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Small Business Startup News and Resources

Read our collection of helpful small business news, resources and guidance documents on starting or exanding a business in Ontario and across Canada. Learn from the latest in small business startup trends, business plan techniquest and all about government funding!

Ontario government loans vs bank loans

Ontario government loans versus small business bank loans

As a small business in Ontario, having the right amount of capital can mean the difference between success and failure of your business.

In most cases, small business owners borrow money in order to use it towards the expenses and the various costs of starting up. This is a common practice by many entrepreneurs, using the borrowed money to grow and succeed with business.

As long as you are borrowing smart you have nothing to worry about.

While there are many different ways you can borrow money, today we’re going to be talking about borrowing money from the Ontario government, or the federal government of Canada, in comparison to borrowing money from a traditional bank in the form of a small business bank loan.

Money is money, but what may impact your small business are the conditions that are placed on the borrowed money. Knowing more about these conditions is what’s crucial to understanding and optimizing these funds.

Government loans for small business owners in Ontario

The Ontario government, along with the federal government of Canada provides government loans as well as many other different types of funding programs which small business owners may benefit from.

This money is given to business owners across Ontario in order to help boost the provincial economy through creation of jobs and taxes.

There are different types of government loans that you should be made aware of:

● Guaranteed government loans
● Low interest government loan
● No interest government loans
● Conditionally repayable government loans

Each type of government loan being provided may have its own benefits.

The guaranteed government loans help you by ensuring that you have a co-signer. The co-signer in this case is the Ontario government. So if things don’t go as planned, you’re not on the hook for the full borrowed amount. Instead the funding agency helps cover a percentage of the fund. This way both of you share the risk.

Low interest and no interest loans offered by the Ontario government are very helpful because they often have better terms than any traditional bank loan. Most of the terms through these government funding agencies are negotiable. Allowing you to walk away with better options than you would with a traditional bank loan.

The conditionally repayable loans are also an excellent source of funding for your small. The conditions may vary from business to business and are often negotiable in order to have the best chances of success for you as a business owner. Some may have conditions such as not having to make a payment until you hit success and profit, or not having to pay interest on any amount borrowed for 12 months; or making a
payment based on your profits each month rather than a interest rate based repayment.

The government loans that are provided to small business owners across Ontario are crucial in order
to help cover various costs. These costs can range from the initial start up costs, to the month to month operational cost and expenses.

To be eligible for a government loan, a business plan is one of the first steps that you should spend time on. Your business plan should be very clear and explain your business growth, provide a clear breakdown of your funding needs and how you plan on using the borrowed money, as well show potential in terms of your financials and show if all is to go as well as plan.

This business plan will be the document that you use to apply for government funding and loan programs.

Traditional small business bank loans

A bank loan is simply a bank loan.

Often people think that a bank loan is the safest option because it’s option because it’s being provided to you through the bank that you regularly visit and do it your personal banking with.

It’s easy.

Visit your bank, ask to apply for a loan, fill out a form, sit back and wait for approval.

While it seems easy, it’s often a pitfall, or a mistake that many small business owners make by choosing to go with the bank loan before considering other options.

Why is it a pitfall you ask?

Bank loans often have high interest rates. The terms are often set in stone and not very negotiable. Banks don’t really care much about your business, and only care about the profits they will make off of your borrowing. If you are a startup business, borrowing money from the bank to start up is extremely difficult.

If you don’t have business credit, and you don’t have past history due to simply being a startup, the conditions placed on your account and you’re borrowing me borrowing maybe even worse.

While you may apply for a bank loan on the personal level, your personal credit may be impacted and you may be on the hook for the 100% of the borrowed money. This may also impact your personal credit if things are to go bad with the business.

While you may be able to use personal assets such as the value of your vehicle, or your home as collateral towards the loan, it is not always recommended.

Generally speaking, government loans offer better terms, better conditions and are optimized more for helping a small business owner start up or expand their business than a traditional small business bank loan.

Keep in mind that a traditional bank loan has a purpose. This purpose is to give you the money so you can pay it back with interest. While the same may be true for a government funding program, more resources are put to wards a small business owner to succeed as the government has a lot more to gain than just the interest on your payments.

If you succeed as a small business owner you are paying taxes, this creates a life long cycle of returns for the government.

No matter the type of government loan or business loan you opt for, always do the necessary research and determining what it is that your business can actually afford to pay each month if necessary to cover the cost of these loans.

Are there government grants and loans in Ontario

Are there government grants and loans for small businesses in Ontario

A very common question the many entrepreneurs across Ontario regularly ask, “are there
government grants or government loans for small businesses in Ontario?”

The quick and simple answer is yes.

The Ontario government has hundreds of government funding programs provided through local, provincial and the federal government.

These funding programs come in the form of government grants, government loans, tax breaks and credits.

These programs are a set in place to help small business owners achieve success and cover the various costs that they may have. The uncertainty around the government funding programs availability availability comes from a basic misconception.

