SMEs in Ontario have access to a substantial amount of untapped grant capital, yet securing funding remains one of the biggest challenges that business owners face, and many don’t have access to experienced grant professionals who can advise them. However, with the right strategy and support, you can optimise your grant application process and effectively unlock a new revenue source to bring your company's new and innovative ideas to life.
As a business owner, you could see significant benefits to your company's growth and bottom line by applying for funding to increase sales, expand your product or service offerings, relocate to new locations, hire more employees, or expand internationally.
Join us for a candid conversation as our seasoned experts share tips and advice on how small businesses can win grant funding to realize their innovative business strategies.
The webcast will focus on:
The grant funding landscape in Ontario
Targeted programs that can help SMEs stay competitive and keep their businesses operating despite recent challenges
Common grant proposal elements you can prepare ahead of time
Strategic and proven tips for writing a successful grant proposal
- Leigh Smout, President, World Trade CentreToronto
- Stephanie Cesar, Grants Development Consultant, Grants Office Canada
- Juliet Ume-Onyido, Co-Founder, Whole WoMan Network
Mary-Anne Meera...: Good morning everyone. And thank you for joining us today. My name is Mary-Anne Meerasabeer, and I'm a program specialist here at the World Trade Center Toronto. Welcome to the final installment of our RAP Webcast Series. This webcast is being hosted in partnership with Cisco Designed. We're there for you to help you drive growth for your organization with technology innovations and insights. Launched in 2020, the Recovery Activation Program was developed with the generous support of the government of Canada and the government of Ontario to help small and medium off main street businesses in Ontario digitally transform their end to end operations. We would also like to thank RAP sponsors, Cisco Designed, Lenovo, Scotiabank, and Xero, and the board's principal sponsors SNC-Lavalin, the Globe and Mail Scotiabank, and the University of Toronto for their support.
Through online workshops and mentorship sessions with industry experts, RAP has helped more than 2000 Ontario companies in over 30 industries stay in business, adapt digitally, and build a reliable path towards future growth. As we move from recovery to growth, we have launched our brand new initiative, the Growth Development Program also known as the GDP. This program has been designed to support established high growth and high potential Toronto businesses such as yours overcome barriers to growth and boost your scale up strategy. With the Growth Development Program's highly practical interactive workshops and mentoring sessions led by Canada's top scale business specialists, the World Trade Center Toronto will continue to assist Canadian businesses in embracing the new business environment. You can learn more about the World Trade Center Toronto's programs, initiatives, and events, including our growth development program by visiting bot.com/programs-networks.
Now some notes right off the top. If your video is lagging or freezes, there is another stream that can be accessed by clicking the switch stream button on the right side of your screens for any other technical issues, click request help in the bottom right corner of your screen and someone will be in touch. To submit questions at any point, please do click on the questions tab. And finally, a recording of this webcast will be available on supportbusiness.bot.com.
Now onto today's program. Our wonderful moderator today is Leigh Smout the president of the World Trade Center Toronto who will be leading us and our panel of experts through today's discussion. Thank you so much for joining us, Leigh.
Leigh Smout: Thank you, Marianna. Really appreciate the introduction and thanks for thanking all of our important sponsors. Just before we continue, I would like to acknowledge that many of us are on the traditional territory of First Nations across Turtle Island. We have the board are broadcasting from Toronto, the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples in what is now home to many diverse First Nations Inuit and Métis people. So welcome, and thanks so much for joining us for today's webcast. We'd love to discuss today how Canadian entrepreneurs can win grant funding, or I guess win is probably the wrong word, but obtain grant funding to bring their companies new and innovative ideas to life. And that's you folks out there. And we're hoping we can pride some really great practical information for you.
SMEs in Ontario have access to really a substantial amount of untapped grant capital, but securing funding is often one of the biggest challenges that business owners face. And many don't have access to kind of experienced grant professionals who can advise them and make it happen. However, with the right strategy and support, you can optimize your grant application process and effectively unlock a new revenue source to realize your innovative business strategies. And there's lots out there. So as a business owner, you could see significant benefits to your company's growth and bottom line by applying for funding to increase sales, to expand your product or service offerings, to relocate to new locations, to hire more employees, to expand internationally, all of the things you'd need to do to scale your business. So I'm really excited to introduce our panel of experts. We'll get right to this practical information.
