The company has targeted funding programs that support capital investment and workforce development initiatives. The manufacturer has integrated funding into their strategic planning process to identify funding opportunities that will support their upcoming projects.

In recent years, La Rocca determined that implementing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system would help executives understand product costs and improve capacity planning. Access to hard data has helped the business create better processes for planning, production, procuring, and shipping.

To implement a new ERP system, La Rocca accessed Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Ontario and the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG). These programs were used in combination to support the project’s technology adoption and employee training initiatives. By leveraging grants from multiple funding programs, the company had the ability to maximize the impact of its project.

We recently spoke with Nabeel Baig, a Controller at La Rocca, who explained the important role Mentor Works has played in regards to identifying project funding. Nabeel shared how government funding has had a positive impacted on the business and its projects. In recent years, the company has had considerable success accessing Ontario government funding.

Ontario Small Business Grants Help La Rocca Solve Operational Challenges

La Rocca Creative Cakes is an esteemed artisanal dessert manufacturer that originated in Naples, Italy over 60 years ago. In 1986, the company opened its first Canadian facility and has experienced consistent growth and popularity ever since. La Rocca supplies high-quality desserts to local restaurants, hotels, cafés, and grocery stores across North America.

In recent years, Ontario small business grants have helped the business expand its capabilities to better serve market demand. In early 2017, La Rocca was awarded a total of $153,333 in government funding to implement an ERP system and carry out employee training. The company will receive up to $100,000 through the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Ontario program and up to $53,333 through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant.

La Rocca will use the contributions simultaneously to improve production timelines, increase company capacity, and train employees to use the newly installed ERP system. By addressing its existing operational challenges, the company will be able to expand its presence within the United States’ baked dessert market.

“There are some projects that we must do and some projects we will only do if there’s funding available. To execute the maximum number of projects, our company works with Mentor Works to find funding.”
– Nabeel Baig, Controller, La Rocca Creative Cakes

Stacking Ontario Government Grants to Maximize Cash Flow

Like La Rocca, other Canadian businesses may be able to combine or “stack” Canadian government grants and loans to maximize project funding. Stacking allows businesses to access multiple grants/loans for the same project, but for different project activities. By stacking funding, companies can accelerate project timelines and increase return on investment (ROI). Be sure to read each funding program’s application guides and details, as some programs are not stackable with others such as Ontario provincial funding with other provincial programs.

Related Post: Small Business Grants & Loans: “Double-Dipping” & “Stacking”

To carry out its proposed project, La Rocca Creative Cakes leveraged the following funding programs:

Funding for Capital Investment via Growing Forward 2 Ontario

The Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Ontario supports food processors, producers, and organizations/collaborations across the province. The program aids projects that aim to generate innovation, address industry issues, increase market access, and expand profits of Ontario food businesses. Funding can be used to invest in capital equipment that will help the applicant demonstrate growth and innovation.

Eligible applicants may receive up to 35-50% of eligible project costs to a maximum contribution of $350,000.

Please Note: The application intake for the GF2 Ontario program is currently closed. However, the Growing Forward 3 program is currently being developed by the government with further details to be revealed in the future.

Employee Training Grants

The Canada-Ontario Job Grant program provides training grants to help employers enhance their workforce by upskilling new and existing employees. Funding contributions can be offset the costs of providing third-party training programs. Training should aim to support the development of new skills and a more productive organization.

The program may provide eligible applicants with up to 66% to offset third-party training costs to a maximum of $10,000 in grants per trainee.

La Rocca’s Experience Accessing Ontario Small Business Grants

La Rocca Creative Cakes has proactively identified future funding opportunities to help the business grow and remain competitive. The company partnered with Mentor Works several years ago to leverage small business grants and address operational challenges it was facing.

“Mentor Works has been helpful and prompt in answering questions and getting back to us. They are very professional and the experience has been excellent.”
– Nabeel Baig, Controller, La Rocca Creative Cakes

In addition to its current project, La Rocca is also exploring other government funding opportunities with the Mentor Works team. Presently, the company is looking to access small business exporting grants through the AgriMarketing program, as well as funding for energy efficiency through CME SMART Green Fund.

“Mentor Works is there no matter what; that really wins our heart over here. Whenever we need a quick response to make a decision, the Mentor Works’ team is there.”
– Nabeel Baig, Controller, La Rocca Creative Cakes

Receive the Latest Small Business Funding News and Updates

Business owners and executives should always look for ways to access government grants and loans to foster continued business growth. Canadian government funding programs allow eligible applicants to maximize the impact of their projects while reducing costs. Staying up-to-date on current small business funding news and opportunities can help your company plan for success.

Sign up for Mentor Works’ weekly Funding E-Newsletter to learn more about government grants and loans.

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This post originally appeared on Mentor Works. Mentor Works helps established for-profit companies find and leverage Canadian business grants and loans.