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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!

Business Advice, Funding

No Income? No Problem: A Detailed Guide to Secure Government Funding.

Launching a business with no income may seem like a daunting challenge. However, government funding can often provide a lifeline for such budding enterprises. Let’s delve into a step-by-step guide on launching a business with no income by securing government funding, focusing on the vibrant startup ecosystem in Ontario.

Conceive a Robust Business Plan

The first step in securing government funding is crafting a comprehensive business plan. It serves as a crucial document that demonstrates your venture’s viability and future potential to funding bodies.

For instance, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Tesla are classic examples of businesses that secured significant government funding by leveraging solid business plans. SpaceX received $440 million from NASA in 2012, while Tesla secured a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy in 2010. Both were aided by business plans that outlined their potential viability, understanding of the market, financial projections, and strategies for growth and social impact.

Understand the Importance of Business Plans for Funding

Government funding programs prioritize detailed business plans in their funding decisions. Programs like Ontario’s Business Scale-Up and Productivity Program or the Industrial Research Assistance Program value comprehensive plans that convincingly demonstrate the applicant’s understanding of the market, realistic financial projections, and strategies for growth and social impact.

A case in point is Jane Smith, a senior official at Ontario’s Business Scale-Up program, who emphasizes, “We look for strong business plans that demonstrate an entrepreneur’s commitment to their venture and their readiness to successfully utilize our funding.”

Leverage Expert Advice and Avoid Common Pitfalls

When crafting a business plan for government funding, it’s essential to be meticulous and avoid common pitfalls. Overestimating your market size or providing unrealistic financial projections can undermine your credibility.

For expert advice on crafting an effective business plan, consider leveraging resources like the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, which provides free business plan review services. Additionally, online platforms like Futurpreneur Canada offer templates and step-by-step guidance for writing a business plan.

Leverage Local Startup Support in Ontario

Ontario is a hotspot for startups, with numerous government programs and initiatives designed to support entrepreneurs on their journey. These include organizations like MaRS, one of the world’s largest urban innovation hubs, and the Ontario Centre of Innovation, which provides mentorship, funding, and networking opportunities. Leveraging these resources can help startups overcome the challenges of starting a business with no income.

Apply for Government Funding

Once your business plan is ready and refined, it’s time to apply for government funding. Research the various funding programs available, their application process, and eligibility criteria. Ensure your business plan aligns with the priorities of the funding body you’re applying to.

Don’t miss out on potential funding for your startup! Access our Funding Database and unlock over 1500 government grants, loans, and tax breaks in Ontario.

Launching a business with no income can be a challenging but feasible endeavor. A well-crafted business plan is often the key to securing government funding. By leveraging available resources, understanding funding priorities, avoiding common mistakes, and being open to feedback, entrepreneurs can successfully kickstart their ventures despite having no income. In particular, Ontario’s thriving startup ecosystem provides a wealth of resources and support, significantly aiding the entrepreneurial journey.

Business Advice, Funding

Demystifying the Path to Financial Support for New Entrepreneurs

Securing funding is a critical milestone for new entrepreneurs looking to turn their business dreams into reality. The journey can be challenging and daunting, but with the right guidance, it becomes an achievable goal. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk new entrepreneurs through the process of securing funding, providing valuable insights, actionable tips, and real-world examples to support their aspirations.

Understanding the Funding Landscape

Before embarking on the journey to secure funding, new entrepreneurs should familiarize themselves with the diverse funding options available. Understanding the nuances of each option is essential as it helps in making informed decisions regarding which funding source aligns best with their business goals.

Key Points:

  • Grants: These are non-repayable funds provided by government agencies, private foundations, and organizations to support specific projects or initiatives. They are particularly valuable for new entrepreneurs, as they don’t require repayment. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to support innovative startups in the United States.
  • Loans: Traditional loans from banks or financial institutions require repayment with interest. New entrepreneurs should assess their ability to service the debt before opting for loans.
  • Angel Investors: These individuals invest their own money in startups in exchange for equity or convertible debt. Angel investors often provide mentorship and guidance in addition to funding.
  • Venture Capital: Venture capitalists invest in startups with high growth potential in exchange for equity. They typically focus on technology-driven ventures with the potential for significant returns.
  • Crowdfunding: Online crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo enable entrepreneurs to raise funds from a global audience. Backers contribute money to support projects they believe in.

Identifying Your Funding Needs

Knowing your funding needs is a critical step in the journey to secure financial support. Entrepreneurs should meticulously assess their financial requirements, taking into account startup costs, ongoing operational expenses, and capital needed for growth. This assessment forms the foundation for a realistic funding strategy.

Key Points:

  • Startup Costs: This includes expenses such as product development, market research, legal fees, and marketing efforts required to launch the business.
  • Operational Expenses: Ongoing costs like rent, utilities, employee salaries, and inventory maintenance should be factored into the financial plan.
  • Growth Capital: New entrepreneurs should estimate the capital needed to scale their business. Growth capital may be required to expand operations, enter new markets, or develop new products.