Many business owners who contact the government or the various levels of the Canadian or
Ontario provincial government and ask if there is funding for them and are denied may assume that there is no funding in the 1st place.

This type of information quickly spreads and the misconception of the availability of government grants and loans, begins.

While not every single business owner or entrepreneur is eligible for government grants and
loan, hundreds of grants and potentially helpful programs exist.

What do these government funny programs cover?

When looking for government funding be it a grant or a government loan, the availability of
funding depends on what it is that you need to cover in terms of your expenses. It also considers your location, as well the industry that your businesses in.

Not all government funding programs cover all specific.

For example, if you are a farmer from Milton, Ontario and you’re looking for funding to improve the equipment on your farm, it is often best to look at programs the cover farmlands, equipment purchase, growth – or to focus towards the agriculture industry specifically.

Looking at anything else whether it’s not specific enough or too specific, you may be denied.

A tip: When you are asking for government funding in the form of a government grant or a
government loan, be sure that your funding needs are broken down into individual and specific needs or requirements within your business plan. Doing so will ensure that you and your business can apply to multiple programs from the government of Ontario that may cover those specific needs individually. This will greatly increase the chances of success.

When it comes to government funding programs, typically small business owners ask to have
their startup fees covered, help with the hiring or wage support, to cover the cost of training employees, marketing, as well as the costs of purchasing the tools, equipment, supplies and inventory, or renovations to the business promises.

The more you can break down your specific funding needs the more options you potentially
may unlock.

The Ontario government has programs to cover nearly all start up expenses.

Take the time and review all options available in the funding database here at Ontario Startups to ensure that you don’t miss any of these helpful options.

Who can apply for Ontario government grants alone?

While not every single business owner is eligible for a government grant or a government loan, if you are a Ontario resident or considering moving to the province of Ontario, are starting a small business or already have one, you may be potentially eligible for a grant or a loan program.

Every government funding program will have a different set of rules and application criteria that the applicant must follow and must meet in order to be eligible.

Be sure to review these before you submit your applications.

If you are denied funding for any reason, be sure to check our reason and understand why you were declined in the first place.

Some of the more common reasons for application denial include:

● Applying to the wrong funding program
● Not being eligible to the criteria asked for
● Not applying with the proper business plan
● Submitting your applications incorrectly
● Asking for way too much in terms of funding
● Applying past the deadline
● Your personal financial situation may impact your application and success rate

If you are denied funding, be sure to speak to an Ontario Startups expert in order to get a better understanding of why you were denied and what options you have in terms of applying for other programs in the future.

Tip #2. Nearly 80% of funding applications are denied due to simple mistakes on the applications themselves. To avoid application mistakes always have an expert review your applications. As it can take weeks at a time to hear back from a funding agency, you cannot afford the time delay if you are denied, so always, always ask for help.

The Ontario government currently has over 500 different government grant and government
loan programs for entrepreneurs to apply to. These programs are available and ready for the
taking. If you are unsure if you are eligible for any of these funding programs rams start by creating a business plan.

Your business plan will be the 1st step you take towards figuring out what you require in terms of funding. Once your business plan is ready, your funding needs are clearly laid out, use the funding database provided here at Ontario Startups to see all matching options based on your
funding requirements.

Daycare Startup Funding Ontario

$73,500 Ontario government funding support for daycare start up.

Thousands of business owners across Ontario and throughout Canada get funding from the government to assist with their small business startups and expansion costs.

While there are still many unknowns when it comes to the government funding within the general public, the small business owners who do apply and take advantage of the available funding, can greatly benefit.

The Ontario government has various funding programs including government grants, government loans, tax brakes and tax credits that are made available to help small business owners succeed.

The below success story information comes from an Ontario based day care start up center. A business owner who previously considered government funding could be non existent.

Please review the Q and A, the back-and-forth with an Ontario startups expert regarding the process that the business owner took to obtain $73, 000 through the Ontario government to assist with their small business startup.

Where is your small business located?

Our business is in Milton Ontario.

Briefly explain your business and what you do?

We are a home base day care provider. Our daycare spans across 2 homes that are now connected in order to give are kids a greater space to learn and play. We provide at home day care services, to individuals age 1 to 11, mainly focusing focusing on those living in Milton and the Halton area.

When did you start the business?

The daycare was something that we always wanted to do. The idea probably started about 10 years ago but due to the insufficient funds we have to take some time to properly plan it and make all the zoning permits and everything to ensure that we can actually do something about this.

We really got into it after the pandemic started as we realized that there’s a lot of things going on out there in the world that a lot of people need to take care of providers and we wanted to be a part of it and to help these kids and parents. So we started really digging deep and trying to start small and see where it takes us our business started late 2020.

What did you need to make this happen?

We already owned the 2 homes but we needed to cover some of the renovation costs to connect the 2 homes and obviously to purchase the needed supplies and the equipment that we’re gonna need for actually launching the day care and getting ready for the children to come in place and be safe.

