The 14 Best Small Business Grants in Alberta

By Yuri Sychov | Published on 26 Jul 2023

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    Securing the appropriate funding can be a difficult task for many small businesses. While small business loans are a great option to get additional financial resources for your business, you will have to repay them sooner or later.

    Fortunately, small businesses registered in Alberta have access to an abundance of grant programs aimed at encouraging growth and innovation while boosting economic development in the province. Additionally, some of these grant programs come with additional benefits, such as mentoring and training, which will help your small business to become stable and profitable. In this article, we will explore the best small business grants in Alberta, the eligibility criteria for each, and the value they provide.

    1. Alberta Innovates Voucher and Micro-Voucher Programs

    This is the first grant program in our list available for small and medium businesses in Alberta. This province rapidly becomes a global IT hub, with over 3,000 IT companies registered there. Alberta Innovates Voucher and Micro-Voucher Programs, funded by the Alberta Innovates organization, are designed to empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Alberta, helping them find innovative solutions for business problems.

    These programs encourage the development of new technology or creative services that bring tangible financial benefits to the province through economic growth, social progress, or environmental gains. Up to $10K-$100K is available based on businesses’ needs. Alberta Innovates has many grant programs funding innovative technologies, green energy, and research and development. So make sure to check all the grant programs available on their website.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    The Micro-Voucher Program — Registered in Alberta, fewer than 500 full-time employees, and less than $50,000,000 in annual gross revenue, you must pay 25% of the total project cost, and the project must be completed in 6 months. You can get funding for a novel technology. For the full list of eligibility criteria, check the Alberta Innovates Micro-Voucher Program page.

    The Voucher Program — Corporation or partnership registered in Alberta, fewer than 500 full-time employees, and less than $50,000,000 in annual gross revenue, you must pay 25% of the total project cost. You can get funding for a novel technology. For the full list of eligibility criteria, check the Alberta Innovates Voucher Program page.
    The Micro-Voucher Program — up to $10,000, covering up to 75% of the project cost.

    The Voucher Program — up to $100,000 covering up to 75% of the project cost.,

    2. Canada-Alberta Job Grant

    The Canada-Alberta Job Grant (CAJG) is an employer-driven small business grant in Alberta that seeks to help small and medium businesses grow. It does so by providing the resources necessary for employers to invest in training their current or future employees, thus developing skills essential for economic development. In other words, this initiative encourages growth by fostering employee education.

    By training employees, you can get a so-much-needed competitive advantage and grow your small business in Alberta at an unprecedented rate. Most importantly, the eligibility criteria of this program are not strict, and the funding you can receive is quite generous.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    The grant is available for private-sector employers, including partnerships and sole proprietorships. You must have a current or potential workforce that requires training. You can check the complete list of eligibility criteria on the program’s website.75% of training costs are covered by up to $10,000 per trainee per fiscal year (if a current employee), and 100% of training costs are covered by up to $15,000 per fiscal year (if hiring and training unemployed Albertian). Up to $300,000 is available for employers per year.

    3. Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) — Youth Employment Program

    The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) – Youth Employment Program (YEP), offered by the National Research Council of Canada, is an essential lifeline for small businesses in Alberta and nationwide. This program seeks to promote growth and development through financial aid that helps SMEs attract talented young people. In other words, it offers a unique opportunity for these enterprises to cover a portion of a young graduate’s salary.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    SMEs with 500 or fewer full-time employees, must be incorporated and for-profit, the internship must last from 6 months to 12 months. Check the NRC IRAP page for the complete list of eligibility criteria.You can receive up to $30,000 in funding for each graduate (up to 2 graduates in total)

    4. The Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) by Magnet

    This is another funding program helping new businesses to hire young talents by covering a portion of their salary. This small business grant is available in Alberta as well as in other provinces in Canada. The Magnet Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) is designed to bridge the gap between employers, students, and post-secondary institutions.

