Marketing is obviously a crucial component of any business – from marketing research to advertising, most businesses can’t survive without it.
And governments in Canada understand that. Which is why there are dozens of marketing grants, loans, and other types of funding available to businesses in Ontario and across Canada.
In this comprehensive guide, we cover the best marketing grants (and other funding programs) that are available right now.
What Can Marketing Grants Be Used For?
Marketing grants can be used to pay for many aspects of starting or running a business. Here are some of the uses that are covered by programs in our grants database:
See the section below with a complete list of business grants available for marketing.
How Much Grant Money Can I Get for Marketing My Business?
In our database we currently have marketing grants ranging from $5,000 to $5,000,000.
Am I Eligible for a Marketing Grant? Common Eligibility Criteria
Two of the most common questions we get asked at Ontario Business Grants are “Am I eligible?” and “How do I qualify?”.
We analyzed the marketing grants in our grants database, and these are the most common qualifications we identified:
Note: these are just the most common eligibility criteria – there are many grants with different requirements.
Marketing Grants for Ontario: Current Grants Available
In the table below we list the marketing grants currently available to Ontario businesses.
To learn more about each program, just click the program name and you’ll be taken to a web page that provides detailed information on the program, including eligibility, the dollar amount of the program, and how to apply for the grant:
Marketing Grants for Ontario Businesses
Other Types of Marketing Funding for Ontario Businesses
Our goal is for this guide to be a complete source of marketing funding information for Ontario businesses. So, in this section you’ll find all the other money programs for marketing (besides grants) that are available to Ontario entrepreneurs:
Marketing Loans for Ontario Businesses
A loan might not sound as good as a grant, but many marketing loans for businesses have a low interest rate. While they might not be free money, if you don’t qualify for a grant, a low-interest loan is probably the next best thing.
The programs below include government loans:
Government Marketing Loans for Ontario Businesses
A tax credit reduces the tax that a business pays on its taxable income.
Here are some marketing tax credits available for Ontario businesses:
Marketing Tax Credits for Ontario Businesses
|Name of Program||Amount||Type|
|Ontario Creates and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – Ontario Book Publishing Tax Credit (2022)||$30000||Tax Credit|
|Ontario Creates and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit||No Fixed Amount||Tax Credit|
In-kind support refers to non-cash resources provided to support businesses. In kind-support can take various forms: access to coaching, mentorship, investors, logistical and technical resources (space, equipment, computers, internet and software, free testbed), training programs, business advice and counseling. Entrepreneurship centres, accelerators and incubators provide valuable in-kind support to new and existing entrepreneurs.
Marketing In-Kind Support for Ontario Entrepreneurs
|Name of Program||Amount||Type|
|WomensNet's Amber Grant Foundation -Marketing Grant||no fixed amount||Grant, In-Kind Support|
|Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre (NOIC) (formerly NWOIC) – Kenora and Rainy River District Business Accelerator Fund||$5000||Investment|
Best Marketing Business Grants, Loans & More
While there are lots of good programs available, below we highlight some of the best marketing grants, loans, tax credits & more for Ontario businesses:
Best Government Marketing Grants for Ontario Businesses
Canada Council for the Arts – Representation and Promotion Component of Arts Abroad
The Representation and Promotion component of Arts Abroad provides grants for registered or incorporated Canadian arts organizations to represent Canadian artists and develop their presence internationally, and establish a place for Canadian arts practice in the global arts market. Grants are also available to foreign arts organizations that invite Canadian artists to present artistic works and to Canadian arts organizations that bring international buyers to Canada.
Canada Council for the Arts – Representation and Promotion Component of Arts Across Canada
The Representation and Promotion component of Arts Across Canada provides grants to Canadian registered or incorporated arts organizations that represent Canadian artists and regularly seek out new opportunities in the Canadian arts market.
Canadian Heritage – Support for Publishers: Publishing Support – Canada Book Fund
Only Canadian book publishers can take advantage of this one, though you can be for-profit, nonprofit, or a university press.
Funding from this program is designed to help you produce, market, and distribute Canadian-written books. You can even apply for extra funding if your export sales qualify you for it.
Could you use up to 75% of your expenses covered? Or 90% of your expenses for official-language minority publishers, Indigenous publishers, or small literary publishers? And how about 100% of your expenses if you’re a nonprofit?
Since the answer is most likely yes, then apply now by filling out the application form and emailing it or bringing it to the program in person along with your supporting documents.
Global Affairs Canada – CanExport SMEs
Is increasing your international market opportunities on your wish list this year? Does it seem like expanding your export capacity is just too daunting?
If you’re a Canadian SME with an exportation project in mind, then you’re in luck. This is the program for you.
If you’re an LLP or are incorporated, have a CRA business number, less than 500 full-time employees, and claimed between $100,000 and $100 million in revenue last year, get your application in for this program.
You could get funding of up to 50% of eligible costs for $10,000 to $50,000 in funding per project. The applicant is responsible for the remaining 50% of eligible project costs (in-kind contributions are not permitted)
There are plenty of costs associated with international market development that are deemed eligible, such as travel, expert advice, market research, and taking part in trade fairs, so give this program a shot.
Telefilm Canada – International Promotion Program
This program, formerly the Participation in international festivals and events support program, offers financial support to Canadian producers, distributors, and sales with projects officially selected at an international festival, as well as producers invited to an international coproduction forum and to present a project as part of one of its international initiatives.
The Program reflects Telefilm’s priority of supporting the Canadian film industry to achieve new levels of success by supporting the marketing and promotion of Canadian content and talent abroad.