We had estimated costs between $50,000 a $100,000. Both me and my husband were laid off due to the pandemic, and getting these funds in order was a little bit difficult at the time, which is also when we started looking at government funding options.

What did you think about government funding prior to this?

To be honest I didn’t think it was possible. A lot of people we’re talking about the CERB, and other Covid related government funding programs, and I seen what all the businesses are going through so I didn’t think much of it. Didn’t believe government funding exists aside from what was being provided to everybody at this time. I didn’t think that somebody like me would be able to get money to start a daycare.

How did you hear about Ontario Startups?
We went to the bank to ask for a loan, and they said because we are not working we’re not getting any money from them. This was pretty disappointing to hear because both me and my husband had great jobs great credit and everything was going fine before the pandemic hit. The banks were no use at all. We looked online trying to figure out how to start a business without these costs involved and we continuously kept seeing Ontario Startups.

We noticed on the website that they dealt with daycares and other startups in the past so we just decided to contact.

How did Ontario Startups help you?

With Ontario Startups we worked on our business plan. By doing this it seemed to get us a bit more excited about what we wanted to do and it almost made it real. Working with Ontario Startups pushed us into thinking more about the business and about the small details and all the costs that we could think of. This was one of the 1st steps. When this was done our expert actually helped us find funding. He went beyond what was part of what they do I believe and he kept giving me ideas and sharing his past experience in dealing with other day cares. I think because the expert was actually a parent, he understood exactly where we’re coming from and wanted to offer that extra attention to us.

How much did you apply for in terms of funding for your day care?

Ontario Startups provided us with 3 programs that we could apply for there were non bank programs.

Under their recommendation we had to break down the expenses that we were applying for because one of the programs only funded renovations innovations in a small business. To ensure that we could do what we wanted to do we needed about $25,000. That is what we applied for within this program. The other $53, 000 we applied through 2 other programs that were recommended to us. One program denied our funding request due to not having a job and not being able to show incoming revenue as of yet as we’re a startup.

The 3rd program we asked for $35,000 to cover the cost of equipment purchase and just to get the business ready, however our expert recommended due to the denial of the initial program that we should be asking for more. We changed our ask to $60,000. We were approved for $53,000. Altogether we ask for $85,000 and we walked away with $73,000 which has been more than enough to ensure that we get up and running.

How difficult was the application process?

Applications were a nightmare. If I was doing this on my own I wouldn’t have done it. Luckily I had
the team there by my side helping me with each step and away. I was pretty annoying about it, asking a million questions but they helped and they got me the funds.

How did the money you got help you start your business?

The money made us start the business. It ensured that we have everything that we needed so we can actually launch and start promoting our business. After receiving the money and took 6 months to make sure that all the renovations were done and though we had everything in place before we opened our doors.

How is the business going now?

We are just ending our 1st year. We are fully staffed and we have plenty of kids and a great program in place the parents seem to love. We are in a great location in Milton and I have to say our day care business is booming.

Your comments or advice for others looking for government funding or starting a small business in Ontario:

It’s never easy to start a business. It’s never easy to stop working have no income coming in and think how am I going to start something that’s not gonna make me money for a while. Definitely scary. If it’s something that you dream about and something that you want to do no reason to delay. We did this for 10 years and we kept the delaying for no reason. I just wonder where would we be today if we started 10 years ago. Government funding exists, clearly, and we were able to benefit from it and if you have a good business idea and you have the team such as the Ontario Startups behind you, no reason why not try
applying for funding. Stay away from banks.

Typical government funding amounts

Typical government funding amount for a small business

When you are starting a small business in Ontario, having the capital that you need can mean the difference between success and failure.

The Ontario government provides funding programs to help cover your startup costs.

While not everybody is eligible to apply to these government funding programs, those that are can benefit from various program types.

The Ontario government funding program types include government grants, government loans, tax breaks and tax credits.

To apply to any government funding program one of the first things that you have to do for your own small business is complete a business plan.

Your business plan should be detailed enough that a funding agency should be able to understand your business model, what you want to accomplish, how much funding you need, and you must be able to show the potential, financially speaking which your business has.

Once your business plan is all sorted out, finding these government grant and government loan programs is the next step.

The Ontario government has hundreds of government funding programs available. Across Ontario alone these funding programs come from local governments, the Ontario provincial government and can also come through the federal government of Canada.

All government funding programs have their own criteria that you must meet in ordered to be an eligible applicant.

Most government funding agencies, they share a few similarities in terms of the factors that are looked at in order to provide you the potential funding.

Factors include your location, your industry and the amount of funding that you need and how you plan on spending these funds.

These key factors will help determine how much your eligible for.

What are the typical government funding amounts?

In Ontario, there are various government funding agencies. Each of these agencies offer different funding options.

Options depend on what your small business may require.