    Its purpose? To provide quality work-integrated learning opportunities for both sides – enabling businesses to invest in their employees’ skillset while giving scholars a chance to gain real-world experience within their field of study.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    Registered Canadian businesses willing to provide Canadian post-secondary students with a work-integrated learning experience. This grant can be combined with provincial grants. The complete list of eligibility criteria is available on the SWPP website.SWPP covers up 50% of the wage for each new placement (up to $5,000), and 70% of the wage for underrepresented groups (up to $7,000).

    5. Alberta Export Expansion Program

    The Alberta Export Expansion Program (AEEP) is a great opportunity for export-ready companies and non-profit organizations to broaden their access to international markets. By providing funding, this small business grant in Alberta helps SMEs, municipalities, Indigenous communities, industry associations, and economic development organizations in the province of Alberta expand their reach by travelling abroad or inviting global buyers to visit them locally. This initiative seeks to support Albertan businesses and enable them to grow into new markets to extend their customer base.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    SMEs registered in Alberta, $50,000 to $25 million in annual sales, at least 1 full-time employee but less than 500 employees, must be incorporated. The full list of eligibility criteria is available on The AEEP website.AEEP covers 50% up to $25,000 per year costs associated with outbound travel expenses and incoming delegation expenses.

    6. Status Entrepreneur Assistance Program (SEAP)

    The Status Entrepreneur Assistance Program (SEAP) is an equity-based initiative providing financial support to Status individuals in their efforts to start up or expand small businesses. SEAP offers non-repayable grants that can help reduce the need for borrowing from financial institutions — a huge relief when starting out on your own. This program aims to empower Aboriginal firms by giving them access to opportunities across regional, national, and international economies — creating pathways toward growth and success.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    Available for Status individuals only, residents of Alberta, who have 6-12 months of experience in the industry and want to start a business, a business must generate at least $20,000 annually. For the full list of eligibility criteria, check the SEAP website.The grant covers up to 30% of project costs ($99,999 maximum)

    7. Mitacs Accelerate and Elevate Programs

    Mitacs, a Canadian non-profit organization that is dedicated to cultivating innovative solutions in partnership with academia, industry, and the wider world, has two distinct programs which may be of particular interest to SMEs in Alberta. The Mitacs Accelerate program is an initiative that links companies with graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, allowing them to utilize their specialist knowledge to address business research challenges. The Mitacs Elevate program is a postdoctoral fellowship that offers fellows an opportunity to explore solutions for complex challenges through a two-year research project with partner organizations and equips them with the unique skillset necessary for professional development.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    Corporations (not-for-profit and for-profit), municipalities, and hospitals located in Canada, no more than 50% of their revenue can come from government sources. For a full list of eligibility criteria, check The Mitacs Accelerate program and The Mitacs Elevate program pages.Up to 55% of your research project costs will be funded by these grant programs.

    Mitacs Accelerate — Get $15,000 for your research for each $7,500 invested

    Mitacs Elevate — You can get up to $60,000 in research funds each year, and you have to invest at least $30,000.

    8. Goodpsark Grants from Desjardins

    Not only does Desjardins issue business credit cards and provide business banking services and business bank accounts in Canada, but it also funds small businesses with grants through the GoodSpark program. Through this initiative, these enterprises can apply for a grant that will enable them to carry out projects focusing on sustainable development, employment generation, innovation, and community impact in their local area. Each year, Desjardins distributes $3 million in grants to small businesses, including those located in Alberta.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    Businesses need to have been locally owned and operated for at least one year and employ between 1-50 people. A project should focus on sustainability or demonstrate innovation with an emphasis on job creation or community impact. Only 150 grants per year are distributed. Check the GoodSpark program rules for all the details. $20,000

    9. Alberta Workforce Partnerships grants

    Workforce Partnership grants offer financial assistance to employers, industry and sector associations, regional organizations, and Indigenous organizations in order to implement labour market adjustment strategies that facilitate workforce development. Through such initiatives, they seek to draw new talent into the job market while retaining existing workers through collaboration between parties. Such activities can include researching & analyzing labour trends, creating a strategic plan for future skills requirements, raising awareness of skill shortages or other pertinent issues within the labour force, and sharing best practices related to human resource management and career/employment training.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    For-profit and not-for-profit businesses, professional associations, employer and employee organizations in Alberta. Check the Workforce Partnership program guidelines for the full list of eligibility criteria.Grants vary in size, but usually, they are up to $100,000 for a project. There are also $250,000+ grants available (they require stricter financial reporting on how the grant was used)