Today we have two folks on our panel. We have Stephanie Caesar, Grants Development Consultant for Grants Office, LLC. So very practical knowledge. Stephanie manages K-12 education government for profit and community organizations. And Stephanie's key area of expertise is helping clients find a program that aligns with their needs. So she oversees the grants process from discovery to application. And this in-depth process led to several clients attaining funding for wide ranging projects. And so Stephanie's region of focus is Canada and she's bilingual and English and French. She can help everybody. So I'll introduce Juliet, but welcome Stephanie.
We also have Juliet Kego, co-founder of Whole Woman Network and the winner of one of our great programs we did through RAP, the RAP and Lenovo Digital Transformation Grant. So she will share with us her experience, insights, and recommendations on how to apply for grant funding as somebody who has done this successfully. Whole Woman Network is an empowerment, advocacy, and leadership social enterprise dedicated to advancing human potential and raising a new generation of transformational, ethical, financially literate and resilient women and youth leaders with a focus on underrepresented equity deserving and racialized demographics. So phenomenal work. In short, the network empowers BIPOC women professionals and small business owners with the training they require to be resilient, start and operationalize and scale their businesses.
The network led by Juliet also participates in community initiatives focused on justice, safety, equity, and inclusion, sponsoring advocacies and programs such as mental health, hygiene for girls... Oh, menstrual health. I'm sorry, hygiene for girls, tree planning exercises and breakfast, lunch clubs in their host communities. These initiatives deepen community bonds of respect, tolerance, empathy, community service, and provide opportunities for sustainable development. Juliet's also a professional financial advisor with Sun Life Financial, a founding member of Black Women Professional Worker Co-op, a past scholarship recipient of Rotman Initiative For Women In Business and more. So welcome Juliet. I don't know how, in all that, you found time for us, but we're so glad to have you here today.
So I'm going to start this with Stephanie. Stephanie's going to be speaking about the grant funding landscape in Ontario, targeted programs that can help SMEs stay competitive and keep their operations going despite recent challenges that we've all experienced, common grant proposal elements that companies can prepare ahead of time, and strategic improve and tips for writing a successful grant. After Stephanie gives a presentation, we're going to speak to Juliet about her experience. And then we're really looking forward to addressing your questions and really getting practical for you. Let's help you understand the challenges that you are facing in terms of obtaining grants.
So Stephanie, thank you so much for being here and we're looking forward to hearing your helpful insights and recommendations. Fire away.
Stephanie Cesar: Thank you, Leigh. Hello everyone, and welcome to this event on how do we obtain grant funding and what Canadian entrepreneurs need to know. As Leigh mentioned, my name is Stephanie and I'm a grant consultant from the Grants Office. It is a pleasure for me to be here with you today and share about grants. So this is the agenda for the next 15 minute. First, like Leigh said, I'll do a brief overview of the grant funding landscape. And after that, I'll talk about how to select the right program for your project. I will also talk about several element you can prepare ahead of time in order to be ready to apply to a grant program. And then I will briefly outline two programs that are currently available right now. And following that I will share at the end 10 tips to consider when writing your proposal.
So I want to say a big thank you to our Cisco sponsor today for giving us the opportunity to do this event and help you learn more about grant funding. If you would like to know how Grants Office can help, please send us an email at email address listed on the slide, which is email@example.com.
So let's start with the top sources of funding in Canada. Like grant, they come from several sources. The federal grants, they tend to be much more competitive and have the most complex application processes. The provincial agencies also have programs related to the challenges of the province. There are also grants from local agencies. Another source of funding is private foundation and foundations of organizations. The foundations, they often have grants related to their mission. They usually have a much easier process of application and are often able to turn funding around much most faster than a federal and provincial agencies. The award amount from the federal government tend to be higher than the provincial government and foundation for example. Being a for-profit organization, you're not going to fund a lot of grants that come from foundation, but there are several programs from federal, provincial, and local levels that you are eligible to apply to.