Building a Strong Business Plan

A well-structured business plan is a critical document that not only serves as a roadmap for the business but also plays a pivotal role in attracting potential investors and funders. New entrepreneurs should invest time and effort into crafting a comprehensive business plan that outlines their vision, goals, market analysis, financial projections, and growth strategies.

Key Points:

  • Vision and Goals: Clearly articulate the mission and long-term objectives of the business.
  • Market Analysis: Provide a thorough analysis of the target market, including customer demographics, market size, and competition.
  • Financial Projections: Create realistic financial projections, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements.
  • Growth Strategy: Outline a clear strategy for business growth, including marketing and sales plans.

Exploring Grant Opportunities

Grants are a valuable source of funding for new entrepreneurs, especially those working on innovative projects or initiatives that align with the grant’s objectives. Entrepreneurs should proactively research and identify grant programs that cater to their industry or project type.

Key Points:

  • Government Grants: Government agencies at the federal, state, or local levels often offer grants to support specific sectors, such as technology, healthcare, or sustainable initiatives.
  • Private Foundations: Many private foundations have grant programs designed to support social or environmental causes. Entrepreneurs should explore foundations that align with their mission.
  • Industry-Specific Grants: Some industries, like agriculture or renewable energy, have specialized grant opportunities. Researching industry associations and organizations can uncover relevant grants.

Tapping into the World of Investors

Angel investors and venture capitalists are crucial sources of funding for startups with high growth potential. Entrepreneurs should learn how to effectively pitch their business ideas to potential investors and build meaningful relationships in the investment community.

Key Points:

  • Pitching Your Idea: Craft a compelling pitch that clearly communicates your business concept, market opportunity, and growth potential. Investors want to see a solid business model and a vision for scaling.
  • Networking: Building relationships with potential investors, attending networking events, and seeking mentorship can open doors to funding opportunities. Leveraging personal and professional networks can be invaluable.

Leveraging Crowdfunding Platforms

In today’s digital age, crowdfunding has emerged as an accessible and effective way for entrepreneurs to secure funding from a global audience. Platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe allow entrepreneurs to present their ideas and products to potential backers who believe in their vision.

Key Points:

  • Campaign Planning: Successful crowdfunding campaigns require careful planning and execution. Entrepreneurs should create engaging campaign pages that effectively convey their project’s value and benefits.
  • Backer Engagement: Engaging with backers is crucial during and after the campaign. Providing regular updates, responding to inquiries, and fulfilling rewards or promises are essential for building trust.

Navigating the Application Process

Once entrepreneurs have identified their funding source, they must navigate the application process diligently. This section emphasizes the importance of attention to detail and compliance with specific guidelines provided by funders. A single oversight can result in rejection, so thoroughness is key.

Key Points:

  • Document Preparation: Entrepreneurs should gather all required documents, which may include business plans, financial statements, pitch decks, and application forms.
  • Application Submission: Ensure that all application materials are submitted correctly and within the specified deadlines.
  • Follow-Up: After submitting an application, entrepreneurs should be prepared for follow-up questions or requests for additional information.

The Journey to Financial Success

Securing funding as a new entrepreneur is an exciting yet challenging journey. Understanding the diverse funding options available, accurately assessing funding needs, crafting a compelling business plan, and identifying suitable grant programs or investors are key steps in the process. Leveraging crowdfunding platforms and navigating the application process with attention to detail can increase the chances of securing the financial support needed to turn entrepreneurial dreams into reality. Success in securing funding paves the way for business growth, innovation, and the realization of entrepreneurial visions.

Business Advice, Funding

10 Tips to Master Grants in Ontario

Funding is the lifeblood of many businesses, and in Ontario, entrepreneurs have access to a wealth of opportunities in the form of grants. These financial aids can be a game-changer for startups, small businesses, and even established enterprises. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll uncover 10 essential tips to navigate the world of grants in Ontario effectively. Whether you’re a novice entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, these insights will help you make the most of this valuable resource.

1. Know Your Goals Before You Apply: Before you even start searching for grant opportunities, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your business goals and how funding can help you achieve them. Grants in Ontario serve various purposes, from fostering innovation to supporting sustainable practices. Knowing your objectives will enable you to align your grant applications with the right program that best suits your needs.

2. Stay Updated with Grant Programs: The landscape of grant programs is dynamic. New programs are introduced, and existing ones may undergo changes. Staying informed about the latest opportunities is crucial. You can do this by regularly checking government websites dedicated to grants and subscribing to newsletters that provide updates on available grant programs.

3. Explore Diverse Grant Sources: Grants are available at multiple levels of government, including federal, provincial, and municipal. Don’t limit your search to just one source. Explore opportunities at all levels to maximize your chances of securing funding. For example, while provincial grants may be your primary focus, federal programs like the Canada Small Business Financing Program can complement your funding strategy.

4. Understand Eligibility Criteria: Each grant program has specific eligibility criteria. These criteria may include factors such as the size of your business, the industry sector you operate in, and the nature of your project. It’s crucial to thoroughly understand these requirements before applying to ensure that your business aligns with the program’s criteria.

