Why the federal government’s startup support doesn’t help new non-profit founders

6 non-profit startup founders weigh in on the challenges they’re facing, and why they need better support

Why It Matters

Established non-profits with significant impact in Canada — like Kids Help Phone, which is a critical counselling resource for young people or Canada Learning Code, which excels in boosting digital skills — were once startups. Today, a generation of non-profit startups are set back by the federal government’s lack of support during COVID-19 — likely setting back Canada’s recovery too.

Startups are on shaky ground right now, in the midst of a COVID-19-induced recession. After much pushback from the Canadian startup community about its exclusion from government funding for small and medium-sized enterprises, the federal government put $250 million into support for early-stage and high-growth startups. One study found that 64 percent of Canadian startups say the government’s support is helpful to them, compared to 45 percent of startups globally. 

But non-profit startups are a very different story. In many cases, they don’t qualify for the sam

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