grow. Choosing and implementing an ERP isn’t as simple as buying and installing software. You will need to conduct a thorough analysis of your business processes to determine which modules you need, how they will be adopted, ways that your processes can be streamlined and more.
To achieve this it’s recommended to partner with an ERP expert that represents multiple solutions, so they can conduct a discovery into your business to make an educated recommendation for which solution is the best fit for your business. This process will also give you the opportunity to gain detailed insight into the different options you have available and explore the benefits they have to offer.
You’ll be pleased to know that this is where you can start to utilize grants which is another benefit of a Solutions Partner: they can help prepare some of the documents needed for grant applications, whether for the purchase of the solution or for the ongoing training.
Recommended Grants for ERP Projects
IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP) Canadian Business Grants for Costs Associated with Planning and Analysis
Determining which ERP is the best fit for your business is arguably one of the most important decisions your business will ever make. To subsidize the costs involved with selecting, designing and customizing an ERP you can utilize the IRAP grant, which provides $50k that can be put towards up to 80% of direct labour costs and 50% of sub-contractor fees.
The goal of this grant is to provide funding to ‘perform the technical research needed to solve an internal innovation challenge’* and it is available Canada-wide, running from April 1st to March 31st annually. Unlike the basic eligibility outlined above, this grant only requires that you have been incorporated for a minimum of 2 years, and that you can have between 1 and 500 employees.
Canadian Business Grants for Training and Hiring
There are a variety of Canadian Government funds dedicated to funding the hiring and training as well, which can be used to offset costs incurred during the design and implementation of your new ERP. The grants available depend on your size, industry and in some cases location, so based on those factors you need to apply for the funding that is applicable to you. Examples of Canada-wide funding programs include the Canada Job Grant and Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit.
ERP solutions are essential to helping businesses run smoothly and grow. As a small business, the urgency of implementing an ERP varies depending on industry, but as soon as your tools and software begin to hinder business development it’s important to start considering implementing an ERP. While financial limitations are a common hurdle, government funding is there to help you along the way.