    10. Alberta Made Production Grant

    The Alberta Made Production Grant (AMPG) provides a great opportunity for small producers in the province to gain financial support while fostering employment opportunities for both emerging and established professionals. This grant program can benefit small businesses in Alberta looking to grow. So if you are producing something in this province, this is one of the most suitable small business grants in Alberta for you.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    Available for small Alberta producers with a minimum eligible Alberta spend of $50,000 and a total production budget of less than $499,000. Check the AMPG guidelines for more details.25% of eligible Alberta production costs, up to $125,000

    11. Futurpreneur RBC Rock My Business Start-up Awards

    The RBC Rock My Business Start-up Awards, a collaboration between Futurpreneur and RBC, is designed to help ambitious young entrepreneurs across Canada, including those in Alberta, take their first steps toward success. Each year these awards are presented to diverse individuals looking to start their own businesses. In addition to grants, Futurpreneur offers small business loans and helpful business resources that will make your entrepreneurial journey smoother.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    Available for Canadian residents and citizens 18-39 years of age, complete both the Rock My Business Plan and Rock My Cash Flow workshops, and submit your business plan and cash flow statement for review. For additional information, consult the RBC Rock My Business Start-up Awards page.8 awards of $10,000 each year for young entrepreneurs.

    12. Innovation Employment Grant Alberta

    The Innovation Employment Grant aims to foster economic prosperity by incentivizing small and medium-sized businesses that invest in research and development (R&D). This program is designed to boost investment, diversification, and growth across Alberta. This grant covers any R&D spending regardless of the industry, making it suitable for many small businesses.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    Corporations undertaking R&D in Alberta, $50 million or less in taxable income, eligible expenditures must match those qualifying for the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program.Covers up to 20% of qualifying R&D costs ($4,000,000 maximum per year)

    13. Grants from Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP)

    The Canadian government is taking proactive measures to help small and medium-sized businesses stay ahead of the game by offering a generous $4 billion through its Digital Adoption Program (CDAP). With this initiative, companies can get financial support to integrate digital technologies into their businesses and make them more competitive. There are 2 grants which small business owners in Alberta can use for the digital transformation of their businesses — Grow Your Business Online grant and Boost Your Business Technology grant.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    Businesses with more than $30,000, having at least 1 employee, selling goods and services. For the complete eligibility criteria list, check the CDAP page.The Grow Your Business Online — covers 20% of costs (up to $2,400) for developing or improving an e-commerce platform for your business.

    The Boost Your Business Technology — covers professional advice on the digital transformation of your business from an expert digital advisor (up to $15,000). The program also provides up to $100,000 in interest-free small business loans for digital transformation.

    14. Canada Summer Jobs Grant

    The Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program is part of the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, designed to offer comprehensive support for all young Canadians as they develop their skillsets and gain paid work experience to help them transition into the labour market. This program provides wage subsidies to employers with 50 or fewer full-time employees to provide quality summer job opportunities for youth aged 15 to 30.

    Eligibility CriteriaFunding Provided
    For-profit private sector businesses, less than 50 full-time employees, employing for summer jobs for a period of 6-16 weeks. You can check the complete list of eligibility criteria at the CSJ website.Compensation of up to 50% of the minimum territorial or provincial wage.

    New small business grants in Alberta emerge every year, so be sure to check small business resources page for all the provincial grants available and the Alberta Innovates website. Also, plenty of municipal small business grants exist in Calgary, Edmonton, and other cities. So, don’t forget to check the funding opportunities your municipal government provides.

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    Yuri holds two Master’s degrees, one in geology and one in international law, and has run successful businesses, but several years ago, he changed careers to use his talents as a professional writer. Yuri writes on business and financial topics, including personal finance, business strategy, investment, and financial planning. Yuri uses Wise for payments to take advantage of the secure, fast, and efficient service it provides.