Why grants? We know that grants is very popular, a nonprofit organization. We hear them apply all the time for grants to support themselves. But private companies can also benefit from grants. So grants can help you to start a new project, start a new project that you have in mind that you can look to see if there's grant available for that project. And grant can be what can help you to start this project. Sometimes you start a project and then you have to cut back on the funds because there's another project that your organization would like to work on, or the budget you originally had for that project has run out. So you can check to see if there's grant available to fund a project you were working on so you can complete your project.
And also grants can help you free up your budget. Let's say you are working on a project and you have the funds, but there is a grant that fund that type of project you are working on. So there is nothing stopping you from applying to that grant program. And if your application is successful, you can use the grant money for the project and use the fund that you had previously funded the project in your business. So these are ways that grants can help for profit organization.
Like I said, grants can be found to fund various project. Grant funders in Canada, they know that with the pandemic a lot has changed and they created new programs and also adapted other programs to reflect today's reality. We now see programs to help small businesses go digital, workforce development programs to hire youth and marginalized people, mental health program for research and to help the community for example. If you're in the manufacturing space, there are a lot of grants to bring a new product into the market also. We also see program to help you export your product globally. So as a small business, you can find grant for training costs, job creation, product development, renovation, cost, expansion capital, research, business development, equipment purchase and so on. These are simply example. It's not an exhaustive list of what grant can help you fund as a small business.
So whether you are startup or small, medium size business, grants are an option to explore because there are grants available to fund, like I said, a variety of project. Whether it's research and development, agribusiness, energy or green technology, you can find a grant that can meet your need. At Grants Office, we like to say that grant don't fund product, they fund project. So if you ever read a grant proposal, then you know that grants are for a specific purpose.
The good news is that most of the grants allow you to include the technology you will need to complete your project. So when you are thinking about your project or writing your grant proposal, take the time to include all those technology that you'll need to use in the project. It can be some general equipment, for example, laptop and virtual meeting solution for example. It can be advanced equipment such as virtual desktop or network infrastructure like cyber security and cloud storage. And don't forget to include hardware and stuff, software installation, and warranty service plan, also staff training and new equipment and all costs related to the project that you're working on. Make sure you have a quote from your technology provider to have a sense of how much the technology will cost for the project you are developing.
So here is an example of the timeline between the announcement of a grant and when you can use the fund given. Often, you have a four to eight week period to apply for the grant. And after that, it can take four to eight months to find out if your project is successful. Following the announcement, it may takes four to eight weeks to sign the agreement before receiving the fund. I know that you see this and you say that the process can be long, but it's worth it. That's why it's important to build a plan ahead of time and decide on which one you would like to apply and add them to your timeline when you're working on your project. I will also like to add that this type of timeline is more common at the federal and provincial levels. Grant from foundation and grant from startup usually have a shorter timeline than this one. But this is just an example of a timeline.
Okay. So one characteristic we will encounter in Canada is that an organization can receive either a grant or a contribution. A grant is an unconditional non repayable payment. Grants are awarded to applicants who meet all the eligibility criteria and submit a strong proposal. Sometimes grant can require a cost sharing. A contribution is a conditional payment. It can be repayable, non repayable, and conditionally repayable. Applicants for contribution must still meet all eligibility criteria and submit a strong proposal. Once awarded however, these recipients are also required to meet specific conditions before the award costs will be reimbursed by the funder. So these are just two example. And of course we know there's loans available, but today we just want to focus on grants and contribution.
Okay. So we just talk about why grants are a good option to consider and what they can fund. Now, let's talk about where to find the grants that are available for your business. To find grants, there are several resources available to you. If you would like to have an overview of the grants that are available for your business, Business Benefits Finder, I'll say is the place to start. With this tool, you can select the right characteristic of your project and organization. And at the end, you will have a list of programs. On the right side of the slide, you'll find a print screen of the Benefit Finder window. So all you need to do is fill in the details and at the end you will have the list of available grants according to the criteria you have selected while you are filling out the information. You'll have a list of grant, contribution, even loans that are available for the sector that you selected.
If your company work in a specific sector, you can consult the federal, provincial agency page related to your sector. I also recommend that you follow the departments that are relevant to your business on social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn, because most of them share information about the grants that are available including deadlines and eligibility criteria. You can also follow us, Grants Office, on social media. On our website we also have blog post and webcasts on programs that might be of interest to you.
