Starting a small business requires a significant financial investment — and for most people, it’s not one they can afford on their own. This is why grants and financing are so crucial to the start up process.
The good news is that there are a multitude of grants to start a small business in Ontario, as well as opportunities for financing.
There are a variety of ways to fund your small business. If you don’t get your dream grant or funding application on the first try, don’t worry! The process can be a tough one, but if you do your research and consider different kinds of funding, there will be a funding opportunity that fits your needs.
In Ontario, there are generally three different types of funding that are available to small businesses:
IRAP Research Project Funding Contributions - Funding for projects associated with research and design in technology industries in Canada according to the following guidelines (taken from the Government of Canada), for small businesses of under 500 employees:
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs: Place to Grow Funding - This business funding is helpful supplemental funding for entrepreneurs whose business goals include work in agricultural development and food supply chain work. The Place to Grow: Strategic Solutions program is currently on a Covid-19 hiatus, but their “Funding for Sectors” stream is still running. Categories for funding include:
Small Business Centre - Funding for small businesses of any kind in Ontario, through the Government of Ontario.
Trenval - At Trenval, we offer flexible financing options for all your business needs. Businesses can apply here for financing up to $300,000 for start-up, relocation, maintenance or expansion of businesses located in the Trenval service area (Belleville, Quinte West, Tyendinaga, Stirling-Rawdon, or Deseronto municipalities).
Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program - From the Government of Canada: “The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program uses tax incentives to encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. These tax incentives come in three forms: an income tax deduction, an investment tax credit (ITC) and, in certain circumstances, a refund.”
Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development - The ABED program can help with a variety of business activities for Indigenous entrepreneurs, including:
AgriInnovate Program - The AgriInnovate program aims to accelerate the commercialization, adoption and/or demonstration of innovative products, technologies, processes or services that increase sector competitiveness and sustainability.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) - BDC offers a variety of programs and services to help start and grow your business, including:
Canada Small Business Financing Program - Financing through a bank or credit union who participates in the CSBFP. Financing generally for purchase or improvement to land, buildings, new or used equipment, purchase of new or existing leasehold improvements.
CanExport - Apply for financial support and gain access to personalized advice from experienced trade commissioners that will help you identify potential markets, partnerships and opportunities to achieve your international business needs.
Community Futures - Provides financing up to $250,000 for new or existing businesses in Prince Edward County and Lennox and Addington Counties and those relocating to the area.
Rise Asset Development - Rise is the only national charity that provides people with a history of mental health or addictions a path toward sustained self-employment through training, resources, mentorship and low interest microloans.
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) - RBC offers a variety of options for small business owners, including short-term, long-term and operating loans.
Strategic Innovation Fund - The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) aims to attract and support high-quality business investments in Canada's most dynamic and innovative sectors.
For Youth Entrepreneurs (18-39)
Farm Credit Canada - For young entrepreneurs working in agriculture, agribusiness, food and logistics.
Futurpreneur Canada - Futurpreneur Canada supports young entrepreneurs with up to $60,000 in financing, an expert business mentor for up to two years and resources to help you plan, manage and grow your business. They also have specific streams for Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs.
For Women Entrepreneurs
PARO - PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise is one of Canada's most successful business support and networking organizations. As a not-for-profit social enterprise, they collaborate to empower women, strengthen small businesses and promote community economic development across Ontario.
Women Entrepreneurship Fund - Women Entrepreneurship Fund is helping hundreds of women-led businesses across Canada receiving up to $100,000 in federal funding to help them grow and reach new markets. The WEF also provides mentorship and guidance to women entrepreneurs.
Within the list above, there are a multitude of options for entrepreneurs. It can be overwhelming to start from scratch and look at everything at once. Trenval offers free consultation and planning services for business owners and entrepreneurs—we can help you get a head start on your business funding. Click here to book an appointment with one of our experienced business councillors.