There is no typical funding amount that you can base your funding search on. Since every government program is different, every business owner’s expenses are different as well. The only way to determine how much you may be eligible for is to try and collect as much information as possible about the program itself.

Determine what the government funding program has in terms of maximum potential, or minimal requirement.

Some government funding programs may fund small business owners in the amount of $500,000 or more. While some may have a budget allowing them only to fund up to $5,000 per applicant.

To determine the funding availability, you do have to research the program you are applying for.

Knowing the specifics of how much they have available and how much they’re willing to fund at once is a good starting point.

A helpful tactic to determine how much you may be eligible for is to review previous success stories or successful applicant who have had a chance to deal with this program.

Since every business’s needs are different, don’t assume that you can get the same or even close to what somebody else has obtained. Instead focus on explaining your funding needs based on what it is that you actually need.

If you have two of the same type of businesses, in the same city and within the same industry, both needing money to purchase equipment, the chances are that they both may require a different funding amount – so never focus your needs based on another business, but your own.

There is no right or wrong answer in terms of how much funding you need.

The best strategy is to ensure that you break down your funding needs that is specifics of what you actually need money for within the first 3 to 6 months of operation.

These are the must have funding requirements in order for you to succeed.

If you have certain things that you would like to have funding for, but it’s not necessary within this
time frame, it is better postponing that expense until the next funding round or until your business is operational.

The less you ask for, the greater the chance of you obtaining that funds.

Some recent is some recent funding asks across Ontario:

● 23,000 for cleaning company
● 71,000 for farm
● 19,800 for app developer
● 27,730 for car dealership
● 77,500 for daycare
● $9500 for bakery shop at home
● 67,350 for medical device manufacturer
● $45000 for construction company
● 125,000 for education service
● $48,000 for restaurant

To see what Ontario government funding programs your small business may be eligible for and to have a better understanding of how much you should be asking for, contact an Ontario Startups expert.

toronto small business grants

Toronto Small Business Grants 2022

As a small business in Toronto, starting 2022 after the pandemic is no easy task. However with the pandemic behind us, the city of Toronto, as well as the province of Ontario with the support of the federal government of Canada have created a number of small business grants to assist with the bounce back.

Many of these available small business grants for 2022 are not covid related, but on-going government support from the local Toronto government, provincial government of Ontario and the various federal agencies. 

These funding options, while many are small business grants, can also come in the form of government loans, tax breaks, tax credits and assistance options.

In this article, we will be focusing on the Toronto Small Business Grants for 2022.

Toronto Small Business Grants 2022

The city of Toronto has a number of small business grant and funding programs that help businesses across Toronto and the GTA succeed with their business. 

While grants often mean non repayable funding that the government has to offer, it is important to know that there are various government grant types.

Knowing the various types of small business government grants is crucial to ensuring you can pick the best funding option for your small business.

The various small business grants for 2022 include:

  • Non repayable government grants
  • One time and renewable government grants
  • Partial contributions

These 3 government grant types are often the most popular and the most commonly offered grant options across Toronto.

Non Repayable Small Business Grants

The city of Toronto has several small business grants that are available to entrepreneurs looking to startup or expand their business. These government grants come in the form of a non repayable small business grant. 

These grants are exactly what they sound like – non repayable. 

Meaning, the money you obtain from the Toronto government agencies, is money you can use towards your small business but don’t have to pay back.

The non repayable government grants can be used for various funding purposes, however there are certain criteria that small businesses must meet in order to be eligible for the non repayable options.
To see all available government grants that are non repayable, consider using the Funding Database provided to Ontario residents in the Ontario Startups platform.

One Time and Renewable Government Grants

Another popular type of government grant programs in 2022 that many small businesses in Toronto are already using include the one time and renewable government grants.

These grant options are also considered non repayable options, however the reason for the “one time and renewable” name is due to the fact that these grants are often there to fund a specific purpose your business has – once, or on an on-going basis.

Most of these types of grants are hiring, wage support options, on-going training for employees..etc – as they may be occurring in a business.

While not everyone is eligible for a one time or renewable government grant, to ensure you can apply, it is a good idea to determine what your funding needs are in the first place, as the first step. Once this is done, it is key to figure out what each of the funding agencies providing the one time options actually focus on – and follow the lead.

Partial Grant Contributions

The partial government grants are another popular form of government grants that the city of Toronto and the province of Ontario is very keen on offering small business owners.

Much like the non repayable government grants, the partial grant contributions are free money that comes from the government towards a small business owner to use for various startup funding needs.

owever, the partial component of the grant is that the government provides a certain percentage of the needed funds, while you as the business owner has to come up with the rest.

In some cases the partial grants may ask for a 80/20 % rule; while in some cases it may be 50/50, or similar.
If you as a small business owner and you are unable to come up with the funds, you most likely will not be eligible for this type of funding option.

To see all government grants for small businesses in Toronto, consider using the Funding Database provided by Ontario Startups.