There are also the regional development agencies in Ontario. We have FedDev, which is for the Southern Ontario and FedNor which is for the Northern Ontario. So these agencies, they work closely with small and medium size businesses to help them become more competitive, innovative, and productive. So if you have a project in mind, you can call them, explain what you're working on, and they will guide you and tell you which program is the best fit for the project that you're working on right now. So these are just a few example of where you can look for grants, but I'll say also make sure you add alerts to all the pages that you think are relevant for your sector, so that once they post something on social media. Or you subscribe to their newsletter so you can have the information related to the grants that are available from those agencies.
Okay. Now that you know where to look for the grants, let's talk about how to select the best grant opportunity. Many grants can be applicable for a project. So it's important to know what outcome you are expecting from the project. So here I'm going to share with you some points that we find useful to clarify in order to choose the best program and consequently put the chances on your side to get your project funded.
The first one is the project scale. So make sure the grant objectives aligns with your project. So make sure that if you're working on the small scale project and if there's a grant that is for national scale, this might not be the right fit for your project right now. So make sure that the objective of the grants align with your project.
The second point is funding availability. So how much money is available versus how much money you need for your project? And also will you have to reimburse the sum after? Did the funder require a local match for that program? So these are all some good question to ask yourself prior to starting your application for specific grant. Some grant will fund up to 80% of the project for example. In that case, the funder would like to see if you have the remaining 20% to bring to project to fruition.
The third point is the application demand. So like I said, grant from federal agencies, like for example Infrastructure Canada, tend to have a national scope. So the application tend to be more complex, more competitive and longer than an application from provincial level, local or foundation for example. The award amount from a federal agency tend to be larger than the other sources. So the grants from the provincial level are less competitive because it's for a specific region. So the grants are targeting the need of a specific province or territory. The length of the application is closely linked to the time required. So therefore you must ask, will you have enough time to develop the project? The call for application for a grant is usually between six and eight weeks, and those weeks can go by quickly. So are you able to put together the proposal during that time? If you are not able to, do you have the time and finances to hire a grant writer to work on your proposal, for example? So these are things to consider.
The next point is collaboration requirement. Does this grant program require you to partner with another organization? It can be higher education or other for-profit organization for example. If so, do you already have a connection or do you need to find a partner to apply for this program?
Last but not least is a program fit. Go on the program page and look at the previously funded project and see if there are any successful applicant that match with your organization. Look on the list to see if the organizations have comparable sizes and share similar characteristic than your organization. These are some tips that we think are useful in order to choose the best grant or the best program to apply for when you're working on a project.
Okay. Now let's talk on what you can prepare ahead of time before starting working on your project. So these are four elements we think you can start working on even before choosing the grant program that you would like to apply. So the first thing is to have a basic organization description. So make sure you have a clear description of your organization, including the type of organization, your purpose, your mission, and values, your CRA number which is a nine digit number, the number of employees you have, your incorporation document and all that for your basic organization description. Also a statement of need. So the statement of need should define why the problem is important to you and of interest to the funding source. So you'll need to explain why this project is important for your business and how the project will accomplish the funder's desired goal. So through the statement of need, this is where you explain how your project align with the objective of the funder.
Also financial projection. So if you're an existing business, you may already have financial data. Ideally, you should have your past three years of financial statement. But if you are just starting out, you may need to develop your financial projection. So this is something that you can work on way before starting applying for a grant program. And last thing is a timeline for deployment. Ideally, you should build a timeline to a six month to a year timeline with all the project that you plan to work on and within that timeline at the grants that you think you might be able to apply to. And while you are working on a time on your timeline, make sure to give yourself a room for unexpected events that may occur during the process.
So now I will briefly review two grants program that are available right now for small and medium sized businesses. So the first one, I'm pretty sure you heard about it is the Canada Digital Adoption Funding Program. So the government of Canada announced this program in order to help small and medium size businesses bounce back from the pandemic. So this program will help small and medium size businesses grow their online presence and also upgrade or adopt new digital technologies. This program will help provide funding for about 160,000 different small businesses to help them leverage eCommerce opportunities and digitize their operation to stay competitive and meet their customers need in the digital marketplace. So the program has two streams. There is the Grow Your Business Online Stream and Boost Your Business Technology option.