5. Prepare a Solid Business Plan: A well-structured business plan is essential when applying for grants. Your plan should clearly outline your business goals, how you intend to use the grant funds, and the expected outcomes. It’s also crucial to demonstrate how your project or initiative aligns with the grant program’s objectives. A compelling business plan increases your chances of a successful grant application.

6. Seek Professional Guidance: Navigating the world of grants can be complex, especially if you’re a first-time applicant. Consider seeking guidance from professionals who specialize in grant applications. Consultants or experts in this field can provide valuable insights, help you craft a competitive proposal, and increase your chances of success.

7. Build Strong Partnerships: Collaboration can enhance your grant application. Partnering with other businesses, research institutions, or nonprofits can strengthen your proposal. It demonstrates a collective effort to achieve shared goals and can make your application more appealing to grant providers.

8. Keep Accurate Records: Grant providers often require detailed financial records and progress reports throughout the project’s lifecycle. It’s essential to maintain accurate records to ensure compliance with grant terms and conditions. Additionally, these records can help you evaluate the impact of the grant on your business.

9. Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with your project’s objectives is crucial. Tracking these KPIs diligently allows you to measure the success of your grant-funded project. This data not only demonstrates the project’s impact but also provides valuable insights for future grant applications.

10. Network and Share Success Stories: Networking within your industry and sharing success stories can open doors to more grant opportunities. Attend relevant events, engage with grant providers, and share your experiences with others. Your journey and achievements can inspire fellow entrepreneurs and create valuable connections that may lead to more grant opportunities.

The article offers practical advice and insights for entrepreneurs and businesses in Ontario seeking to obtain grants. By following these tips, individuals can increase their chances of successfully navigating the grant application process and leveraging grant funds to achieve their business objectives. Grants in Ontario serve as a valuable resource for business growth, innovation, and community development, and mastering the process is essential for success in the dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem of the province.

Business Advice, Funding

Secrets to Free Government Funding in Ontario: A Guide for Entrepreneurs

A key aspect that fuels this ecosystem is the availability of government funding, particularly free grants and other financial aids. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the nuances of these opportunities, highlighting what entrepreneurs need to know to tap into this valuable resource.

Types of Government Funding Available Grants, Tax Credits, Loans and Loan Guarantees Did you know that the government of Ontario offers various types of funding? From outright grants that don’t require repayment to beneficial tax credits and supportive loan guarantees, the range is extensive. Each of these funding types serves different business needs and stages.

Eligibility Criteria for Free Government Funding Business Size and Type, Project Nature and Goals Who qualifies for these funds? The answer lies in a mix of factors including your business size, the sector you operate in, and the nature of your project. Understanding these criteria is the first step towards a successful application.

Navigating the Application Process Preparing Your Application, Key Documents Required The journey to securing government funding is often laden with detailed applications and specific documentation. We’ll walk you through the essentials of preparing a compelling application, ensuring you present your business case effectively.

Spotlight on Popular Grant Programs Innovation Grants, Environmental Grants, Small Business Growth Grants Ontario is home to numerous grant programs targeting various sectors. Whether you’re innovating in tech or focusing on environmental sustainability, there’s likely a grant for you. We highlight some of the most popular programs that have propelled businesses forward.

Case Studies: Success Stories in Ontario Tech Startup Triumphs, Green Innovation in Small Businesses Nothing inspires more than real success stories. We bring you close to entrepreneurs who’ve successfully navigated the funding landscape, from tech startups to eco-friendly initiatives.

Utilizing Professional Assistance Consulting with Experts, Leveraging Online Resources Sometimes, the best approach is to seek professional guidance. There are experts and online resources available that can demystify the process and increase your chances of success.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Applications Incomplete Information, Lack of Clear Objectives Awareness of common mistakes can be your saving grace. Avoiding pitfalls like incomplete applications and unclear objectives is crucial in your funding journey.

Staying Updated on Funding Opportunities Government Websites, Networking Events The funding landscape is dynamic, with new opportunities emerging regularly. We discuss how to stay informed and ready to seize these opportunities as they arise.

Leveraging Grants for Business Growth Strategic Investment, Long-term Planning Once you secure funding, what next? We explore how to strategically invest these funds for sustainable growth and long-term business success.

The Role of Government Funding in Economic Development Job Creation, Technological Advancements Government funding isn’t just about individual business growth; it plays a pivotal role in broader economic development. This includes job creation and fostering technological innovation.

  1. Preparing for Future Funding Rounds
    • Record-Keeping
    • Evaluating Business Progress

Securing government funding is not a one-time event. For continuous success, maintaining meticulous records and regularly evaluating your business’s progress is essential. This proactive approach not only prepares you for future funding opportunities but also ensures sustainable business growth.

  1. Testimonials from Ontario Entrepreneurs
    • Real-Life Experiences
    • Tips from Successful Applicants

Hearing directly from those who have walked this path can be incredibly insightful. We share testimonials from Ontario entrepreneurs who have successfully obtained government funding. Their experiences and practical tips offer a wealth of knowledge for aspiring applicants.