What can the Toronto Small Business Grants be used for?

With the availability of the various small business grants provided by the Toronto government, you may be asking “is my business eligible”, and if “what can you actually use the government grants for”?

If you are starting a small business in Toronto, or the GTA, you may be eligible for these grant options.
Most of the government grants that are handed out are provided based on a number of factors. These factors vary, however your location, industry and your specific funding needs are what is considered the most.

Majority of the funding options help with training costs, hiring staff, paying wages, going green and are used towards benefiting a business that has a greater purpose, or that serves more than just the business itself, such as the community the business is in, or the economy the business supports. 

To determine which government grant your small business in Toronto may be eligible for, contact a Ontario Startups small business expert to get a narrowed down list.

business grant

A business grant that you don’t have to pay back

Most small business owners when seeking government funding often worry about paying the funds back.
When starting a small business in Ontario, you already have to consider the startup costs, the expenses to operate your business, the taxes you have to pay, so having additional expenses such as a government repayment, is the last thing you want to consider.

While government funding options are often more favorable for small businesses to consider over the traditional bank loans or private funding terms, your best bet is to go with a non repayable government grant if possible.

A business grant that you don’t have to pay back

First of all, is there a government grant that you don’t have to pay back if you take it from the Ontario government, or the federal government of Canada?

The short answer is, yes; there are various government grants that are non repayable – meaning, it is money that you don’t have to pay back!

These government grants are often called the non repayable government grants, partial contributions or the one time and renewable grants.

The grants that are provided can come from the local Toronto government office, the provincial Ontario government agency, or the federal government of Canada. 

How can the government afford to not ask for a payment?

The government never loses. 

As you get into business and either borrow money from the government in the form of a government loan, or obtain a government grant that you don;t have to pay back, the government still benefits.

If you don’t pay the funds back directly to the government, you will still use those funds you borrow to pay taxes, to hire staff, staff that will end up paying taxes; as your business grows and succeeds, so does the government!

Is there a chance you will be asked to pay the grant back?

Most government grant programs are non repayable, however if you go off track and use the funds in a different way than initially intended, you are breaking the agreement with the government, meaning you are at risk of being asked to pay the funds back, often with a penalty.

Remember, if you are applying for a government grant for hiring and training costs, and you end up using the grants towards rent, equipment purchase and travel costs, it is going against what you were approved for – this can result in the funds being asked back.

As long as you use the funds towards the exact purpose you initially applied for and what you were approved for, you have nothing to worry about.

Are these government grants taxable?

The government grants your small business receives in Ontario will be considered taxable income for the business. This means that you will be on the hook for having to pay the taxes on the corporate earnings, including the amount you obtain the funds for.

While there are certain ways to avoid the income tax on the grants obtained, in most cases, you will be on the hook!

How do you apply for the non repayable government grants?

With any government funding program, be it a grant, a government loan or any financial assistance provided by the Ontario government, to be eligible you have to meet the criteria each program set up.
These criterias depend on many factors, generally starting with your location, industry and the specific needs you require.

It is always recommended to have a business plan that clearly explains your business model, shows your growth strategy, projects your financial situation at least for 3 years, and clearly shows how you will benefit from the funds you are applying for.

To get help from the Ontario government in the form of a non repayable government grant, consider using the Funding Database at Ontario Startups to locate grant options your business may benefit from

Toronto Government Funding Programs

Government Funding for Toronto Small Businesses

For small business owners across Ontario, especially in the city of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, there are a number of government funding programs for small businesses to benefit from.

The available government funding programs range from government grants, government loans, to tax breaks, credits and other incubator and accelerator programs that businesses across Toronto may benefit from.

Many of these government funding programs help support small businesses owners across the various sections, including those within the digital media space, healthcare, food processing, retail and many more industries.

While many government funding programs are offered Ontario wide, many of these are specific to Toronto based industries, demographics and have a special economic purpose.

As a small business owner in Toronto, consider getting help from Ontario Startups and utilizing the Funding Database to access all available government funding options for your small business.

Government Funding for Toronto Small Businesses

Below you will find a number of government funding programs for Toronto small businesses. If you are a small business owner looking to get access to funding for your small business, to startup or to expand, utilize the below list to get a head start with your funding search.

If you are looking for expert assistance to help narrow down which funding programs your Toronto small business may be eligible for, work with an Ontario Startups expert today.

Angel Investors and Venture Capital

Angel Investors Ontario  – Angel investing is more than just funding small businesses. It goes way beyond, providing small business owners in Ontario with the assistance they need with their startup businesses, in order to succeed and grow.