So the Grow Your Business Online grant will help up to 90,000 small businesses take advantage of eCommerce opportunities. So eligible businesses under this stream will receive up to $2,400 to help them with the cost related to adopting digital technologies. The grant will be available through local and regional service providers across the country. As of now, the service providers are currently putting in place the final touches on the program for most provinces, but you can start your application processed by leaving your name and contact information, and they will follow up with you directly. I know that digital mainstream and Ontario already start sending email to those that enter the information. So if you did, just look on your email to see if you receive an email from Digital Main Street in Ontario.
The Boost Your Technology Program grants offers support to small and medium sized businesses that want to adopt new digital technologies. And for this stream, eligible businesses can leverage the grant to pay for the services of a digital advisor. These advisors, they'll work with your company and recommend digital pathways and strategies that will help you achieve your business goal and increase your competitiveness in the digital economy. This grant will cover up to 90% of the eligible cost of retaining the services of a digital advisor up to a maximum of $50,000 per small and medium sized businesses to develop a digital adoption plan. So through this program, businesses also have the opportunity to secure a 0% interest loan from the BDC, the Business Development Bank of Canada, to facilitate the acquisition of new technology.
The second program is the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness Stream. This program is from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job creation and Trade. So this program will provide a financial support to advanced manufacturing sectors, including automotive, chemical, life sciences, steel and so on. So the focus on this program is small and medium sized businesses across Ontario. It'll provide investment in capital equipment, technology, adoption and skills development. So for this program, the application portal will open on August 10th, 2022. So if this is your sector, you can just go and start looking at the website and subscribe for their newsletter so you are aware once the program is open and so that you can have also more information about what's to come.
So now let's review some tips on how to write your grant proposal. The first tip is to remember that grant fund project, not product. So grant founders are looking to fund their objective. So one thing is to focus on the need of the project and focus on the outcome of your project and make sure that it aligns with the grant objective. The second tip is to let your project needs and objective determine the technology you acquire. The third one is utilize recent and local and regional statistics to illustrate teams or identifying challenge areas. Ensure that your data points have impact and purpose by evaluating if they are directly related to your proposal and are easily explained. Fourth is involve vendors to gather accurate quote and answer including all necessary gear that you need for your project.
Five, it's learn as much as possible about the grant program before you apply. So read the application guideline. You can even send email or call the agency or the funder if you have any questions about the grant program. But make sure you have all the answers to your questions before you start applying to the grant program. Next, it's includes smart goals. So specific, measurable, achievable, result-focused, and time-bound goals for your project. Seven, provide a detailed budget justification. Explain out each individual line item enable or grant funding activity that will help you accomplish your grant project goals. Eight, don't include materials beyond those that specifically requested by the funder. So do not include a deed or financial statement if the funder did not request them for example.
And nine, get an outside set of eyes to edit your proposal and provide feedback. Ideally, ask a friend or someone that didn't work on the proposal to provide feedback on the proposal that you gave them. And last, follow direction. So no funding application is alike. Each funding agency has a different application style with different requirement and criteria that you must meet and follow to successfully apply. So be sure to review the fine details and provide all that is being asked.
So these are the 10 tips that we share often to make sure that you are putting your best foot forward to apply for the grant. So in summary, if you have any questions about the grant and you would like to know what is available for your specific sector, you can send us an email at the email address below. And remember that grant fund project, not product. And prepare ahead of time. Make sure that you have all your document ready, all that you need to apply. And like I said, follow direction in order to apply while you are working on your grant proposal.
So thank you for this time and for being here with us today. So now I'll turn it over to Leigh for the rest of the presentation.
Leigh Smout: Thank you so much, Stephanie. That's really interesting stuff. There's lots of questions that come up for me in that and no doubt for the audience. But I think what we'll do is let's have a chat with Juliet. Juliet, I'll just mention your camera just went off. So there it is. We're back. So Juliet, I think maybe this is a good opportunity, especially having heard some of that content from Stephanie, for you to talk a little bit about your firsthand experience, like what some of the lessons are and recommendations that you find would be valuable to share with organizations that are interested in capitalizing, on grants to grow their business from your experience. So over to you.
Juliet Kego Ume...: Thank you.
