Quebec government provides funding support for innovation

Créativité Québec is designed for companies with innovative projects that need funding to acquire new technology or to develop or improve products and processes. If you have an innovative idea that you are ready to launch, this could be an excellent opportunity for you. You are eligible to take part in this program if your company is a ‘for-profit’ entity, and you are manufacturing in Quebec.

In order to qualify for the funding, your project must:

  • Entail expenditures of $500,000 or more to purchase new technology or to develop or improve products and processes;
  • Involve a technologically innovative product or process;
  • Have commercial potential, or improve a process, or aim to implement a new and improved production method;
  • Give your company a clear competitive and technological advantage.
  • The program is administered by Investissement Québec, with the support of the Ministère de l’Économie, de la Science et de l’Innovation.  It provides a loan or a loan guarantee for your company. Financing is available anywhere from $50,000 up to $5,000,000 based on the scale of your project and your needs. You can work with Créativité Québec to develop flexible financing from short-term to long-term financing up to ten years. Repayment of capital can potentially be deferred for up to three years providing your company with the freedom to use your liquidity as you see fit while your project is under way. In certain cases, Créativité Québec offers an equity investment so that you have greater leeway with your new cash inflow.

Financing for every project must include an investment from private sources equivalent to at least 20% of the total project cost, and a loan guarantee can cover up to 70% of any net loss.  Here is the list of documents that you will need to have prepared in order to apply:

  • Business/marketing plan
  • Cash flow projections
  • CV/resume of company primaries/owners/partners
  • Organizational chart
  • Project/research/development plan
  • Recent financial statements (P&L, AR, AP, Balance Sheet)
  • Sales forecast
  • These requirements are not unique to Créativité Québec, in previous columns we discussed the need for professionally developed business/marketing plans, see Funding help begins with a good business plan, August, 2014. In that column I provided a link to the business plan development templates and guidelines that each of the tier 1 financial institutions provide online for your use. You can access these links at http://www.teegerschiller.com/WhatWeDoFS_Business_Plan.htm .

You will need to prepare a business plan that addresses the following topics:

  • Business strategy
  • Marketing strategy
  • Operational plan
  • Cash flow analysis
  • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis
  • Human resource plan
  • Social responsibility plan
  • E-business strategy
  • Financial forecasts and other information
  • Business exit strategy
  • Your plan needs to be optimistic, while at the same time remaining realistic.

As your financial needs are specifically related to an innovation project, you need to also ensure that your experimental development process is well thought out and logical, and that you have the professional resources capable of executing the project.

This program represents an excellent opportunity to fund your innovation project without drawing upon your existing cash resources. Further, as this is considered a loan, not a grant, it does not affect your ability to obtain funding support utilizing other government programs including the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), see the March, 2014 column, or the Scientific Research & Experimental Development program (SR&ED), see the July/August, 2014 column, which are the two largest sources of innovation funding available across Canada.

Créativité Québec anticipates processing an application within two months, once you have fulfilled all of the application requirements. Therefore, if you are poised to innovate, and you need funding help, time is of the essence. Don’t delay. As I’ve said many times before in this column, when dealing with government funding, “The early bird gets the worm.”

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Elliot Schiller is a Director at Toronto’s Teeger Schiller Inc., a firm specializing in government funding and systems selection/implementation. His clients receive over $5 M annually to support ongoing business innovation. E-mail eschiller@teegerschiller.com, visit www.FundingHelp.ca or phone 1-888-816-0222 Ext. 102