CFIN <> Mentor Works, a Ryan Company

The Partnerships

Funding is a challenge that most -- if not all start-ups and growth-oriented companies -- deal with. It can be particularly difficult to secure financing or investment for companies entering new industries – like cellular food for example.

CFIN regularly hears from its members that finding and securing financial support is one of the biggest barriers to R&D, scale-up, commercialization, and expansion. Grant programs can be complicated to navigate with time-consuming application and reporting requirements.

To help entrepreneurs navigate Canada’s complex funding landscape and learn more about what options might be available to them, CFIN created a partnership with Mentor Works.

Mentor Works is a leader in connecting Canadian businesses with government funding. They achieve this by streamlining the government funding application process for the companies they work with, as well as providing comprehensive funding news, resources, and workshops to raise awareness for businesses’ government funding opportunities.

Together, Mentor Works and CFIN have launched a new self-serve tool for CFIN members to find funding programs and opportunities that can help them on their path to commercialization and grow their businesses.

Funding Finder quickly identifies funding opportunities that a company is eligible for and provides all the relevant information an entrepreneur will need – deadlines, contact details, stacking opportunities, etc. -- to help determine which grants are best suited for their business.

Free for CFIN members and accessible on YODL, Funding Finder offers national, provincial, and regional funding opportunities, including grants, loans, and non-dilutive funding to support a variety of strategic initiatives, including hiring, training, business expansion, research, and the adoption of capital and innovative technologies.

Companies Supported

In only the first two months since the tool’s launch, uptake has been strong across the country. Members from every province are using the tool (with Alberta and Nova Scotia leading the way), and a significant number of users are looking for opportunities in multiple provinces, indicating a desire for more national funding approaches.

Early data reveals that most users represent small businesses and start-ups, and they’re primarily searching for government grant opportunities with non-dilutive/non-repayable funding. 
Members are using the tool regularly to look for funding for a wide range of purposes, with approximately 60% interested in

capital expenditures, followed closely by R&D and job creation support. 
The early success of Funding Finder shows that this is a valuable service and that CFIN is providing its members with critical support to help them start and scale their businesses. 

Market Adoption/ Global Opportunity

There are a wide range of funding opportunities available to entrepreneurs, either directly from government departments or ministries, or via government-funded organizations and agencies, like CFIN. The challenge for entrepreneurs is finding and accessing those programs, a demand that will continue to increase nationwide as demand for innovation in the food ecosystem accelerates. This will make this tool an invaluable resource for food industry entrepreneurs across Canada. 

Part of CFIN’s role as a catalyst for innovation is to listen to the needs of our members and develop programs, tools and solutions that will help meet those needs. Every entrepreneur or growth-oriented business needs access to capital, and the launch of Funding Finder will make it easier for CFIN members to quickly and easily find funding programs and grants that will fit their business and help them on their path to commercialization.

Dana McCauley, CEO, Canadian Food Innovation Network

Executive Perspective

Mentor Works, a Ryan Company, has been around for 15 years, helping businesses and organizations across Canada leverage Government funding and incentives to support productivity, innovation, growth, and economic development in Canada.  With the Funding Finder, we’re able to offer CFIN members not just Government funding expertise – from strategic funding discovery and analysis through to application writing and approval – but also a tool that leverages AI to help identify grants, funding and incentives programs available across Canada that best match their business growth needs and investments.

Ann Wong, Managing Director, Mentor Works, a Ryan Company