Leigh Smout: Great to have you with us.
Juliet Kego Ume...: Thanks a lot, Leigh. Stephanie, thank you so much for that, because I think you really gave a very comprehensive view of what that grant landscape is. So I'm going to speak of this from the point of view of a business owner, right? And I'm also someone who's in the social enterprise space both as a business owner and also social enterprise. So Stephanie covered a lot of things, but I think for me it's really for any business owner or any organization that's interested in grant, I think there's some overarching things that you should really be thinking about.
Number one, I love that Stephanie talked about grants funding projects, right? Not just products. So if you look at it that way, what it means is that the part of the grant application that talks about your project, pay attention to that. Because what tends to happen from some of the feedback that we've received was for grants that we didn't get, was that there was more focus on speaking about your organization than the project. So remember that the grantors are more interested in that specific project. So pay attention to that.
Another thing is kind of like a fallacy of that grant is free money, right? Unconditional, you just get it and you don't pay back. I think because of that, people are not able to manage their expectations. There's really nothing that's free. So it requires time, investment, and commitment. It requires your sweat equity. You have to do the work and it requires accountability in some cases, right? So understanding that grant landscape of knowing that [inaudible 00:33:39] to identify the grants that are available to do the actual writing, meeting the deadlines. And also report, because sometimes for some grant recipient, it's not even just receiving the grants that's the issue. It's now more the back end of it, the reporting about the grants. So pay attention to that.
And then another thing is, for us, what we found worked for us as an organization is having our own internal process for grant writing, right? Don't do it on an ad hoc basis, "Oh, this is available." You are shooting all cylinders. A lot of times the deadlines are really close and you're trying to meet it. You won't get the best out of that process. Like every other thing, create a system. And I know Stephanie touched on that. But when you create an internal system, you have to determine first, are you going to outsource your grant writing? Or are you going to do it in house, right? Once you make that determination, it then guides how you follow the process.
If you are doing it internally for instance, you have to identify what that process looks like. What is your timeline? At what point, if the grant is due... Say for us internally as a company, if a grant is due at the end of the month, what we make sure is that two weeks ahead of time, that's the internal time that we are using. So that if there's anything that falls through the crack, you have that window of time to make up for it if there are any documents that you need, any of that information that you need to support your application. So give yourself that room.
And then one other thing again, the threshold. Have a decision matrix for the grants that you'll be applying for, because the great thing now is that there's so many grants available just because of the times that we're living in. There's so much out there for recovery, for growth. But if you don't watch it, you're going to also have information overload where there's just so much coming in and you're getting all these alerts and then you are not able to apply for anything. Or you are starting a couple and stopping and not actually putting through the application. So once you develop a decision matrix, it allows you determine the thresholds of grants to apply for and be comfortable with letting go of some, knowing that this doesn't fit what your organization is about, what your goals or what your project, and there's no alignment. So look out for that match for efficiency.
And then one other thing is reach out to your grant fellows and to the funders. If you have questions, ask them. Send an email. Even call if possible if you're able to reach someone. If you need for areas to be clarified, ask those questions ahead of time. Make sure that your application is complete before you submit, right? And then build relationships. There are key things around this post pandemic phase that we're in, where people have to realize that, number one, collaboration is key. So network, belong to different groups where you can get that information flow easily. A lot of times there are some grants that might not be as publicly advertised, so you would know from other people in the community, in the ecosystem. So try to get involved in that, whether it's your chamber of commerce, your city's economic council.
Then the other thing is impact stories. Impact stories are very important. The grantors need that. Your funders want to hear that the project is successful, even just being gracious enough to acknowledge them on your, it could be your newsletter, your annual report, things like that. So make sure that you are building that relationship because for some it's multi-year funding. So you're going for this grant this year, but that same organization is doing the same thing maybe the year after. And if you've done a good job, if you've built that relationship, they know that what your project is sustainable and you've done it well the first time. So they can consider you again.
And then be adaptive. Be very, very adaptive. We're living in unprecedented times, things are in flux, so manage your mental health throughout this process. There's a lot of ups and downs with grant writing. You start out all hopeful and then if, for instance, it's not successful, you have to be able to manage that. Manage your expectations, manage your emotions and focus on what you are learning from the process. So for us as an organization, we embrace grant writing because it teaches us more about our organization, where the gaps are, what our strengths are, right? Even deepening our knowledge about our product, our services, and our storytelling, because storytelling is powerful.