  1. Maximizing Opportunities for Free Money
    • Recap of Key Points
    • Encouragement for Entrepreneurs

Accessing free government funding in Ontario opens a world of opportunities for entrepreneurs. By understanding the types of funding available, meeting eligibility criteria, and effectively navigating the application process, entrepreneurs can significantly enhance their business prospects. Remember, the journey to securing these funds is as important as the destination. Stay informed, prepared, and proactive to make the most of these opportunities.


  1. What are the most common types of government funding available in Ontario? Government funding in Ontario primarily includes grants, tax credits, and loans or loan guarantees. Each serves different business needs and stages.
  2. How do I know if my business is eligible for government funding? Eligibility depends on factors like business size, industry sector, and the nature of your project. Specific criteria vary across different funding programs.
  3. What are the key steps in the application process for government funding? The application process typically involves preparing a detailed business plan, financial statements, and demonstrating how your project aligns with the funding program’s objectives.
  4. Can small businesses in Ontario access government grants? Absolutely! There are numerous grant programs specifically designed to support small businesses in various sectors.
  5. How can I stay informed about new government funding opportunities? Regularly visit government websites, subscribe to newsletters, and attend networking events related to your industry to stay informed about new funding opportunities.
Business Advice, Business Planning, Funding

Navigating Government Funding in Ontario: A Comprehensive Guide for Entrepreneurs Seeking Free Grants

Entrepreneurs are constantly seeking ways to fuel their ventures and drive innovation. A pivotal resource in this quest is government funding, particularly in the form of free grants. This comprehensive guide is designed to illuminate the path for entrepreneurs in Ontario, offering essential knowledge and practical insights for obtaining government funding.

Understanding Government Grants

Government grants in Ontario are financial awards provided by various levels of government – federal, provincial, and municipal – intended to support businesses in a range of sectors. Unlike loans, these grants do not require repayment, making them highly sought after. They are typically awarded for specific purposes like research and development, technology innovation, export expansion, or job creation.

Key Fact: The Ontario government allocated over $500 million in the last fiscal year to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through various grant programs.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility for government grants varies depending on the specific program. Common criteria include business size, industry sector, project type, and the potential for job creation or economic impact. For instance, the Ontario Innovation Tax Credit is aimed at businesses engaged in scientific research and experimental development.

Example: A Toronto-based tech startup received a $100,000 grant for developing an AI-driven logistics solution, which aligned with the government’s focus on technological innovation and economic growth.

Application Process

Applying for government grants can be complex and time-consuming. It involves preparing detailed proposals, business plans, and financial statements. The government often requires applicants to demonstrate how their project aligns with specific program objectives.

Example: An entrepreneur from Hamilton successfully secured a grant by presenting a comprehensive business plan that outlined how their project would create jobs and promote sustainable practices in manufacturing.

Available Grant Programs

There are numerous grant programs available in Ontario. Some notable ones include:

  • Ontario Research Fund: Supports research that can be commercialized.
  • SmartStart Seed Fund: Assists startups in the technology sector.
  • Business Scale-up and Productivity Program: Helps businesses expand and increase productivity.

Key Fact: The SmartStart Seed Fund has helped over 200 startups since its inception, with an average funding amount of $30,000 per project. All these funding opportunities can be found in the funding database.

Leveraging Local Resources

Local economic development offices and business incubators are invaluable resources for finding and applying for grants. They provide workshops, counseling, and networking opportunities to help entrepreneurs navigate the funding landscape.

Example: The Waterloo Region Small Business Centre regularly hosts grant information sessions and provides one-on-one support for application preparation.

Case Studies and Success Stories

Learning from successful grant recipients can provide practical insights and inspiration. Many entrepreneurs have leveraged government grants to scale their businesses, develop innovative products, or expand into new markets.

Example: A small agri-food business in Guelph used a government grant to invest in energy-efficient equipment, reducing operational costs and increasing production capacity.

Staying Informed and Prepared

The landscape of government funding is ever-changing, with new programs being introduced and existing ones evolving. Entrepreneurs must stay informed about these changes and be prepared to act quickly when opportunities arise.

Key Fact: The Ontario government recently launched a new grant program focusing on green technology, with an application window of just three months.

In conclusion, while navigating government funding in Ontario can be challenging, the rewards are substantial for entrepreneurs who are well-informed and prepared. By understanding the landscape, meeting eligibility criteria, and leveraging local resources, entrepreneurs can significantly enhance their chances of securing valuable free grants.

Business Advice, Business Planning, Funding

Grants Guide: Ontario Small Business Grants

As a small business owner or an entrepreneur looking to start a business in Ontario, it is crucial that you know of the various Ontario small business grants that are available via the government.

The below is a full, detailed grants guide to finding all about the available government grants for your own small business in Ontario.

Small business grants are specific, they are categorized and well organized and to ensure that you can find and successfully apply for a business grant. It is important to know where you can go to learn about the grants, how you can use the funds, how much you can get and how to apply?

The Ontario small business grants currently available include options such as environmental grants, agricultural grants, economic growth grants, technology advance grants, grants for the art industry as well as grants for those who are disabled in business as well as women owned business grant options.