Angel investors groups in Ontario:

Funding for the Arts, Culture, Film and Television

Canada Council for the Arts Canada Council for the Arts government grant programs help Canadian small business owners who are artists and art organizations.
Government of Canada  Government of Canada – Canadian Heritage offers a variety of government funding opportunities including the Canada Book Fund, Canada Music Fund, Canada Media Fund, Canada Periodical Fund and many more. You can access these funding options right on the government website, or all in one place in the Funding Database available via Ontario Startups.
Ontario Arts Council Ontario Arts Council provides granting programs in different categories such as Art Education, Crafts, Dance, Literature, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts and more.
Ontario Media Development Corporation The Ontario Media Development Corporation, commonly known as Ontario creates, focuses on encouraging strategic business partnerships among the converging cultural media industries, including film and television production, book and magazine publishing, sound recording and interactive digital media. 
Socan Foundation Socan Foundation provides funding for Canadian small business music creators.
Toronto Arts Council Toronto Arts Council (TAC) provides grants to artists and arts organizations.

Government Funding For Black Entrepreneurs in Ontario

Black Entrepreneurship Loan Program This government funding program, provides government loans up to $250,000 to Black business owners and entrepreneurs. These loans can be used for capital investments, working capital, short-term receivable financing.

Funding for Indigenos Business Owners in Ontario

Waubetek Business Development Corporation Waubetek Business Development Corporation delivers business financing and economic support services to Aboriginal entrepreneurs and First Nation communities.
Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) offers a variety of services to support Aboriginal business and economic development, including financing, business support, community planning, and workshops and bookkeeping training.
Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario (IAPO) offers small business financing to support First Nations entrepreneurs and businesses. Funding is offered for equipment, business start-up and expansion, commercial real estate financing.

Government Grants For Hiring/Wage Support In Ontario

Ontario Apprenticeship Programs The Province of Ontario provides employers with financial incentives to train apprentices. This funding comes in the form of a grant.
Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit available to employers or sponsors who hire and train apprentices in certain skilled trades.

Innovation and Technology Funding Options In Ontario

Agrilnnovation Program The government funding program is designed for small businesses in Ontario, with the agriculture sector, and provides government grants or loans for research and development of a new agricultural product or technology.
Collaborative Research and Development Grants Collaborative Research and Development Grants support research projects in natural sciences or engineering by covering part of the project costs.
MaRS – Investment Accelerator Fund Investment Accelerator Fund for life sciences, cleantech, ICT or digital media enterprises, is a seed fund program, provided by the Province of Ontario, that helps emerging tech companies bring their product and services to market.
Natural Research Council Canada The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) provides funding to qualified firms and their innovative research and development projects.
Ontario Centres of Excellence – Collaborative Commercialization Programs Ontario Centres of Excellence – Collaborative Commercialization Programs bring universities, industry and government together to help turn science and technology into successful business endeavors.
Ontario Innovation Tax Credit If you are an owner of an Ontario-based corporation you may be eligible for a 10% tax credit on research and development carried out in Ontario for your business.
Scientific Research and Experimental Development The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program is a federal tax incentive program to encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. The Canada Revenue Agency, responsible for administering the program, offers tax credits for expenditures such as wages, materials, machinery, equipment, some overhead and SR&ED contracts.

 Market Expansion Funding

Business Development Bank of Canada Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Xpansion Loan helps Canadian companies with up to $100,000 in long-term financing.
Ontario Chamber of Commerce Ontario Exporters Fund assists SME’s increase access to international markets.

Small Business, Government Loans In Ontario

Access Community Capital Fund Access Community Capital Fund (ACCF) supports entrepreneurs with viable business plans with financing not available from other sources. The borrower may have no credit history, or may have a poor credit record due to unemployment, illness or unforeseen life events.
Futurpreneur Futurpreneur offers aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 39 access to up to $15,000 in start-up financing and up to $60,000 in additional financing through a partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada.
Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities Program Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities Program helps people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment or self-employment.
Rise Asset Development  Rise Asset Development (Rise) provides loans to entrepreneurs with a history of mental health and /or addiction challenges. Rise operates with the support of the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
The Ontario Catapult Microloan Fund for Social Enterprises The Ontario Catapult Microloan Fund for Social Enterprises is about enabling social entrepreneurs and innovators to turn their ideas into reality by supporting promising early stage ventures with access to capital. This microloan fund is administrated by the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI).

In addition to the above government funding options for small businesses in Toronto and across Ontario, it is important to consider additional options that the Ontario government has to offer. Keep in mind that provinces outside of Ontario may fund business expansion into Ontario; as well, the Federal Government of Canada has options that small business owners may consider to fund their business.

Ontario Government Funding For Franchise

Ontario Government Funding To Buy a Small Business or Franchise

Ontario is a top province in Canada with 15 million residents – no wonder it’s the business capital of Canada.

The Ontario government funnels money into the economy to help boost entrepreneurship and to ensure that Ontario remains the business hub.

With that in mind, the Ontario government has a number of funding programs that help individuals purchase a small business or a franchise.

These funding programs, often categorizing this type of transaction as business acquisition exist to help Ontario residents; and those coming into Ontario with the purchase of a proven business model such as a franchise; or an existing business that already has traction.

Why, you ask?

