An abundance of hiring grants are currently available to help SMEs with workforce expansion, according to Grants Ontario, an Innovation Guelph’s Service Pack sponsor. All Service Pack sponsors will be available for advice and information at Innovation Guelph’s first Toolkit Tuesday event July 19.

If you’re an employer looking to hire or train staff in the near future, there may be a government grant program that can help offset your costs.

“This year we have seen a large influx of funding by the federal and provincial governments to support the hiring and training needs of SMEs in the southwestern Ontario region,” says Sal Rahmaty, government funding advisor with Grants Ontario, a company that helps SMEs and other organizations access government grants to accelerate business growth.

Many of these grants reimburse an employer for up to 50 per cent of a new employee’s salary, over a period of three to 12 months, up to a maximum of $20,000. While each grant program has its own eligibility requirements, most of them target companies that fit the following criteria:

  • Hiring a full-time permanent employee by October 1, 2016 
  • Hiring a recent (2 years) post-secondary graduate between 15 and 30 years of age
  • Conducting business in Ontario
  • Incorporated a minimum of 2+ years
  • Financially stable

There are hiring grants for all sectors, but Rahmaty expects the pool of grants allocated to certain sectors to be heavily subscribed and therefore deplete quickly. Those “hot” industries include:

Information technology
Green energy

Service Pack sponsor, Grants Ontario provides IG clients with up to $2,500-worth of services to review their current and future business needs and find applicable grants. “We discuss their projects two to three years out, and assess the fit for them,” Rahmaty explains. “Every business we review is different when it comes to grants that are accessible.” Clients receive a report listing any grants they qualify for. After that point, the client can apply for the grant themselves or hire Grants Ontario to handle the application process, or a mix of the two options.

Grants Ontario and other Service Pack sponsors will be available for questions and advice at Innovation Guelph’s first Toolkit Tuesday lunch event on July 19.

Time is of the essence for these programs, he notes. Companies need to complete their applications quickly and effectively and have candidates lined up for the best chances of success. “Once

[the funding’s] done, it’s done.”Toolkit Tuesdays, which take place the third Tuesday of every month (from 12 noon to 2 p.m.) are open door sessions for all Innovation Guelph clients and prospective clients. Participants will enjoy a complimentary lunch and the opportunity to connect and get advice from all our generous Service Pack sponsors, which also include Miller Thomson Lawyers, Meridian Credit Union, Cowan Insurance and National Research and Development.