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Can I get SRED money for my company? And the 2nd Most Common Question I Get (Other Gov’t Funding)

The most common SRED question I get, without a doubt, is: “Greg, can I get SRED money for my company? How much?”  Strictly speaking, that is two questions right there.

Let me start over.  Say you are a company who just got their first SRED cheque.   You are in a non-traditional SRED vertical: low-tech manufacturing, agriculture, construction, winemaking, etc.  Finally, let us say it was G6 who convinced you to file for SRED in the first place.  Are you with me?  This scenario was quite a bit more work to set up than I was expecting.

You’ve answered the question: Can I get SRED money for my company? Yes! The next common question I get from this customer is “Greg! Why didn’t I claim SRED five years ago?!”  Followed usually by the second most common question (and the topic of this post!):

“What other government programs can I apply to and get money?”

The correct answer, for 99% of companies, is none.

Aren’t there dozens of federal, provincial, and municipal programs and initiatives funding innovation, tech, youth, jobs, green, regional development, eco and whatever its politically correct to call aborigines today? Yes, there are.

Here is my thinking.  20,000 companies get SRED annually.  1% of that is 200.  If we leave out IRAP, which I will cover below, that is probably roughly the number of companies which get funding under the grab bag of government schemes, programs, and initiatives above.

IRAP is a longtime “pure” R&D program run by the feds funding hundreds of start-ups and larger companies annually. I leave it out of this discussion because most IRAP companies are coming out of university or tech incubators or are VC-funded.  In other words, IMO, there are not a lot of companies who could qualify for IRAP which are not aware of it or who are not already enrolled.  IRAP companies can generally also get SRED but that is a separate topic (Call me!)

You are still reading?  Ok, I will run through the government grab bag quickly.  If you want to investigate this stuff, it could be a full-time job.  Do not make it YOUR full-time job.  Do not hire a “consultant”. Designate an employee you do not like or bring on a summer student or intern.  Seriously.

Let us cover three once-big programs that used to pay out lots of incentive money.  First, Ontario Apprenticeship Program.  This program funded many, many manufacturers of all sizes. The definition of apprentice stretched to 100+ categories so it could cover a lot of general labour.  The programs now defunct.  Second, every few years, the ON government funded a manufacturing initiative called SMART which they operated through CME.  It has not run since 2018 and I cannot recommend it when/if it does operate again.  Third, OIDMTC.  This program was at one time so lucrative that it had its own acronym.  Just like SRED.  Fun fact.  Did you know that to be a true acronym, the initials must be pronounced as a word?  Yes.  So, SCUBA’s an acronym and NASA is not.  OIDMTC and SRED are acronyms! (“Wad-mitt-ick” and “Shred”).  Anyway, OIDMTC started out funding “digital media” which morphed into enticing video game companies to locate in a particular province (Go ON, BC and QC!) which changed to…I am not sure what.  The program still exists but it is a zombie, funding little more than its own staff.  Which probably has not changed in size.

What else?  If you are hiring lots of employees or you need a lot of real estate, give your municipal Economic Development Office a call.  Some of these outfits have a reputation of being helpful.  Hamilton, for example.  But I do not have first-hand knowledge.

On the PPP front there is MaRS.  My mom says: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing”.  ddd

Moving up a level of abstraction, you can have your summer student check out FedDev Ontario.  Finally.  A dog’s breakfast of fed initiatives and programs used to be front ended by and are now housed within or repped by Innovation Canada.

As I said quite a few words ago, for 99% of you, it is SRED and get back to work.  Follow these links for detailed discussions on What is SRED qualifying work? and How do I calculate the R&D tax credit?