Information on legal and business topics from Canadian business lawyer Shane McLean

It’s your money, why not grab it?

Posted by Shane McLean on April 27, 2009

Ok so it’s not all your money, but April tends to make us think about just how much of our money the government actually takes.  So, since the government has a lot of your money why not tap the government as a source of funding for your startup?  This is a favourite topic of mine and I’m starting to see more and more written about the different sources of government funding.  

The Ontario Government for example has been busy announcing the establishment of venture-like funds (for example the $205M Ontario Venture Capital Fund and the $250M Emerging Technologies Fund).  Both funds have the Ontario Government funding or working with established venture capitalist firms to put the money to work (I am encouraged to see that the government seems to understand that it is not equipped to make the investment decisions and is leaving that in the hands of professionals).  The OVCF has been slow to start rolling out money (my friends at Wellington Financial have been busily blogging about the slow roll out for the last couple months.  See here, here,  here,  here, here and here.  I told you they have been busy.).  I hope it’s a case of better late than never.   The Emerging Technologies Fund won’t start investing until at least this summer.  

At a Federal level, I understand that IRAP has (or maybe by now “had” is more accurate) a new pot of money and everyone is excited about IRAP funding again.   The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is another Federal agency that has been active in Atlantic Canada.

In an earlier post I talked about the fact that the Ontario Government will actually send someone to meet with you to discuss your company, your goals and your needs and then work with you to try and figure out what grants, loans or other programs offered by the Ontario Government might fit.  OCRI has an event scheduled for May 5 in Ottawa called “A Treasure Map to the Myriad of Federal and Ontario Government Funding and Financing Programs” (see here for details).  The agenda and speakers look good so it will hopefully be an informative event.  I plan to attend and hope to see you there.

Government money can be tedious to get your hands on, but filling out forms and dealing with Government bureaucrats can’t be any more tedious than making pitch after pitch to a gazillion venture capitalists. If you need to, you can go after the government funding prior to or in parallel with your VC pitch.  Another plus is that government money is often non-dilutive to shareholders and both founders and VCs love it when they can leverage growth off of  non-dilutive money.


One Response to “It’s your money, why not grab it?”

  1. mel0818 said

    Indeed, it’s your money. Just fill up the form and spend some of your time to get that money. The government should help you anyways. Thanks for this information. This site could also be helpful.

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