The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency offers a wide range of programs to help businesses throughout Newfoundland and Labrador become more competitive, innovative and productive. Here are just some of the programs they offer:
Atlantic Innovation Fund
The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) helps researchers and innovative businesses team up to develop new products and services and put them on the market.
New products and services are key to a strong economy. They can lead to market success, help key sectors grow, and build research and commercial partnerships.
Through the AIF, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) supports businesses, co-operatives, colleges, universities, and research institutions so they can:
- create and market new products and services that meet demands and global quality standards
- adapt new technology to meet business needs or respond to market opportunities
Who Can Apply?
To qualify for AIF funding, a project must be large-scale and must include an R&D element with a strong possibility for commercialization.
Recipients eligible for AIF funding include:
- private-sector businesses
- colleges, universities and other post-secondary institutions
- non-government research organizations
- provincial Crown corporations
More information can be found at:
Business Development Program
The Business Development Program (BDP) helps entrepreneurs launch, modernize and grow their business in Atlantic Canada.
Through the BDP, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) funds new ideas so you can get them off the ground. The BDC also helps existing companies get to the next level. If you have a non-profit organization that fuels business growth, you can also access support.
Support for entrepreneurs
If you’re looking to finance your next expansion or start a new business, the BDC can help! Their repayable funding is interest-free and unsecured. You could get up to 50% of the capital you need to grow your business or launch a new one.
They also support business growth activities. You could get an interest-free contribution to cover up to 75% of the costs for:
- staff training
- efficiency studies
- marketing/trade activities
- productivity improvements
- quality assurance
- environmental management systems
Support for non-profits
ACOA helps non-profit organizations support Atlantic Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They fund projects so businesses can grow, become more competitive and increase their productivity.
Your organization could receive support to help SMEs with:
- business counselling and advice
- training and specialized services
- networking opportunities
- research and development
- technology transfer
Regional Economic Growth through Innovation
The Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program creates the right conditions to start and grow businesses in Atlantic Canada. Through REGI, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is helping businesses and non-profit organizations develop a strong, dynamic and inclusive economy.
The REGI program offers two options for funding:
- Business Scale-up and Productivity
- Regional Innovation Ecosystems
Business Scale-up and Productivity
They help businesses speed up their growth so they can be more productive, compete on the world stage and reach new markets.
REGI can help you reach the next level! Our repayment contributions are unsecured and interest-free. Your agreement will explain all the details including the schedule and conditions for repayment.
You can use this funding to:
- scale up and expand
- make the most of new technologies
- improve productivity
- create new products and find new markets
Regional Innovation Ecosystems
ACOA funds non-profit organizations that support businesses at each stage of development. By doing this, they create strong and inclusive regional networks to fuel growth and innovation.
ACOA also focuses on making business support networks stronger for under-represented groups. These include women, Indigenous peoples and young entrepreneurs, among others.
They provide non-repayable contributions for organizations such as:
- strategic clusters and groups that help businesses build on regional strengths to scale up and bring new ideas to market
- business accelerators and incubators and others that support entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovative companies with high-growth potential
- other innovation-oriented organizations that help businesses be more productive, compete globally, attract new investments and recruit talent
Who can apply?
Business Scale Up
This option funds businesses, including:
- sole proprietorships
- social enterprises
- incorporated companies
- corporations or co-operatives
- Indigenous-owned businesses
- all other types of enterprises
It also funds non-profit organizations that offer services to businesses.
Regional Innovation Ecosystems
This option funds non-profit organizations such as:
- post-secondary educational institutions
- accelerators and business incubators
- angel networks
- social enterprises
- a group of eligible recipients such as an industry association or consortium
- a municipality and all other municipal-type organizations
- community-owned Indigenous businesses
We know it can be harder for Indigenous businesses to succeed. If you’re an Indigenous youth or woman, or if you lead a community-owned Indigenous business, you could get extra support. Contact us to see if you qualify for more funding or flexible repayment options.
Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP)
CDAP offers two grants that will help you get online and use technology to build your business.
1) Boost Your Business Technology
Boost Your Business Technology grant gives you:
- up to $15,000 to develop a Digital Adoption Plan
- up to $100,000 in 0% interest loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to implement your plan
- up to $7,300 to hire a skilled youth to implement the technologies that can propel your business forward
In order to take advantage of the Boost Your Business Technology grant, businesses will need to apply through a certified CDAP advisor, like Indigrow Business Management.
Who is eligible to receive the CDAP Grant?
You can get funding through this grant if your business*:
- is Canadian-owned
- is a sole proprietor or a business incorporated under the laws of Canada or a province or territory
- is a for-profit
- has 1 to 499 employees
- has had at least $500,000 in annual revenue (but no more than $100M in 1 of the previous 3 tax years)
* Complete eligibility criteria can be found in the program guide.
Apply to this grant in 4 easy steps!
- Step 1: Create your account
- Step 2: Confirm your eligibility
- Step 3: Work with a digital advisor like Indigrow Business Management to submit your application.
- Step 4: Submit your claim to receive your grant payment
Consult the program guide to learn more about how CDAP works and review the terms and conditions.
There are some additional benefits to the CDAP program that many are not aware of.
A) Digital Needs Assessment
Assess your current use of technology and identify your business needs.
Take advantage of an industry leading questionnaire to measure your business’ current use of technology. Based on your input, you will receive a customized report that you can use to compare your business with others in the same industry, and get advice on how adopting new technology can help you boost your business.
B) BDC – 0% Interest Loan
You can get a 0% interest loan of up to $100,000 to pay for new technology.
When you are ready to move forward with your digital adoption plan, apply for a 0% loan of up to $100,000 from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
You’re eligible if you have completed a digital adoption plan:
- As part of CDAP and have received your grant payment OR
- Under another recognized digital adoption program and submitted it to CDAP
- Business revenue of $500,000 to $5 million: loans between $25,000 and $50,000
- Business revenues over $5 million: loans between $25,000 and $100,000
What does it cover?
The BDC loan covers items directly related to the digital adoption plan. Some examples are:
- Acquiring IT equipment
- Installation of new technologies
- Updating and/or expanding IT equipment
- Training staff on onboarded technologies
- Materials and support services directly related to onboarding the technology
- Further advisory services on particular aspects of the digital adoption plan
- The loan has a 5-year term with 12-month capital postponement (total of 6 years)
- There are no fees
- You have 6 months from the completion of your approved plan to make a loan request
- You must meet BDC credit worthiness requirements
C) Funded Work Placement
You can receive up to $7,300 as a wage subsidy to hire a talented youth with the skills your business needs to achieve its digital adoption goals.
Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES)
The full and equal participation of women in the economy is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.
Studies show that by advancing gender equality and women’s participation in the economy, Canada could add up to $150 billion in GDP. Only 17% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are owned by women, and the Government of Canada is working to change that.
The government is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), representing nearly $7 billion in investments and commitments. WES aims to increase women-owned businesses’ access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.
The WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative will fund projects to strengthen and build a more inclusive venture capital environment for Canadian women.
The Loan Fund is providing loans of up to $50,000 to women business owners and entrepreneurs so they can start up, scale up and access new markets. Several organizations selected to deliver the Fund are now accepting applications.
Are you a woman entrepreneur looking for networks that offer support, mentorship or help in growing your business? Check out the WES-funded ecosystem organizations that exist across Canada to help you achieve your business goals.
Are you looking for data on women’s entrepreneurship? Check out the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, a one-stop source of knowledge, data and best practices for women entrepreneurs.