Download the 2024 OntarioGrants Guide

Ontario Small Business Grants

business grants in ontario

The Ontario government has a number of small business grant programs available.

These government grants will generally come from local funding agencies that focus specifically on the province of Ontario and growing it’s economy; however many options can also come from the provincial government and the federal government of Canada as well – to broaden the reach of all potentially helpful business grant options.

There are different types of small business grants that are available

  • One time and renewable business grants
  • Partial contribution grants
  • Non-repayable government grants

Read the guide here to learn more about the 3 different types of government grants your small business in Ontario may be eligible to apply to.

In addition to the small business grants, other government funding options that a small business owner in Ontario may be eligible for includes government loans, tax breaks and tax credits.

Learn the differences between government grants and government loans here.

One Time and Renewable Business Grants

The one time, renewable, or also referred to as direct business grants are provided to small business owners to cover various startup or expansion expenses. Costs to start a small business on Ontario are getting pretty high and any chances you can have to secure some additional funding, it is worth applying!

The one time business grants are free money via the various government agencies, generally provided to cover an expense your business may have in a lump sum. These are often initial startup or expansion costs requiring a one time payment to help make a difference. These can range from the various startup costs, to renovations as well as long-term purchases. While the renewable business grants often help fund the costs that a business owner may renew  (apply for again); which can include training costs, wage support as well as on-going expenses that may be covered.

Partial Contribution Government Grants

The partial contribution government grants are great options much like the non repayable government grants. In most cases you will not have to pay the grant back however the “partial contribution” part of it asks that you provide funds of your own as well in order to qualify for the grant.

Sort of like a partnership.

If you need $100,000, the government may give you $50,000 to use towards your funding needs as a non repayable grant but requires that you provide the other $50,000 on your own.

The partial contribution percentage may vary from business to business however some agencies may ask that you put as much as little as 10% to as much as 75% of the funds towards the business yourself.

Non Repayable Government Grants

The non repayable government grants are often the best type of government grant a business owner in Ontario can receive.

These grants are exactly as they sound – non repayable.

Meaning, unlike a loan, the money you obtain from this type of grant program does not need to be paid back.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can just use the funds for anything you want – instead, these government grant types fund very specific needs that a business may have and are provided based on those needs (as long as you are eligible). If the funds are used otherwise, the government may ask for the money back.

All government grants currently available can be accessed via the Funding Database. Via the Funding Database you can see all grants, government loans as well as tax breaks and have an expert search for all options for you!

Applying to the Small Business Grants

To ensure that you can effectively apply for a small business grant form the Ontario government, or the federal government of Canada, it is important to follow the steps and have the few key necessities covered.

The key elements you must have before you apply include:

  1. Your business plan
  2. Financial projections
  3. PitchDeck presentation
  4. Know the programs

🟩 Creating the perfect business plan

One of the first steps before you start your applications to any government grants in Ontario is to have a prefect business plan.

The perfect business plan will help the reader (a funding agency) understand your business model, including the specifics of your business, how you plan on growing your business, promoting your business as well as your specific funding requirements. The business plan is a blueprint to your success and the most crucial document you can use to apply for the grants available.

Options for creating a business plan

There are multiple ways to create a business plan including:

  • Writing a business plan on your own from scratch
  • Editing a pre-existing template
  • Using the Business Plan Builder Tool (best option as it’s directly associated with what funding agencies want to see in a plan)
  • Working with a free template such as the one here.
  • You can also pay for one via a business plan writer – often $2,500+

🟩Having financials or financial projections

One of the components of a properly developed business plan is the financial projections. If you are an existing business owner, you may already have your financials in place; however, if you are just starting up – financial projections are the key to showing a grant agency what your business may be planning.

The financial projections should include a 3 year plan – generally a balance sheet, cash flow statement and a profit/loss statement.

While this may sound scary – the Business Plan Tool automates the process with expert step by step guidance!

🟩Your PitchDeck Presentation

A PitchDeck is not mandatory – however it is one of the most valuable tools to have to quickly and visually summarize your business model to a potential funding agency or investor – especially small business grant programs.

If you are unsure what a PitchDeck is; it is a 10 to 15 slide presentation, often created in a PowerPoint style tool to help visually summarize your business model to a viewed; with hopes that they are impressed and want to see the financials, the business plan and proceed with the pitch!

While a PitchDeck can often cost upward of $500; you can get one made via the Investor PitchDeck tool real quick.

🟩Knowing the Funding Programs

One of the more challenging steps is knowing which funding programs to apply to. Currently, across Ontario and via the Canadian government, there are over 1,500 different funding programs available. You can review all options in the Funding Database, to narrow down and pick the best options for your business.

The Funding Database includes all small business grants, government loans as well as tax options.

With such a large number of options available, sorting though and filtering down to what you may be eligible for can be a challenge. Working with funding expert who can help is ideal.

For a few ideas of small business grants in Ontario that you can review, take a look at the below few options below, but remember to see the full list of all government grants and government loans to use the Funding Database.

Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)

Provides up to $200,000, or 50% of the total eligible project costs which help stabilize, diversify and foster the economic growth and diversification within the Northern Ontario region. The eligible projects often revolve around being able to create jobs in the Northern Ontario region; and helps with expenses such as leasehold improvements, purchase of tools and equipment, training costs, IT and marketing costs.

FedDev – Regional Innovation Ecosystem

Provides funding in the form of a non-repayable grant from $500,000 to as much as $10 million per project. Generally the applicants include non profit organizations and those entities who help strengthen opportunities and network for rural businesses who support innovation and growth.

Toronto Enterprise Fund

Funding from $10,000 to $30,000 for eligible non profits who are located in the Greater Toronto Area.

Startup Canada Women Entrepreneurship Fund

Small business grant is up to $5,000 to help women entrepreneurs and women led small businesses in the Science Technology, Engineering and Math field.

Ontario Disability Support Program: Employment Supports

A grant program that helps individuals develop and implements a business plan; provides training, assistance with marketing and promotion as well as mentoring in the startup process.

Keep in mind that these are just a few of the many available small business grants currently available in Ontario. For a full listing, assurance searching and guidance, ne sure to use the Funding Database.

Small Business Grants Ontario

How much in grants do you need…

Before you get into it and start your applications, it is a good idea to determine how much in small business grants or funding you need. To apply for funding via government sources you have to be prepared in knowing how much to apply for.

This is often a hard decision to make as you want to make sure you get approved.

So how much funding do you need?

This is something you determine based on your business plan.

What are your business needs?

How much do you need in order to launch your business/start your business, expand your business?

A great way to determine how much funding you need is to look at your business plans startup or expansion costs. Any costs you can’t cover on your own, these are the funds you can ask for.

Generally speaking, the various funding agencies provide a range of funds.

Some provide as little as $1,500 while some can fund an on-going million+ if needed.

Again, this really depends on your funding needs, how much you need and on the program that you apply for.

It is important to follow the have a clear breakdown within your business plan of all of the expenses you may need help with. Doing so will allow you to apply to multiple programs and clearly be able to explain how much you need for each of the business activities you need to have covered.

Remember that there are funds in all industries.

These industries all often get summed up into the below industries categories:

  • Mining
  • Agriculture and Fishing
  • Energy and Water
  • Manufacturing and Engineering
  • Transport, Warehousing and Distribution
  • Construction and Property Services
  • Biotechnology, Medical and Chemical
  • Creative Services and Media
  • Professional and Other Business Services
  • Consumer Products, Personal Services, Retail and Wholesale
  • Recreation, Culture and Tourism
  • Hotels and Restaurants
  • Information Technology and Telecom

While small business grants are available for all businesses within the above mentioned categories and those that slightly fit within them, it is important to determine via funding experts if these funding options available in Ontario and across Canada will be right for your specific business model or not.

What can small business grants be used for?

The small business grants that are available come in many different forms, but most can be used towards a number of different funding expenses that a small business may have. If used in combination with other government funding types, grants can help your business cover costs of:

  • Hiring and Training Costs
  • Purchasing Tools and Equipment
  • To improve Cash-flow and to Cover Startup Costs
  • For Marketing and Advertising
  • and more…

For a full list of what the government grants can be used towards, download the free grants guide PDF below and review all potential expenses your business may cover with the help of these grants.

Government Grants and Funding Purpose

Finding out if you are eligible for a government grant program can be confusing. However, if you know how to look, it really can’t get much simpler.

The grants guide for small businesses will help you understand how to figure out if you’re eligible for any government grants and what you may be eligible for. Download the Grants Guide here.

Business Advice, Funding

13 Viable and Profitable Ideas for Home-Based Businesses

Starting a home-based business venture in Ontario can be both an exciting and challenging experience. Creating a business plan, deciding what to include and what to leave out, can be particularly daunting. However, there are numerous home-based business ideas that Ontarians can leverage, often requiring minimal to no initial investment.

We have researched and compiled a comprehensive list of practical and profitable home-based business ideas specifically suited for residents of Ontario. These ideas are designed to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey, whether you’re applying for funding or starting from scratch.

Download the Free Ontario Home-Based Business Guide

Starting a Home-Based Small Business in Ontario

When choosing from the various home-based business ideas suitable for Ontario, consider the following aspects:

  • Your personal interests and what you enjoy doing.
  • The amount of time you can dedicate to your business.
  • The suitability of the business idea for your lifestyle.
  • Your budget and available funds for the business.

These considerations will help you select the most appropriate home-based business idea for your situation.

Starting a home-based business in Ontario is not necessarily easier or quicker than other business types. While you might save on some startup costs compared to a brick-and-mortar business, a home-based business demands significant time and effort.

