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Alberta Small Business Grants: How Startups Apply & Qualify

Updated: May 14






Securing funding can be a game-changer for small businesses and startups in a competitive landscape. Unlike loans, you don't need to pay back grants which makes them a highly attractive source of funding for businesses at any stage.


If you’re an Alberta entrepreneur looking to land your first (or second, or even tenth) grant, look no further. We’ve rounded up a list of grants for small business owners and startups in Alberta to help you find funding for your next project.


Where To Find Alberta Small Business Grants


Grants are financial awards given by governments, companies, and foundations to be used for specific purposes aligned with the funder’s goals. Most grants in Alberta are provided by the government and are distributed at the municipal, provincial, or federal level. 

This article will talk about grants applicable only to Alberta residents and small businesses operating in Alberta. For federal grants, please refer to this list of small business grants in Canada.


Alberta Provincial Grants


Hiring and Training


  • The Alberta Self-Employment Program provides formal training and business development assistance to unemployed and underemployed Albertans who want to start a new business.

  • Through the Canada-Alberta Job Grant, the government can cover two-thirds of employee training costs up to a maximum of $10,000 per trainee per fiscal year. 100% of the cost can be covered if hiring and training unemployed Albertans.

  • Workforce Partnerships Grants fund projects that support labour market adjustment strategies and workforce development in Alberta.


Research and Development (R&D)


  • The Innovation Employment Grant covers up to 20% of qualified R&D expenditures in Alberta, regardless of the industry. It is available for SMEs in the early stages of operation and can be claimed when filing your annual corporate tax return.

  • Alberta Innovates offers a wide variety of funding programs across multiple sectors to support the growth and diversity of the Alberta economy.


Among those listed are the Micro Voucher Program for up to $10,000 for developing innovative technological solutions, the Voucher Program for up to $100,000 to accelerate new product commercialization, and the Clean Technology Program for low-carbon economy projects.


International Trade 


  • The Alberta Export Expansion Program supports international trade by funding outbound business travel. Applicants can be reimbursed for accommodation, airfare, trade event registration, and other eligible costs.


Industry-Specific



Grants For Indigenous Small Businesses In Alberta


Indigenous entrepreneurs can apply for grants under the Aboriginal Entrepreneurship Program, which is distributed in Alberta by the following Indigenous Financial Institutions (IFIs):

MEAP and SEAP are non-repayable grants for Status individuals that provide equity assistance for starting or expanding a small business. Both grants can provide up to 30% (maximum of $99,999) of your total project cost.


Alberta Municipal Grants


Calgary, AB 


Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund funds up to 50% of applicants’ budgets for projects that drive innovation and create economic benefits and jobs in the City of Calgary.


Edmonton, AB 


Commercial buildings and businesses can avail of Business Area Improvement Grants to reimburse up to 50% of exterior renovation costs. 


Businesses within a residential neighbourhood may also apply for reimbursement under Corner Store Grants for projects that help improve commercial services for local residents.


Fort Saskatchewan, AB 


The city’s Business Development Incentive Program offers five incentives to accelerate the growth of Fort Saskatchewan-based businesses and to help improve commercial properties. 

This includes the Small Business Equipment and Technology grant which covers up to 50% of eligible costs for assets that increase business efficiency and competitiveness.


Lethbridge, AB


Re-Imagine Downtown Activation Grant supports businesses and organizations in implementing events and programs that activate vacant and underutilized spaces in the downtown area.


Be sure to check out the official website of the town(s) where your small business operates to find more grant opportunities. You can also browse through the federal government’s Business Benefits Finder to filter for your location and industry.


Grant Application Tips for Small Businesses in Alberta


Taking the time to prepare a well-written application increases your chances of getting accepted. Here’s what you should keep in mind throughout the grant application process:

  1. Eligibility: Research beforehand to ensure you meet all criteria, including any restrictions on receiving multiple grants.

  2. Deadlines: While some grants operate on a rolling basis, others have strict application windows. It's always best to apply early!

  3. Details: Provide thorough information and a clear explanation of how you'll use the grant funds.


Conclusion


Small business owners and startups in Alberta can greatly benefit from grants to fund projects and expansion plans. Keep in mind, however, that not all grants cover the full cost of your project—some only cover a percentage of your proposed budget. Be prepared to share your company’s financial information such as financial statements and tax returns during the application process.



Keeping your financial records up-to-date simplifies the process of complying with grant requirements. Online accounting software like ReInvestWealth can streamline your business expenses, freeing up your time so you can focus on what truly matters: building and growing your small business.




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