Gravit-e Blog

October 27, 2014

Financing A Startup In British Columbia


Do you have a great idea for a new business but are lacking the funds to put your ideas into action? Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.  Beyond personal savings, family, and friends there are many options for financing your startup in British Columbia.  Here is some information to get you started:


Small Business Loans

Attaining a small business loan can be difficult as Canadian banks are typically conservative and startups are frequently deemed high risk. Banks are not the only place to look for a small business loan:


Canadian Small Business Financing Program

Helps new and established businesses get up to $500,000 in financing.  You can apply at any bank or credit union in Canada.


BDC Market Expansion Financing

This loan is designed for established businesses looking to fund their growth.  You can receive up to $250,000 if you qualify.


BDC Startup Financing Program

Startups and businesses in the early growth phase may be eligible for a loans up to $100,000.


Community Loan Funds

Community Investment Funds are non-profit organizations dedicated to helping people who can’t get the loans they need from traditional sources due to insufficient credit history or collateral.  Loans range from $2000-$150,000.  Community Futures British Columbia helps BC residents start or buy a business. 


Industry Specific Funding

There are funds across Canada and within British Columbia that offer industry specific funding such as the AgriInnovation Program and BC Hydro’s Product Incentive Program


Funding For Young Entrepreneurs

There are several programs that focus on helping young entrepreneurs (typically age 30 and under) start successful businesses. One such program is Futurpreneur Canada, a non-profit organization which helps aspiring business owners aged 18 through 39 through mentoring, coaching, and financing of up to $45,000. 


Small Business Funding For Minority Groups

If you belong to one of many of Canada's recognized minority groups you may qualify for unique grants and loans.  Here are a few examples of the funding available to Canadian minorities:

Aboriginal Business Entrepreneurship Development (ABED) 

This is a program run by the Government of Canada that provides Canadians of Aboriginal heritage with business funding in the form of non-repayable grants. An individual may receive up to $99,000 while a community owned business may receive up to 250,000.


First Citizen’s Fund

If you are a Aboriginal resident of BC you may be eligible for a business loan of up to $75,000.


Coast Opportunity Funds 

This program provides funding to First Nations communities whose projects have a positive environmental or social impact.  


Entrepreneurs With Disabilities Program

This program offers mentoring, counselling, and training to entrepreneurs with disabilities.  In some locations business loans are offered as well.


Womens Enterprise Resource Centre BC

Provides women with up to $100,000 to start, purchase, or grow a business in BC.


Business Accelerators and Incubators

Business incubators and accelerators are programs designed to promote the successful development of entrepreneurial companies. This is accomplished by providing business resources and services and access to business contacts. Some of them may even provide funding in return for equity.  The British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC) has published an article on their blog that thoroughly outlines the many business incubators throughout BC.


Angel Investors 

Angel investors are individuals looking to fund small businesses and startups that they consider to be viable investments.  They are typically looking for a higher return on investment than other investment options, such as the stock market, would offer.  They usually like to play an active role in the business itself and take some equity, which can be very beneficial given the right match. 


Venture Capital

Venture capital is money provided by investors to fund a business deemed to have ong-term growth potential.  You can typically get more funding from VCs than you would Angel Investors, though the funding is harder to obtain.  In addition they typically like to play a major role in company decisions and take a significant amount of equity, There are many venture capital firms throughout British Columbia.  If you plan to pitch your business to VCs be sure to be prepared with all your ducks in a row.


Apply and Gain Insight

As you can see there are many options for financing your business.  Even if you don’t plan on using a particular form of financing, such as a bank loan, going through the process of applying can provide useful insights into your business and help you steer towards success.  Finding out why and why not banks and investors would choose to finance your business can provide you with constructive criticism from business experts. 


Further Resources

A Complete List Of Government Grants Across Canada


Financing Your Startup Beyond Family, Friends, and Fools


Small Business BC’s Overview of Government Financing




October 15, 2014

How Custom Software Improves Job Satisfaction


How your employees feel about their work permeates your entire business. Keeping your employees happy will increase retention, morale and productivity, and will lead to better customer service. 

New software is introduced to solve problems, but it can create more work if it forces your employees to adapt to the software. By choosing a custom software solution that fits your business, you can improve job satisfaction, and save time and money.


Ease Frustrations

Using software that doesn’t match your business needs is cumbersome and your employees will inevitably become frustrated. Custom software improves workflow, allowing your staff to focus on the job, rather than the logistics of workplace technology. 


Reduce Redundancy

How often do your employees handle the same information? Do they have to manually enter the same data over and over again? Custom software can minimize data entry by integrating your commercial software systems so they communicate or adding functionality to your current software, or you can build an application that handles data precisely as you need.


Decrease Training Time

With new technology comes a learning curve for your employees. You may need multiple commercial software programs, and your employees will require training for each program. Training is costly and time consuming, particularly for smaller businesses with leaner staffs. Because custom software is tailored for your business, it is easier to learn and use. This will decrease training time and save you a lot of money and wasted effort.


Improve Help and Support

Not every business has the luxury of a large information technology department. If you’re a small business owner, your IT team may be one staff member or non-existent. As a result you become dependent on commercial software vendors for support, which can lead to long wait times and varying support quality.  


When working with a software development company like Gravit-e, you can expect a high level of support. We are available 24/7 to help with any issues and can quickly solve problems with our custom products. When we build custom software solutions we take the time to understand exactly what your needs are, and continue to host and maintain your applications after they have been implemented.

October 02, 2014

5 Advantages Of Hiring A Development Company Over An In-House Developer


If you’re looking to support, develop, or enhance your business software you generally have two options: add developers to your staff or use an external web development company.  On the surface it may appear less expensive  and more convenient to hire an in-house software developer. In reality hiring a development company, such as Gravit-e, can actually be more affordable and result in a better product.  

Here are five reasons you should consider hiring a development company rather than an in-house developer:

1. Competition

Talented developers are high in demand.  You likely can’t hire a good developer as they command higher salaries and will have no shortage of employers bidding on them. An affordable, unemployed developer is a rarity and may be lacking experience.  In addition to it being difficult to attract talented developers, it is hard to discern a great developer from an average one if you or your HR department lacks technical knowledge.  At Gravit-e we have refined our hiring processes to ensure we hire solid developers with great work ethic who deliver high quality products on time.

2. Transferability

If you only hire one developer you risk having all your IT knowledge tied up with one person who may move on and take that knowledge with them.  Development teams typically have their project knowledge maintained in a communicable manner as different team members have to be able to access the same information.

3. Quality and Expertise

Development is a team effort.  Every developer has different strengths- one may be skilled at database architecture but know very little about UI/UX.  You can't expect one developer to be good at everything.  This is why hiring a development company often leads to a better product. Gravit-e has a well-rounded team of developers with different specialties, enabling us to produce high quality solutions, take on large-scale projects,  and solve complex problems.

4. Affordability

Hiring a web development company will likely cost you less across the project lifespan.  You only have to pay for the development you actually need and don’t have to worry about salary, vacation and benefits.

5. Management

If you or your management staff don’t have a solid understanding of development it can be difficult to manage an in-house developer and evaluate their performance.  When working with a development firm the project requirements, costs and deliverables will be clearly communicated so that there are no surprises.

In some cases Gravit-e even offers in-house support. For instance, one of our clients requested that we be on-site twice a week to help with any issues or demands they may have with their custom software- a request we have been able to accommodate. Where we can offer face to face assistance we do.

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