“Going green” is not just for residents who recycle. Many companies are taking proactive steps to develop and implement environmentally friendly business practices. The Canadian Government is fostering this atmosphere by providing numerous resources to not only help a business go green but to provide limited financing for entrepreneurs who are getting into the environmental business.
The go-to site for any small business should be the Canada Business Network. There is a wide range of government-backed loan guarantee agencies designed to help a small business that might be having difficulty securing a loan from other creditors. Among the agencies are:
Canada Small Business Financing Program: This is a program that can help a business owner secure up to $500,000 from an accredited lending institution by offering a loan guarantee. These loans are meant for direct improvements to a business such as purchasing equipment or property for the company. For these loans a small business is defined as any company making less than $5 million a year.
Eco-Financing: This program applies to businesses operating in Quebec who are associated with the environmental industry such as acquiring carbon credits, research and development for greenhouse gas reduction or acquiring offset credits.
Export Guarantee Program: If your business will be involved in export related activities or foreign investments then you could find a benefit of a loan guarantee from this agency.
Canadian Agricultural Loans Act Program: This is a loan guaranteed program that assists farming businesses in securing credit. It applies to start-up farmers or for a farmer taking over an existing business with a maximum loan guarantee of up to $500,000 that can be applied towards land purchase and construction.
There are also many funding and incentive programs being offered to Canadian businesses who adopt “green” technologies or practices. These include rebates for installing solar energy panels, and helping agriculture business produce their own renewable energy sources.
Additional resources offered by the Canadian Business Network are for environmental technology verification. This allows businesses to get any environmental system they are using to be certified. That will help the business secure those loans which are geared towards eco-friendly businesses. In other words, you might have to prove you’re eco-friendly before getting the loan.
The Energy Management Information Systems Planning Manual helps business owners audit their company’s use of energy. Armed with this information, a business owner can make adjustments in their energy use that could save them money in power costs.
The FleetSmart program offers incentives and resources for companies who want to switch their transportation fleets over to more fuel efficient models. In some cases, companies are making a complete switch to electric cars with the help of these incentive programs.
Bottom line: whether you want to make your business more eco-friendly or want to start an environmental related business from the ground up, the government of Canada is a terrific place to start.