Top Home-Based Business Ideas for Ontarians

The following home-based business ideas are gathered from what current Ontarians are doing to create successful businesses. These ideas, if executed well, can be highly profitable:

  1. Start a blog: Blogging about a subject that interests you can lead to a viable home-based business. Monetization can come from advertising, selling products or services, and building an email list for marketing.
  2. Sell products online: Utilize your website, social media, or platforms like Shopify to sell products online. Dropshipping is a popular method where you don’t need to handle the products directly.
  3. Rent out your space: Platforms like Airbnb allow you to make money by renting out a room or your entire home. This can be a lucrative side business or full-time venture.
  4. Drive for ride-sharing or delivery services: Services like Uber, Lyft, or DoorDash offer flexible opportunities to earn income by driving or delivering food.
  5. Freelance writing: Online content creation is in high demand, and freelance writing can be a profitable home-based business in Ontario.
  6. Thrift store and garage sale reselling: Buy low-cost items from thrift stores or garage sales and resell them online for a profit.
  7. Online sales through eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Kijiji: These platforms provide a vast audience for selling various products.
  8. Become a home inspector: With the rising housing market in Ontario, home inspection services are in high demand.
  9. Tutoring: If you have expertise in a particular field, tutoring can be a rewarding and profitable business.
  10. Christmas decorations business: Seasonal businesses like decorating services during the holiday season can be highly profitable.
  11. Mobile oil changes and car washes: Offer convenient services like mobile oil changes and car washes to clients at their homes or workplaces.
  12. Start a home-based daycare: With the right setup and certifications, a daycare can be a profitable business in Ontario.
  13. Photography business: Turn your photography skills into a business by offering services from a home studio or on location.
  14. Cleaning business: Cleaning services, both residential and commercial, can be lucrative with minimal startup costs.

These ideas represent just a few of the many viable options for starting a home-based business in Ontario. Always remember, the first step in any business venture is creating a detailed business plan.

See How Much Funding You Can Get for Your Ontario Home-Based Business

Starting a home-based business in Ontario offers numerous opportunities for success. With careful planning and dedication, these ideas can turn into profitable ventures.


Free Quick-Start Business Plan Canvas: Complete in Just 20 Minutes

streamlining this process for Ontario entrepreneurs, we’ve developed a specialized template: the “20-Minute Business Plan for Ontario Entrepreneurs”. This is not just a template but a comprehensive business plan canvas that you can complete in a mere 20 minutes. It’s designed to jumpstart your business, streamline your funding application process, and more.

Download the 20-Minute Business Plan for Ontario Entrepreneurs – Free Template Now

The 20-Minute Business Plan: Tailored for Ontario’s Dynamic Business Landscape

If the challenge of creating a business plan resonates with you, rest assured you are not alone. Even now, there’s ample opportunity to lay out your business ideas, craft a comprehensive plan, identify funding sources, and start applying for them. It’s never too late to pursue your business aspirations.

The key is to start immediately!

To assist in getting into the entrepreneurial mindset, our Business Model Canvas is the perfect tool. Dubbed the “20-Minute Business Plan”, it encourages you to contemplate the critical aspects of your business – its goals, strategies, and methods of achievement – without delving into the minutiae typically associated with traditional business plans.

This canvas allows you to encapsulate your entire business concept on a single page. It includes 9 concise sections that encompass all the fundamental elements of any business: offerings, team, customer base, partnerships, and revenue streams.

The Business Model Canvas you develop will offer clarity on your business’s driving forces, the flexibility to adapt and experiment, and the transparency needed for effective decision-making.

Download the 20 minute Business Plan right here

Seize this opportunity to download your Business Model Canvas and dedicate 20 minutes to realizing your 2024 business objectives in Ontario. The accompanying instructions will guide you through each section of the canvas, helping you uncover the next steps for your small business.

If you’ve already used a Business Model Canvas, we also offer other valuable resources:

  • Small Business Funding Course
  • Fishing For Funds: A Startup Funding Checklist
  • Funding Program Fact-Sheet: The Canada Small Business Financing Program
  • Business Plan Essentials

Ready to embark on your Business Model Canvas journey? If you encounter any questions, our team is here to assist you every step of the way. Best of luck in your entrepreneurial endeavours in Ontario!

Business Advice, Business Planning

Ontario Government Funding Checklist

Securing financial support is a pivotal step for the success of small businesses, especially in Ontario. The Ontario Small Business Government Funding Checklist serves as an indispensable tool for local entrepreneurs seeking to navigate the complexities of procuring government funding. This checklist, tailored specifically for Ontario-based businesses, aligns with the government of Canada’s programs but with a provincial focus.

Download the Ontario Small Business Government Funding Checklist

Embarking on the journey of securing government funding can seem daunting. The Ontario Small Business Government Funding Checklist simplifies this process. By filling out the form below, you gain free access to this essential resource, crafted to assist your Ontario-based small business in starting the government funding process effectively.

Click here to download the Funding Checklist

Why Focus on Ontario?

Ontario, as Canada’s most populous province, is a hub of entrepreneurial activity. The provincial government, recognizing the role of small businesses in driving economic growth, offers various funding options. These options are designed to foster innovation, create jobs, and support the entrepreneurial spirit across Ontario.

