Looking for business advice? Start with government

4 min read

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If you’re looking for advice on selling to government, going global, or any other business activity, find out which government advisory services Canada’s Innovation Advisors suggest you look at first.

1. The advice is often free

Starting a business is a lot of work, but you don’t need to do all the heavy lifting yourself. Try your Regional Development Agency as a starting point. They can usually help you understand your tax obligations, regulations, permits, and help you register your business.

If you’re incorporated and innovating, you can also get free business advice from Canada’s Innovation Advisors. They’re former executives, entrepreneurs and government business consultants who can help you navigate government services, work through innovation challenges and more. And while there are some government advisory services that charge a fee, there are also many advisory services that are available to you as needed.

2. No contracts

Government advisors are there to help, no matter what stage your business is in. Whether you’re ready to commercialize your idea, or you’re looking to expand, you can leverage their expertise when it makes sense to do so, and without the potential pressure of long term contracts or complicated commitments. And while there are some government advisory services that charge a fee, there are also many advisory services that are available to you as needed.

3. Targeted, specialized advice

No matter what kind of advice you’re looking for, there may be a program that matches. Let’s break down a few of the different services that are targeted to meet your needs.


Looking for some business advice that you can absorb in bite sized pieces? Many programs offer business start-up training, export and import workshops and opportunities to grow your network.

R&D facilities

Did you know that the Government of Canada has a wind tunnel that companies can use to products (and other state-of-the-art equipment, like an ice tank, a wave basin and a facility geared towards organic chemical off-gassing)? If your business venture includes R&D, check out the complete directory of research facilities across Canada, most come with expert help too.

Tax help

If you want help forecasting or claiming expenses or understanding your tax obligations, who better to ask than the Canada Revenue Agency? They’re 100% confidential and can show you how to strengthen your bookkeeping system and review your books and records.

Market research

If you want to better understand industry trends, demographics, your customers and your competitors, market research can help you get accurate and specific information. Your own Regional Development Agency’s small business services can help get you started, and in some cases, pull market research for free too.

Selling to government

Looking for advice on how to sell to the Government of Canada? We’ve got advisors that can help you gain a better understanding of the contracting process and how to find opportunities. They also offer workshops and webinars year-round on topics like, ‘how to do business with government’ and ‘how to become a federal government supplier’. If you’re interested in selling your solution to international public sector buyers, download this guide from the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) for tips on how to find tenders, promote your solution and prepare a winning bid.

Or you can sell your products or services to government through challenge programs like Innovative Solutions Canada, where you’d propose a solution to a problem and could get funding, an opportunity to test your innovation before it goes to market and a built-in buyer from the Government of Canada.

Find everything government can do for you in 2 minutes or less, with the Government’s Business Benefits Finder.

Maxing out your Intellectual Property

Canada’s Intellectual Property Office can help you with things like filing for IP, managing and building your IP portfolio, and learning how to protect it, too. And, if you’re curious about what kinds of patents are out there already, ExploreIP is a free resource to help you negotiate licensing arrangements and facilitate collaborations between government, academia, and other private sector patent holders.

Taking your big ideas to market

The Industrial Research Assistance Program, known more commonly as IRAP, has technical advisors available. So, whether your technology is a food delivery service app or next generation pharmaceuticals, you can ask these experts about things like how to take your product or service to market, any legal or financial challenges you’re facing, help finding new technology partners, and more.

Trade and market expansion

When it comes to finding advice on trade and exporting abroad, the Trade Commissioner Service and Export Development Canada are great options for expert advice. They can help you plan your market research, develop international sales strategies, understand foreign market regulations and even help you connect with local experts or potential partners.

So there you have it. Business advice by way of government is often free, comes from former executives and entrepreneurs and can be general or highly specialized. Find all the expertise you need on the government’s Business Benefits Finder.

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Our Innovation Advisors can help. Get connected through our contact centre at 1‑833‑201‑4358 |TTY: 1‑866‑694‑8389, or send us details about your business. We’re committed to prompt and reliable service standards, and can respond to most inquiries within 24 hours.