The 2013 Economic Action Plan proposed $920M in funding over the next five years to help small and mid-sized companies grow. There are many programs available, and many of them aimed squarely at helping companies improve their marketing efforts. But as many executives know, they aren’t always easy to access.
Here are a few of the programs our clients have used over the last year to enhance their marketing. If you have questions about any specific program, ask us.
$50K: Finance Market Research, Development of a Marketing Strategy and New Branding
The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) supports SMEs through up to $50,000 for various marketing projects. This grant covers 80% of direct labour and 50% of sub-contractors fees.
A number of our clients have used this program over the last year to conduct vital market research on buyer behaviour. This has helped them identify their ideal target market and the messaging and channels they should use to attract new customers. They also use the results of the research as marketing content – it’s very rich and valuable to target prospects, which enables them to generate leads.
$30K: Export Market Access
Funding for international ventures is available through FedDev’s Export Market Access (EMA) fund. SME’s can bolster their global expansion efforts through grants that cover 50% of eligible expenses up to a max of $30k. Eligible costs include:
- Marketing brochures, sell sheets, pre & post show mailers
- Trade shows and related exhibition costs, display panels, banners
- Translation and freight
- Flights and per diem allowance for meals/lodging
- Industry Market or competitive research
We’ve had a few clients successful secure this grant. The application is a bit of a doozy – if you’re considering it, we can help.
$30K: Research and Commercialization Expertise
Through the Colleges Ontario Network Industry Innovation (CONII) the Ministry of Research and Innovation helps SME’s by connecting them with research and commercialization experts in a network of 20 Ontario Colleges. Projects such as marketing strategies and market research may receive funding up to $30K. CONII typically responds to funding requests within two week.
$16K: Online Marketing
With the growing importance of digital marketing, many companies have team members dedicated solely to online marketing. The CareerConnect Program is a wage subsidy that assists SME’s by offsetting the cost of hiring 1 or 2 recent grads to fill Online Marketing, Graphic Web Design, and E-Commerce roles (among others). The grant provides up to $16,000 or 50% of wages per graduate hired.
$75K: Access New Markets and Finance Global Expansion*
Expand into new markets with CME SMART Prosperity Now assistance program and receive up to $75,000 to improve global expansion efforts through: Operational Efficiency Improvements, Global Expansion Activities and/or Marketing Expenditures.
*This program is currently on a break but the CME expects to re-open it in April.
Many of our clients are seeing the shift in government policy, away from research (slightly) and towards commercialization. We are fans of this policy – we’ve seen too many companies that have invested heavily in R&D only to have too little left after the process to successfully bridge the next critical step – bringing the new products to market.
If you have any questions about these programs and whether you can use them for your marketing, contact us, your IRAP ITA or Ministry rep (or we can point you to one).