Well, the Ontario government provides funding back into the province. Having additional businesses helps stimulate the economy by creating jobs. These jobs, result in additional paid taxes, creating a cycle that helps Ontario thrive.

Ontario funding programs to help with business acquisition

The various Ontario government funding programs that can help with the business acquisition will often come in the form of a government loan. While certain government grants exist, for business or franchise purchases, you are mainly looking at a government loan.

These loans can often be far greater than any business loans via banks or private lenders and can have better conditions and terms – to help you as a new potential business owner to succeed.

So, if you are considering buying a franchise, a Mr. Lube Oil Change Franchise let’s say; you may utilize the government options to help you take over this type of business.

If you are considering buying Joe’s Pizza Shop down the street; you may be in luck and potentially be eligible for a government loan to help with the acquisition.

While not everyone is eligible for a government loan, the more you know about the different types of government funding options in Ontario, the better.

The different types of government loans

When applying for a government loan to purchase a business or a franchise in Ontario, the different options may include; standard government loans that come with low interest or no interest. In addition to that, you may be able to take on a guaranteed government loan, or a conditionally repayable loan.

Each of these government loans comes with different advantages.

Low Interest or No Interest Government Loans

When considering buying a new business or if you want to purchase a franchise in Ontario, a government low interest or no interest loan may be the right option for you.

It is there to help simplify the process of acquiring the business by giving you the needed capital. Unlike a traditional bank loan, these Ontario government loans may be more favorable in terms of interest and repayment options.

Guaranteed Government Loans

The guaranteed government loans are a great way to get the needed capital to buy a business in Ontario. No matter if the business is a proven system such as a franchise, or an already operational small business; a guaranteed loan from the Ontario government may have our back.

The Ontario government or the agency that you are approved for would be the co-signer on your loan. This gives you an extra layer of security and protection with the borrowed funds as it means that the agency may be on the hook for a percentage of the loan if things don’t go as planned.

Certain government-guaranteed loans can cover as much as 85% of the borrowed money.

Conditionally Repayable Loans

Another great funding option to consider when buying a business in Ontario. The conditionally repayable loans will help you as a small business borrow the needed money to startup and launch your business – to start collecting the needed cash flow, allowing you time to pay back the needed loan.

The conditions of these loans are often negotiated based on your needs but can range from long terms loans to no repayment until profitable..etc

No matter the type of funding you decide to apply to remember that the key to any successful funding application is to have a solid business plan in place.

If you are buying a franchise, the funding agencies may be more lenient towards your application as they know that the chances of success with a franchise will be greater. Contacting your franchise to obtain a business plan, projected financials may be helpful so you don’t have to do it all.

If however, they don’t provide this to you, using a tool such as the Business Plan Builder may be of help to get the perfect business plan in place to help you apply for funding.

On the other hand, if you are buying an existing business in Ontario, the process may be the same. Obtain the business plan from the seller; or at the very least the financials to help you do your due diligence, but also use it to apply for any government-related funds to help with the acquisition.

Tips to remember:

To help you obtain the needed funds to assist with the business or franchise acquisition, follow the below tips for improved chances of success with the funding but also with your business takeover:

  1. Ensure you are not asking for 100% of the funds.
  2. Don’t assume that the funding agency knows the business or franchise. Have a plan ready.
  3. Remember that many funding agencies can help you after you take over the business as well; with various expenses that are part of operating the business.

If you need assistance in locating funding options via the Ontario government, speak to an Ontario Startups expert to see how much you may be eligible for to help you take over a business or franchise.

Ontario Funding for Hiring And Wages

Ontario Government Funding For Hiring Staff/Employees

As a small business in Ontario, be it an existing business one looking to startup, paying wages is often one of the key expenses your business has in order to sustain itself.

Employees are a must if you want to run or grow your business.

When it comes to the Ontario government, there are various small business funding options provided by the government directly that help with hiring staff, paying wages as well as providing training to employees.

These funding programs can come from the local government, provincial Ontario government as well as the Federal government of Canada.

If you are a sole proprietor, in business just for yourself, you may be able to cover your own wages or a percentage. As well, take advantage of funding options available to help you hire employees when needed.

As a corporation, there are various funding options from the Ontario government and the federal government that may assist with the wage support of your staff, new and existing employees.

Different types of hiring and wage support options

The Ontario government has different types of programs that are available to help you as a small business owner hire and take on staff.

Through various options from government loans, government grants to tax breaks and credits, these funds can assist your small business in utilizing the added help, while keeping your costs lower; and having a percentage or full costs paid for.

Certain wage coverage options may help with as much 85% of the wage; while others pay wages in full if you are in a trade industry, providing a crucial service and teaching a skill.

In terms of hiring staff, as a startup business owner, you may be able to benefit from added funding options that can help you cover your own costs (personal living costs) while you focus on developing your business.

This is especially good if you are leaving a part-time or full-time job to start your own business in Ontario.

