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Guide to Small Business Grants in PEI

This PEI grants guide will explore the various available PEI business grants and PEI government grants, including third-party funding like Innovation PEI grants.

For more on Canada business grants, read up on our provincial grants guides.

Applying for PEI Grants

PEI government grants and third-party business support programs offer funding in a few different ways. If you secure financial assistance, funding might come in the form of a non-repayable sum, a reimbursement, temporary support, a repayable financial contribution toward business expenses, a repayable loan, a tax break, or a tax credit.

In any of these cases, you must first apply for financial support before you can receive assistance. The application process will assess how well the business or business project fits within the grant guidelines, and what kind of standing the business is in. For that reason, application forms must be filled in and supporting documents must be submitted. Such documents might include, but are not limited to:

Financial documentation of the business illustrating their annual revenue and its’ current financial health

Supporting material for industry or grant-specific requirements, i.e. how the proposed project or business will affect the current industry, does it fill any gaps in the province or wider market, or create new opportunities for PEI residents?

  • Business licenses and registrations, whether provincial or industry-related
  • Business banking information
  • Project plan outlining scope, timeline, budget, proposed activities and costs that are eligible for funding
  • Examples of your work if you are a professional artist
  • Materials surrounding any other funding the business has received from the government or other entity such as Innovation PEI

What Prince Edward Island Businesses Are Eligible for Small Business Grants and Financial Assistance?

When applying for PEI grants for small businesses, there'll be certain criteria that applicants must have in order to successfully qualify for funding. In many cases, PEI government grants and business support funding can be secured by small and medium enterprises within the province. Depending on the grant requirements, applicants can be the owner of a for-profit business, or in some cases a non-profit organization.

It is essential to check the program criteria to ensure the right Prince Edward Island businesses are applying to the appropriate programs. Grants are sometimes divided into funding for established businesses or start-up financing for companies just starting out.

Arts and Digital Media Industry Grants

Arts Grant Funding

What is it?

Innovation PEI manages this Arts grant funding, which includes three programs meant to support Prince Edward Island’s small businesses within the cultural and arts industry. These three Innovation PEI grants are as follows.

Creation Grant: This program provides funding support for professional PEI artists in their pursuit and creation in the art industry, including dance, crafts, interdisciplinary arts, film and media, music, theatre, visual arts, and writing and publishing. Funding will cover approved expenses like living expenses, and direct project costs, such as material and supplies, research, documentation, and equipment rentals.

Dissemination Grant: This program will fund professional artists in their aims to publicly present their artistic works to the wider public as a means to promote appreciation for the PEI art industry. Art projects that are eligible for funding include ​​tours, presentations, performances, exhibitions, screenings, web presentations of original artworks, limited reproductions, and publishing. Funding will cover approved expenses such as travel expenses, shipping and freight costs, professional fees, framing and reproduction costs, installation costs, facility and equipment rentals.

Professional Development Grant: This program supports the professional development of Prince Edward Island artists and their careers in the interdisciplinary arts, dance, crafts, film and media, music, theatre, visual arts, and writing and publishing. Financial assistance is given to support the career and skill development of artists, therefore eligible expenses include program costs, materials and supplies, and travel expenses.

In all three programs, funding cannot cover the capital costs of the proposed projects.

How much is awarded?

Funding for the creation grant is split into two streams. The first is for funding support for established professional artists with a maximum contribution of $8,000 a year. The second is support for emerging professional artists amounting to a maximum contribution of $5,000.

The dissemination grant is also split between professional artists, who can receive up to a maximum annual contribution of $2,500, and emerging professional artists who can receive up to a maximum of $2,000 in a year.

The professional development grant is split into three streams: established professional artists can receive a maximum annual contribution of $2500, emerging professional artists can receive up to $2,000, and amateur artists can receive up to $1,000. In all cases, this program focuses on providing a financial contribution toward eligible expenses covering their artistic needs.

Who can apply?

Eligible parties must have a PEI address as their primary residents for at least 12 consecutive months prior to submitting an arts grant application. Applicants can be either individuals or small groups/ bands. At the same time, the applicant must also have a professional status as an artist to apply for the creation grant or the dissemination grant.

To be considered a professional artist, you must meet three or more of the below criteria in relation to your artist career:

  • Receive compensation as personal or business income
  • Presented your work to the public
  • Receive reviews or appraisals from the public
  • Have a membership in a professional or industry-related association, including guilds
  • Have undertaken formal education or training from recognized institutions
  • Devotes a reasonable amount of time creating and distributing work

However, for the professional development grant, established and emerging professional artists, as well as amateur level artists, are welcome to apply.

Organizations aren't eligible for financial support under this grant program.

How to apply?

To apply for the creation grant, dissemination grant, or professional development grant, you can start the application process online.

Funding typically takes place twice a year.

Accelerator Partnership Program (A2P)

What is it?

The Accelerator Partnership Program (A2P) organized by the Canada Media Fund, is aimed at supporting producers of digital media projects to allow them access to mentorships, markets, and capital. Successful applicants will connect with established Canadian and foreign accelerators to help them with their development.

Accelerators will select applicants that they wish to work with based on their relativity to the industry and market sector, as well as other criteria.

A list of approved accelerators can be found here.

How much is awarded?

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) provides successful applicants with a maximum contribution of up to $30,000 paid in the form of a non-repayable contribution directly to the applicant.