Ontario Creates – Interactive Digital Media (IDM) Fund – Discoverability and Commercialization Program
The Discoverability and Commercialization Program replaces the Marketing Support program. The program is designed to increase the visibility and financial viability of projects that receive Production support through the IDM Fund.
The Discoverability and Commercialization program is open to IDM Fund Production recipients for activities that take place during and/or after a product is made publicly available to an audience.
Ontario Creates – Film Fund – Marketing and Distribution Initiative (MDI)
The Marketing and Distribution Initiative (MDI) is intended to assist producers of Ontario Creates Film Fund supported projects to make a meaningful contribution to the domestic marketing and distribution of their projects leading up to and during their commercial release.
Best Government Marketing Loans for Ontario Businesses
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) – Start-up Financing
Business Development Canada should be the first place you go to for start-up financing because that’s what they do: invest in businesses.
You’ll get better financing terms and more flexible terms, and they’re more likely to take a risk on you where a traditional lender quite often won’t. You can use the funds from this one to supplement your line of credit, to pay start-up fees, to pay for marketing, to buy assets, and more.
Those better terms include more time to pay your loan back, the option to postpone capital payments at the beginning of your loan, and the option to pay it back early without penalty if you can.
To qualify, you only have to be bringing in revenue for less than 12 months, have a good credit history and a solid business plan, be of the age of majority, make a reasonable financial investment in your newly established business, have experience or expertise in your field and a competent management team, show realistic market and sales potential, and show you have the key personality markers of a successful entrepreneur. That’s all!
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) – Working Capital Financing
The Working Capital Loan helps Canadian businesses complement other lines of credit, launch growth projects (expand into new markets, develop new products, protect intellectual property, launch a marketing campaign) and improve profitability (pay suppliers upfront to get special discounts, obtain certification, train employees).
Best Marketing Tax Credits for Ontario Businesses
Ontario Creates and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (OIDMTC)
This program is super simple and straightforward. If your Ontario-based corporation created an interactive digital media product, you could claim 40% of your eligible Ontario expenses on your corporate tax return if you developed and marketed your own product.
Otherwise, you could claim 35% if you had a fee-for-service arrangement. Even digital game corporations can claim 35%.
The lists of eligible expenditures and projects aren’t quite so succinct though, so read through carefully to see what qualifies and what doesn’t. Once you’ve made it through, though, and determined what you can claim, just ask Ontario Creates for a certificate of eligibility. Then you can file it with your corporate tax return for that year.
Ontario Creates and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – Ontario Book Publishing Tax Credit (OBPTC)
Book publishers in Ontario can find themselves with a 30% tax credit for all the eligible expenses included with publishing qualifying literary works in that tax year up to a maximum of $30,000 per work.
For a publishing company to qualify for this program, you must be a Canadian-controlled corporation, run a book publishing business primarily in Ontario, not be exempt from tax under Part III of the Taxation Act, 2007 (Ontario), and not be controlled by the author of the literary work or by a person not dealing at arm’s length with the author.
Best Non-profit Marketing Grants for Ontario Businesses
Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) – Radio Starmaker Fund
The Radio Starmaker Fund supports emerging artists with star potential from every region of Canada. The aim is to allocate funding in such a way that it has a direct impact on artists and supports their marketing and touring initiatives both in Canada and abroad in a way that will make a difference.
FACTOR – Comprehensive Music Company – Marketing
All Comprehensive Music Company Sound Recording component applications must include the creation or licensing of a new, previously unreleased qualifying album. The Marketing component funding supports a range of activities in the marketing and promotion of a qualifying album.
Livres Canada Books – Foreign Rights Marketing Assistance Program (FRMAP)
The Foreign Rights Marketing Assistance Program (FRMAP) fosters Canadian publishers’ export sales by providing cost-shared funding for export sales trips and participation in international book fairs and trade events.
Musicaction – International Marketing: Exploration of a Target Market
The Exploration of a Target Market component supports activities aimed, on the one hand, at the development and adaptation of artists on a target market, and on the other hand, at their travel to a targeted territory for the presentation of a show in front of foreign professionals or a performance tour, at least one performance of which takes place in front of professionals, with the aim of helping them to better integrate.
Best Non-profit Marketing Loans for Ontario Businesses
Nord-Aski Regional Economic Development Corporation (Nord-Aski REDC) – Small Business Loan Products: Ready Cash
Nord-Aski REDC provides loans of up to $750,000 to area businesses who contribute to the creation and/or maintenance of long term employment in the communities it serves.
Their Small Business Loan Products are:
Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation (Wakenagun CFDC) – Wakenagun CFDC’s Investment Fund – Business Enhancement Loan
Wakenagun CFDC’s Investment Fund – Business Enhancement Loan provides funding to businesses for marketing initiatives, promotional items, attendance at trade shows, staff training and certifications.
Best Marketing Accelerator for Ontario Entrepreneurs
Have a look at the accelerator program below! It provides both in-kind support and grant money.
NORCAT – Innovation Acceleration Program (IAP)
If you’re looking for help in developing and commercializing an innovative product, service, or process that could increase sales and employment, and you’re a growth-oriented for-profit business registered as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation located within NORCAT Innovation’s service area, you could be eligible to receive funding through NORCAT’s Innovation Acceleration Program (IAP).
As a registered NORCAT Innovation client, this program is designed to support early-stage technology startups in the City of Greater Sudbury and promote economic prosperity in the region. You could receive up to 50% of approved total eligible project costs or up to $10,000 per SME, whichever is less, in any given fiscal year.
The program offers funding for a range of eligible projects, including sales and marketing, such as trade show exhibiting and travel, sales training, test marketing, e-commerce and promotions, and export market development.