Own the podium: making the most of government programs

By August 3, 2016Management & HR
Management & HR

As the Olympic Games kick off on August 5, Canadian athletes will be vying to do their country proud in Rio de Janeiro. Since 2004, Own The Podium has provided funding for training, coaching, technical support and more to improve the performance of Canadian athletes at Olympic and Paralympic Games. This year, their goal is for Canada to place in the top 12 nations in medal count.

Here are some ways for your business to make the most out of government programs:

  1. Take your business to the next level

It can be difficult to obtain funding to start or grow your business, but government financing, including grants, contributions, and loans, are available to entrepreneurs and business owners. If you’re considering expanding your business abroad, the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service has funding programs available for companies seeking to expand internationally and develop new export opportunities, particularly in high-growth priority markets and sectors.

In addition, a number of programs and grants have been set up for specific aspects of business development, such as R&D and innovation or patent/licensing. Click here for more information.

  1. Hire additional staff

Business is booming, but there aren’t enough people to complete all the necessary tasks to keep things running smoothly. Your employees are becoming overworked and overwhelmed, and you aren’t able to progress as quickly as you’d like on key projects. Wage subsidy programs make it possible for you to hire additional staff without incurring a significant increase in payroll costs.

You might also be looking to tap into the millennial talent pool. Young employees may be light on experience, but they can contribute fresh ideas and new perspectives, ensuring the long-term viability and growth of your company. To help you win more millennial talent, there are also several programs available for hiring youth and new graduates, including Canada Summer Jobs and Career Works. Employers can also apply for wage subsidies to create career-related jobs for students between the ages of 15 to 30.

In addition, Aboriginal Labour Market Programs are available for projects and initiatives which contribute to skills development and training of Indigenous staff for long-term, meaningful employment.

  1. Hire for attitude, train for skills

Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of culture fit in the workplace, hiring employees whose personal values and attributes align with those of the organization. When you hire for fit, though, it often means your organization is filling any potential skills gap with training and onboarding programs. Investing in the professional development of your staff offers a number of benefits, including improved job performance, staying up to date with industry standards, and learning about new technologies and practices. On the flip side, by having the chance to strengthen their skills on an ongoing basis, employees feel supported and empowered to succeed in the workplace, resulting in greater job satisfaction and higher retention rates.

Thankfully, with programs that subsidize the cost of training, it’s easier than ever to provide on-the-job training for your preferred candidate. As of 2014, the Canada Job Grant provides up to $5,000 in training costs for new employees, to be matched by the provincial/territorial government and the employer. The Canada Job Grant is also applicable for training existing employees.

  1. Take advantage of tax refunds and credits

Small business owners are often not aware of industry-specific tax credits that can help them save money in the long run. The government actually provides a number of programs — from tax credits for hiring an apprentice to small business deductions — that are designed to help reduce overhead.

  1. Don’t forget to look into region-specific programs

In addition to federal government grants and programs, provinces and regions offer their own set of programs. These programs tend to focus on developing key industries and sectors that are of strategic importance to the region. Improve your chances of receiving funding by exploring the options available in your area:

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