And then finally, I want to also talk about social media just again because of the times that we're living in, right? Other than the fact that there wasn't a lot of socializing being done in person, a lot of marketing, a lot of that kind of moved virtually. So make sure that your company, you are building that social media presence, because a lot of funders and grantors, that's the first thing they're going to look at. It's like your business card, right? It's your elevator speech. They don't see you face to face, but they're going to go check out your website, your social media handles to get a feel of the sort of organization that you are. I don't know how I'm doing for time, Leigh.
Leigh Smout: I think we're all... Well, I'm keeping eye on the clock and we're running out pretty quickly if we want to get to questions. But I mean, this is very excellent information Juliet, so thank you for... But maybe if that's okay with you, this is a good time to stop for now. I think it's really interesting that you identified a few things. The idea that you have not been successful at some and you learned a lot from that, that's a really important thing, right? So now that you're not going to get them every time, there's lots of way more applicants than funds and that's just how it is. So I think that was all a lot of really interesting advice about being targeted, maybe a bit more targeted against what you apply for and making sure that you put a great package together. So that was really good. And the impact.
We have recovery funding from FedDev. We have FedDev funding supporting our Trade Accelerator Program and some other money from ISED. One of the things that I find is really critical is understanding the performance metrics. So what is it you're going to accomplish in your project and therefore with the funds that are supporting it? And then how are you going to be able to measure those and report them? So that measurement in reporting is a really critical ongoing thing if you want to be a good partner and be supported in the future. So really interesting stuff.
One other thing you raised, and I want to come back to Stephanie on this, is that idea of, do I use a grant writer or not? Stephanie, really in particular what's reasonable out of a grant to pay? Can you do a commission out of a grant to pay writers? And so what's reasonable and what's acceptable?
Stephanie Cesar: Thank you, Leigh, for that question. Yes. I know some consultant, they take like a percentage fee on the grant writing, but this is not approved by association and in Canada and everything. But us at Grants Office, how we do it is we have an upfront fee for each grant depending on the length of the grant and the complexity of the grant. So if it's a grant of less than 10 pages, we have a fee for that grant. But if it's a research and development grant where the grant writer will have to be there with the applicant and work and have a lot of research to do on that grant, we have a different fee. So it really varies from grant program to grant program. And this fee is upfront whether at the end your proposal is successful or not.
Leigh Smout: Yeah, so that makes a lot of sense. But for some people who would be thinking, "Well, I'd kind like to not spend the money unless I'm successful. I don't know how I'm going to find whatever thousands of dollars it costs to do it," is that acceptable or not? I'll be so unsure about that.
Stephanie Cesar: Yes. Because I mean, it's a service you pay. You pay the service that you receive because the grant writer at the end of the day, he wrote the proposal.
Leigh Smout: Right.
Stephanie Cesar: So whether your proposal is successful or not, the work was done and the grantor did the job that he had to do and wrote the proposal for you.
Leigh Smout: Oh, okay.
Stephanie Cesar: Yeah.
Leigh Smout: So, yeah. I mean, I totally understand what you're saying. They did the work, they should get paid. But those ones who would offer potentially to do it on a commission on success, that's not really an acceptable practice if I understand.
Stephanie Cesar: Exactly. Mm-hmm.
Leigh Smout: Okay. Okay. Thanks. That's great. That was a question from the audience, so thank you for that. And I want to get to another one. Juliet, maybe we can just quickly pop back to you. I really know we're kind of running out of time so fast here, because there's so much information to share. But for organizations like your own where maybe you're interested in raising public awareness related to compelling social issues, organizing communities and promoting activism and social action and so on, or for women-owned businesses, that sort of thing, are there specific grants or sorts of grants that you think are appropriate or the best to go for?
