Knowing what to expect can prepare you for finding the right funding
Although all government grants and loans vary from one to the next for a variety of reasons, there are some general points of overlap and intersection that can be considered typical of what loan or grant funding programs require of their applicants.
Be a specific type of business
Several grants target specific business types or industries because the funding sources are government agencies related to such a cause. For example, the Ministry of Natural Resources may offer business financing to help mining or forestry small businesses because that is the realm of Canadian oversight they are charged with.
Small business job creation
It is not uncommon for financial assistance programs to require applicants create one or more position within their company through use of the provided government money. How this is done can vary, such as some programs requiring the business take on a student in order to receive the funding (or they subsidize the student's wages), whereas other funds require the money be directly used for job creation.
There are also some tax benefit programs that only come into effect regarding employees, such as paying small business employers back some of the money they put into EI for employees.
Attend mentoring sessions and other forms of training/education
The government likes to feel assured that they are financing entrepreneurs who not only have good, viable ideas, but also know what they are doing. As such, many programs offering financial aid to qualified applicants require recipients attend small business skill set workshops or be partnered with a mentor in order for their approval to be finalized and any money be turned over.
Put up an investment of one's own
Although the government understands the benefits of helping small business owners under the right circumstances, most do not believe this to be so if the entrepreneur does not put up any of their own finance.
An entrepreneur who is unwilling to risk their own money while starting a business or undergoing business development is not going to go far to convince the government that they have confidence in their own business. By requiring applicants match them dollar for dollar, or similarly contribute to the financing process, the government is filtering out people who are not serious about becoming self-employed.
Fit a specified type of objective
Although the objective to be served can vary widely, it is very common for funding to only be offered if it is used in pursuit of a specific goal or use. This can manifest as serving a specific demographic group that is detrimentally misrepresented in self-employment, such as youths, women, and First Nations, or it could be an overall goal for business improvement, such as green energy and technology projects.
Knowing how to spot funding requirements -- a process that may sometimes mean reading between the lines and not merely reading the eligibility conditions -- may help you find programs suited to your needs.