  1. Wage support for hiring new staff
  2. Wage options for hiring individuals with specific skills
  3. Programs made available to hire individuals who may be disabled, aboriginal, or fit a certain category that the funding programs may want to focus funds towards
  4. Wage options to help you cover your personal expenses while you start a business
  5. Seasonal wage support programs to help in various times of the year
  6. Student wage support programs to assist in hiring students
  7. Training programs; to help you pay wags of your employees and staff who are undergoing a training period while they learn a trade

How to access hiring and wage funding programs in Ontario

Before you can access any government funding programs in Ontario, be it to help you startup, pay for certain expenses, or to hire and train your staff, you have to have a business plan in place.

Your business plan is a must-have and should explain your business model clearly.

When creating your business plan, it should be geared towards the type of funding you are trying to obtain; in this case, funding to help you hire staff and pay for their wages.

Once your business plan has been completed; with a projected financial statement in place and a clear explanation of your funding needs, accessing these wage and hiring programs may pose a challenge.

They are difficult to find as they are offered on different levels of the government including the mentioned, local, provincial and federal government. Often via various agencies that provide the funds – making it difficult to conduct a proper search for the available options.

With that being said, the Funding Database here at Ontario Startups does have all options available in one place. Including all government grants, government loans, and tax options, to help you with wage support coverage as well as hiring costs.

Small Business Government Funding Uses

20+ Small Business Funding Uses that the Ontario Government Funds

20+ Small Business Funding Uses that the Ontario Government Funds

If you have ever wanted to start your own small business in Ontario, it is crucial to know that various government funding programs exist that help fund small business owners across Ontario.

These funds, government-provided, come via the various levels of government, including local government offices; the Ontario provincial government, and the federal government of Canada. They all funnel money towards small businesses and entrepreneurship in the province.

Knowing how to take advantage will give you a step up towards success by securing the needed funds for your business.

So; what does the Ontario government cover in terms of small business funding?

While the funding needs vary from business to business, the various agencies that fund Ontario small businesses focus on a number of activities, as they categorize them into 20+ different sections of “acceptable funds use”.

These 20+ different funding uses are not the only ones, but most others will fall into one of the mentioned categories.

20 Small Business Funding Uses that the Ontario Government Funds

Before you can apply for any funding in Ontario; be sure that you have a solid business plan completed. Your business plan should clearly explain your business model, show your business potential, list out the projected financial statements as well, breakdown your funding needs into the below-listed options:

  • Acquisition
  • Business Development
  • Training
  • Consulting Services
  • Financing Services
  • Product Development
  • Job Creation
  • Equipment
  • Trade Shows
  • Exploration
  • Evaluation
  • Business Planning
  • Operating Capital
  • Renovations
  • Expansion Capital
  • Marketing
  • Business Startup
  • Productivity
  • Research
  • Wage Support

Most funding needs that you as a small business owner may have, will fit into one of the above-mentioned funding uses.

Funding Tip:

When you are asking for funding from a government agency, it is always a good idea to break down your funding needs into the specific funding uses that are listed above. The more you can break down your needs, rather than ask for a lump sum, the more options you may be considered for.

As you apply for government funding, the various uses that the Ontario government may fund is crucial to know and understand; not only in your search for funding but in the application process as well.

It is also a good idea to avoid falling for the most common funding mistakes.

Common Government Funding Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

Simple mistakes are often the cause of many failed funding applications.

The Ontario government has a number of funding options available to help small business owners. In fact, there are hundreds of funding programs available and they constantly change as well.

The # 1 mistake business owners make when searching for funding is searching for a “too specific”, or “not specific enough” funding need.


I need $10,000 to start my business.

  • While this seems to be a very simple and easy-to-understand approach, a funding agency may look at it and say “no”. Why? Well, since there are many different funding agencies, not all fund the “startup process”. Some fund marketing costs, some equipment purchase, some cover wages of staff and potential employees..etc”; but not all do the same thing.

A better way to approach this type of scenario is to breakdown your funding needs:

I need $10,000 in funding to start my business. With that, the following breakdown will help me accomplish my goals. I need $2,500 to cover training costs; $5,000 to purchase equipment and another $2,500 to pay for some marketing expenses.

The same idea; but broken down, utilizing the funding uses mentioned. This can allow you as a small business owner to apply for 3 potential program options. Options that cover marketing; training costs and equipment purchase.

Another example of a common mistake is asking for funding and being too specific.

I need $5,000 in funding to pay for the ladder on my work van.

If you are to contact any funding agency in Ontario and ask for funding to pay for a ladder on your work van; you will most likely be denied – or explained that there is no funding for that.

They are not wrong. There is no funding for a ladder on a work van – but there is funding for equipment purchase.

The key to a successful funding application and funding search is patience and a choice of words.

Don’t be too specific and don’t be too broad in your request.

If you need help and guidance, asking an expert at Ontario Startups what you may be eligible for is a good idea.

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