Juliet Kego Ume...: Yes. Yes. So, great question. There now so many different grants especially for women, because that's a group that's been identified as been underrepresented in terms of grants and funding in general. So quickly, I want to go over some of them. So on the government side, right? The Ministry of Women, if you just go Ministry of Women, they have a specific grant and loan program that's out now. They're dispersing that through different organization, three different organizations. So as far as the government is concerned for equity deserving groups, there's the social... So this is like the social finance bucket, right? So the government of Canada laid out this great plan, about 700 and almost a billion, $755 million that they're putting towards social innovation and social finance. And that's really for charities, not-for-profit, women-owned organizations cooperatives and all other equity deserving groups. So if you go to canada.ca and just search for that, you would find that.
There's also the Investment Readiness Program, again, through the government. This also addresses equity, deserving groups, new immigrants, women, indigenous communities, people with disabilities. And then there's the Canadian Women Foundation is another good one for women. They also have different types of grants that they offer. I wanted to quickly mention something because a lot of times there's the government grants, they're at the corporation and private sector, and of course the foundations. However, when we look at companies, companies are either sole proprietorship, incorporated, the way we look at it in Canada. One group that often gets left out are the cooperatives, right? People are familiar with the social enterprises, charities.
But if you are a cooperative, there are also specific grants that are available to you, right? The Ontario Cooperative Association. There's the Canadian Worker Federation. Also through them, you can get access to funding. So for a lot of people, I think I really want to just emphasize that building collaborative networks is key. Sometimes if you're struggling as a business owner individually, it might even make sense for you to come together with a similar type of business, become cooperative, and then be able to access more resources that you need if it makes sense for your business model. And so if you go online, there are different ways to do that conversion and then get access to the funding that you require.
Leigh Smout: That's really interesting. I'm not familiar with that at all. So something new for us and it's hopefully for many in the audience. So great. Very interesting. Thank you so much for that.
I'm really going to end up having to wrap this up. I'm thinking there's so many good questions that are coming in that maybe we can ask. We can send those questions to our two speakers, our panelists, to provide some written answers and then make it available. Not sure how exactly, but we'll figure that out on through the website or email or to the folks that have attended. But maybe I'll just leave one last question here, Stephanie, because this one's close to my heart since we were in the World Trade Center and we're into international trade. Are there any sort of specific grants available for startup companies especially or early stage companies to market Canadian goods and or services overseas?
Stephanie Cesar: Yes, Leigh, there are. So for example, if you go on the website of the Trade Commissioner Service of Canada, you'll find several programs to help Canadian organization access international opportunities. So for example, there's the CanExport program for small and medium sized businesses. This program will offer funding to help them prepare for, and also establish an international presence. There's also the Canada Organic Trade Association. So their goal is to promote and export Canadian organic product worldwide. So those two programs, the good must have been produced in Canada, but they have programs available. There's other programs that are available, for example, the food sectors and other sectors in Canada. But one way to start is through the Trade Commissioner Service in Canada to find more some grants that are available.
Leigh Smout: Yeah. That's really interesting. We are very familiar with CanExport, but I know there's so much more out there and I think that's what's really important.
Stephanie Cesar: Exactly.
Leigh Smout: So yeah. Thank you so much for that. Some good ideas. Unfortunately, I really regret that we have to call time here, but we got to let people finish. We're already a little over time. Thank you so much both Stephanie and Juliet for... I mean, it's really been insightful, great content. Thank you for taking questions. We'll do our best to get some additional answers out to folks.
One quick thing on the CDAP, the Canada Digital Adoption Program, I think if you go through the intake part of that, which is doing what they call the Digital Needs Assessment, I'm sure you will get something out of just that. Nevermind all the other funds that are available both for grants and loans, because I know that because we developed the Digital Needs Assessments at the World Trade Center, which we ran through our RAP and then licensed to the government for this because they loved it. So I know you'll get a lot out of that. So please get out there folks and do that.
Thanks again to both of you. To register for any upcoming webcast, you can visit supportbusiness.bot.com. There's webinars and videos section you can select. Sadly, I've got to call it today, but thank you so much to everybody. Thank you to Cisco for their support and to all of our other partners that Mary-Anne introduced. My biggest thanks to you, Stephanie and Juliet. And I look forward to, hopefully we can do some of this again later.
Stephanie Cesar: Thanks.
Leigh Smout: So best to everybody out there.
Juliet Kego Ume...: Thank you.
Leigh Smout: Have a great day.
Juliet Kego Ume...: All right. You, too.