The applicant will also be connected with a fitting accelerator. As part of the program, both parties will enter into an agreement over the acceleration program of the applicant’s funded project. This includes mentorship and training provided by the accelerator. In turn, the accelerator may take an equity position in the applicant’s company or project.

Who can apply?

In order to be eligible for the accelerator program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

Accelerators can select up to two projects per fiscal year to support.

How to apply?

To apply for this grant, individuals must first register online and create a Dialogue account. Once created, use the portal to submit all the necessary information.

The program operates on a first-come, first-served basis.

Technology Advancement and Business Expansion Grants

Capital Acquisition Assistance

What is it?

The Capital Acquisition Assistance program managed by Innovation PEI aims to support PEI businesses focused on investing in technology, equipment, and the infrastructure needed to expand their business and improve competitiveness.

Businesses will be evaluated on a number of factors, including the project’s potential for long-term viability, its export sales, import substitutions, economic benefit to PEI, environmental impact, employment creation, and level of assistance given from other government programs.

How much is awarded?

This Innovation PEI grant awards a maximum contribution of $25,000 for assistance within a fiscal year. These funds are meant to cover up to 25% of eligible expenses. Eligible costs include capital acquisitions such as machinery or equipment, renovations or improvements related to the establishment of a new business, or the expansion of an existing business.

Who can apply?

Small and medium businesses eligible for capital assistance funding must check all of the following criteria:

  • Located in Prince Edward Island
  • Have the proper business registration to operate within the province
  • Manufactures, processes, or develops goods or services primarily for export
  • Operates within one of the following industries: bioscience, aerospace and defence, advanced manufacturing and processing, renewable energy and clean technology, information and communication technology, or the creative and cultural sectors

Businesses that have defaulted or have an outstanding debt obligation on file with the province won't be eligible for funding.

How to apply?

For businesses to apply, they must first speak with an​ Innovation PEI Business Development Officer to determine the suitability of the grant and other streams of funding. Then you can start the process online.

Small Business Investment Grant

What is it?

The Small Business Investment Grant aims to support small and medium businesses within PEI to improve efficiencies and innovation and is managed by Innovation PEI. Eligible capital costs partially covered by this grant include equipment, building construction, technology upgrades, and energy efficiency upgrades.

How much is awarded?

Funding takes the form of a non-repayable financial contribution towards the acquisition of eligible capital asset costs. This contribution is meant to cover 15% of the actual eligible costs with a maximum grant of $3,750.

Only one application will be accepted for this grant per fiscal year (April 1 – March 31).

Who can apply?

Eligible applicants of this small business grant must have the following:

  • The business must be located in and actively operates within Prince Edward Island
  • The business must have the appropriate registrations and licenses to work within the province
  • The business must be the applicant’s primary income source or employe at least one employee

Businesses cannot be fishers, farmers, realty companies, or banks and financial companies.

How to apply?

Innovation PEI suggests businesses discuss their funding options with one of their Development officers before applying for the investment grant online. Complete applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis.

It's important to note that applications must be submitted in the year that the eligible capital asset(s) are purchased. The applicant must online a list of all of the capital assets the business has or is looking to purchase from April 1st to March 31st.

Small Business Assistance

What is it?

This Small Business Assistance program supports small businesses aimed at increasing their productivity and competitiveness or looking to improve efficiency and innovation. Existing businesses can obtain financial assistance for internal planning and processing while new businesses are eligible for support in their marketing and promotional activities.

How much is awarded?

Small businesses can receive a maximum contribution of $2,500 to cover up to 50% of the eligible costs of professional fees covering a business plan or market research. This assistance program can also provide businesses with a maximum contribution of $5,000 in eligible expenses of professional fees related to projects covering operational efficiencies, internal processes, and quality assurance.

Who can apply?

New and existing small businesses residing and operating within PEI are eligible for funding.

The business must either be the primary income source for the applicant or possess at least one employee. Applicants must also have the proper business registrations within the province in order to apply.

To be considered a new business under this program, the business must apply for funding within the first 12 months of operation as dictated by the date on the business’ registration papers.

How to apply?

Before applying for funding, Innovation PEI suggests businesses discuss their options with one of their Development officers. From there, businesses can start the application process online.

Manufacturing and Processing Business Credits

Enriched Investment Tax Credit

What is it?

The Enriched Investment Tax Credit can be applied to specific capital investments made by businesses operating within the manufacturing and processing industries. As funding takes the form of a tax credit, eligible businesses will receive a rebate on their PEI corporate income tax paid by the company.

This credit can be used alongside the Prince Edward Island corporate investment tax credit.

How much is awarded?

Those eligible will receive a 25% provincial tax credit on costs associated with qualified manufacturing and processing equipment. This credit is a rebate that incorporated businesses can use against future PEI corporate income taxes.

Who can apply?

All businesses applying for this PEI tax credit must be registered within the province. The business must reside and operate within PEI and either manufacture, process, or develop goods or services meant for export. Eligible businesses must work within one of the following sectors: bioscience, advanced manufacturing, and processing, information and communication technology, aerospace and defence, renewable energy and clean technology, or creative and cultural industries.

The business project must provide some economic benefit to the province.

How to apply?

Applicants can apply through the Prince Edward Island website and submit complete applications and a proposal to Innovation PEI to access the rebate.

To ensure your PEI business grants application is successful, you’ll need the right tools to help you manage your finances. With accounting software like QuickBooks Online, you can generate the financial reports you need to apply for funding, whether that’s for PEI government grants, tax credits, or business loans! Start your free trial today.

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