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Accessing Government Funding

by Sharon Monahan, President
The Business Guide Inc.

Knowing The Assessment Criteria

With any government program, there are always two sets of criteria: the eligibility criteria and the assessment criteria. Most people concentrate on the first and don't give any thought whatsoever to the second. Eligibility criteria are always widely publicized by the departments while assessment criteria never are.

It is the assessment criteria which ultimately determines whether or not your application is successful and it is the criteria which applicants know very little about, until now.

One of the first criteria any proposal is assessed against is competitive impact or more specifically, the potential for adverse competitive impact on an existing business. You have to realize that government departments are very concerned about receiving bad publicity. Senior bureaucrats are very nervous about embarrassing their political masters. Remember that each department or agency is ultimately responsible to a minister, who is an elected official. The last thing any senior bureaucrat or politician wants to see is a businessperson running to the local media claiming that the government has put him out of business by funding his or her competitor. For this reason each application is examined for its potential of having an adverse impact on an existing business.

Closely related to competitive impact is another criteria called net economic benefit. If funding your proposal creates new jobs and wealth in the local labour market at the expense of an existing business, then there is deemed to be no net economic benefit. Any resultant benefit to the local economy that was achieved by funding you was offset by the loss experienced by the existing operation. If there were no net economic benefit, then why would the government get involved?

As an applicant you must demonstrate that your proposal will not adversely affect any existing operation and that it will result in a net economic benefit to the local economy. You can do this in one of two ways:

  • You can demonstrate how your business is unique in the products and services it offers; having no competitors and therefore no one to adversely affect.
  • If you are not distinct from your competitors, you are better off trying to demonstrate that there is sufficient demand for your products and services to warrant another entrant in the marketplace. Whatever approach you take, the bottom line here is don't ignore these criteria, address them up front and with confidence.

Next issue we will examine more of these assessment criteria. If you have a question or comment on anything contained in one of my articles, just send me an email @ [email protected]. I'd love to know if you find the information beneficial.

�1998 by Sharon Monahan. All rights reserved.

The Business Guide Inc.

Sharon Monahan is President of "The Business Guide Inc.", a consulting firm specializing in government financial assistance programs and developers of "The Business Guide To Government Programs", a website and CD-ROM on Canadian government financial assistance programs. For more information, check out her company's website at

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