Rules + Regulations

All the details on eligibility and criteria.

The Alberta Central Big Future Innovation Grant is open to only legal residents of Alberta who at the time of entry are independent owners/operators and the authorized agent of an eligible for-profit small business (as defined in the small business criteria section) and are at least 18 years of age. Applicants must be able to show proof of their existing business within their application through an incorporated number or business license. Winners will need valid government issued ID to receive the grant money. See FAQs for more.

Small business criteria
In order to be considered an eligible “small business” for purposes of this Grant, the business must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Based in Alberta;
  • Currently active, lawful, and have all necessary and required licenses and registrations;
  • In good standing as of the date of Submission and must remain so through the end of the Notification Period;
  • Have no more than 99 employees on its payroll at the time of Submission (sole proprietors are considered as an employee and part-time employees are included); and
  • In continuous operations for not less than one year as of October 1, 2020.

The following are excluded:

  • Business Owner or an investor in the business is a previous or current employee of Alberta Central, any cooperatives under Alberta Central or any joint ventures of Alberta Central;
  • Business is in any way affiliated with a credit union as a vendor or supplier;
  • Business is a non-profit;
  • Primary purpose of the business is in competition with Alberta Central or any cooperatives under Alberta Central;
  • Business or business owner has a criminal record or is listed on any Canadian or United Nations sanction list;
  • Business or business owner is under bankruptcy protection or has judicial liens or attachments.

By submitting an application to the grant and providing an email address, each applicant grants Alberta Central express permission to send Applicant emails related to the Grant, including, but not limited to, notification of selection for a grant and a follow-up email in order to gather feedback regarding the Application.

Limit: one application per business.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions, we have you covered!

What is the Alberta Central Big Future Innovation Grant?

The Big Future Innovation Grant offers an opportunity for two small business owners to each receive a $20,000 grant to support growth and innovation for their business. The grant is a program from Alberta Central, the central banking facility for credit unions in Alberta. Given the state of the economy due to COVID-19, many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat and Alberta Central wants to help.

What is the amount of the grant?

We are awarding two grants of $20,000. Two Alberta small business owners will each receive $20,000 deposited into a business account with their local credit union.

Who is eligible to apply for the grant?

To be eligible you must be an Alberta-based, for-profit small business in operation for a minimum of one year. You must be 18 years of age or older and have 99 or fewer employees on payroll at the time of submission, with the business owner considered an employee.

Businesses that are affiliated in any way with Alberta Central, or are non-profits, or whose primary purpose is in competition with Alberta Central, or are under bankruptcy protection or have judicial liens or attachments are not eligible to apply for this grant. Please refer to the Rules + Regulations for more details.

What can I use the grant for?

We are awarding the Big Future Innovation Grant to small businesses who have created innovative solutions to adapt to COVID-19. The purpose of the grant is to help business owners continue to innovate and support business growth.

How do I apply?

Apply online at albertacentral.com/bigfutureapplication. Applications are open from October 28 to December 9, 2020.

When is the deadline to apply?

Applications are open from October 28 until December 9, 2020 at 11:59:59 MST. Only the first 100 valid applications will be accepted and reviewed by the judging panel – we encourage you to submit your application early.

How will you choose the winners?

The first 100 valid applications will be accepted and reviewed by a judging panel. We’ll announce a shortlist of five top applications on January 22, and those applicants will be asked to complete a 15-20-minute virtual presentation to the judging panel on February 2 – 5. The judges will then select two recipients who will each receive $20,000, deposited into a business account with their local credit union.

What information do I need to apply?

In addition to basic business information (name, contact, website, valid government identification, business licence or incorporated number and previous income tax forms), you must answer a series of questions related to your business including a profile, what solution you provide to the marketplace, how you demonstrate innovation, what your business goals are, how COVID-19 has impacted your business and how you would use the funds. You can also upload visuals to accompany your application. Please refer to the online application for more details.

How will I know that you’ve received my application?

After submitting online, you will receive a confirmation message that your submission has been received. If you do not see a confirmation message, email communications@albertacentral.com.

Can I start my online application and finish at a later time?

No, you will need to complete and submit your application in one session. We suggest preparing your submission in a separate document before submitting the final version online.

How will I know if I receive a grant?

We will notify five shortlisted applicants in January 2021. The shortlisted applicants will then be asked to make a 15-20-minute virtual presentation to the judging panel in early February. The judges will then select two recipients who will each receive $20,000, deposited into a business account with their local credit union.

If I receive a grant, do I have to pay it back?

No, the grant does not need to be paid back.

Is the $20,000 grant taxable?

Yes, in accordance with the Government of Canada, the grant is considered a source of income and must be claimed. Please consult with your financial manager for more information.

When will the grant be distributed?

We will distribute grants to two Alberta small businesses on or before February 28, 2021, pending all documentation is provided.

What documents are required to validate my business?

When submitting your application, please be prepared to demonstrate proof of business ownership including but not limited to valid government issued identification, business license or incorporated number and previous income tax forms. If awarded a grant and you do not currently have a business account with a credit union, you may have to provide information for a registry search, credit check or other requirements specific to your local credit union.

Who is Alberta Central?

Alberta Central is the central banking facility, service bureau and trade association for Alberta’s credit unions. Our innovative products and services, thought leadership and advocacy on priority issues advance the collective voice of the credit union system as we work to increase awareness of the credit union difference.

What is a credit union?

Credit unions are people-focused organizations that offer the same products and services as other financial institutions. But instead of being just another customer, with a credit union, you’re a member and an owner. Visit albertacreditunions.com for more details.