Understanding the Ontario Government Funding Checklist

The Ontario Small Business Government Funding Checklist is more than just a document; it’s a strategic guide designed to navigate the often-complex path to securing government funding. It focuses on four crucial aspects:

  1. Your Business Plan: A robust business plan is the foundation of your funding journey. This section helps you craft a plan that aligns with funding requirements.
  2. Funding Needs Assessment: Understanding the specific financial needs of your business is vital. This part of the checklist helps you articulate these needs clearly.
  3. Starting the Funding Search: Ontario offers a range of funding options. This step guides you through identifying the most suitable programs for your business.
  4. Funding Application Process: The final step involves navigating the application process. The checklist offers insights to avoid common pitfalls that lead to rejection.

The Importance of the Checklist

Navigating government funding options can be overwhelming. In Ontario, the diversity and specificity of programs mean that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. This checklist is tailored to help you understand and meet the unique requirements of each funding opportunity.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

It’s important to note that over 80% of government funding applications are refused, often due to errors in the application process. The Ontario Small Business Government Funding Checklist is designed to help you avoid these common mistakes, thereby increasing your chances of success.

Getting Started

The first step is simple but crucial: download the Ontario Small Business Government Funding Checklist. This free resource is your gateway to understanding and successfully navigating the funding landscape in Ontario.

Fill out the form below to gain instant access to this vital tool and begin your journey towards securing the funding your business needs to thrive.

Download the Ontario Small Business Government Funding Checklist – FREE

Securing government funding in Ontario doesn’t have to be a complex maze. With the Ontario Small Business Government Funding Checklist, you’re equipped with a clear, step-by-step guide to navigating this process. Whether you’re starting a new business or looking to expand, this checklist is your key to unlocking the financial support you need for your entrepreneurial journey in Ontario.

Business Planning

Understanding Government Grants in Ontario

Government grants in Ontario offer a diverse range of financial assistance programs to individuals, organizations, and businesses. These grants are designed to support various sectors including education, health, technology, and community development. Understanding how these grants work, their eligibility criteria and the application process is crucial for successful access.

Types of Government Grants Available in Ontario

Ontario’s government provides various grants, each catering to different needs and sectors. Some of the prominent types of grants include:

  • Business Grants: Aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and innovation, these grants support start-ups and established businesses in areas like technology, export, and job creation.
  • Educational Grants: These are designed to support students, educators, and institutions in achieving educational goals, including scholarships, research funds, and infrastructure development grants.
  • Community and Non-Profit Grants: Aimed at enhancing community services, these grants support non-profit organizations in areas like social services, arts, and environmental conservation.
  • Healthcare Grants: These grants focus on improving healthcare services and research in Ontario, supporting hospitals, research institutions, and public health initiatives.

Eligibility Criteria for Government Grants

Eligibility varies based on the grant type. Generally, it includes:

  • Residency: Most grants require applicants to be residents of Ontario.
  • Sector-Specific Requirements: Certain grants are sector-specific, requiring applicants to operate within specified industries or fields.
  • Financial Need: Some grants are aimed at those demonstrating financial need.
  • Project Relevance: Many grants require the proposed project or initiative to align with specific goals or priorities of the grant program.

Application Process for Government Grants

The application process for government grants in Ontario typically involves several steps:

  1. Research and Selection: Identify the right grant program that aligns with your needs and goals.
  2. Prepare Required Documents: This often includes business plans, project proposals, and financial statements.
  3. Submit Application: Follow the specific guidelines for submission provided by the grant program.
  4. Wait for Evaluation: Applications undergo a review process, which varies in length depending on the grant.

Real-Time Data and Success Stories

Incorporating real-time data can significantly enhance your grant application. For example, if applying for a business grant, include current market analysis, financial projections, and evidence of potential growth. Success stories can also be a powerful tool. For instance, a technology start-up in Toronto received a government grant in 2023, leading to a 40% increase in employment and a significant contribution to the local economy.

Navigating Challenges and Common Mistakes

Applying for government grants can be challenging. Common mistakes include:

  • Misunderstanding Eligibility Criteria: Ensure you fully understand the criteria before applying.
  • Incomplete Applications: Always provide complete and accurate information.
  • Lack of Clarity in Proposals: Clearly articulate your goals, methods, and expected outcomes.
  • Ignoring Deadlines: Be mindful of application deadlines.

Utilizing Resources and Support

Various resources are available to assist in the grant application process:

  • Government Websites: Offer detailed information on different grant programs.
  • Workshops and Seminars: Provide insights and tips on grant writing and application processes.
  • Consultation Services: Professional grant writers and consultants can offer expert guidance.

Maximizing Your Chances of Success

To increase your chances of obtaining a government grant in Ontario:

  • Tailor Your Application: Customize your application to align with the grant’s objectives.
  • Demonstrate Impact: Show how the grant will benefit not just you, but the community or sector.
  • Seek Feedback: Before submitting, get feedback from peers or mentors.
  • Stay Persistent: If unsuccessful, seek feedback and consider reapplying in the future.

Getting Government Grants in Ontario

This section should delve into specific strategies and steps to successfully apply for and obtain government grants in Ontario. It will combine practical advice, insights from successful grant recipients, and guidance on navigating the system effectively.

Navigating the world of government grants in Ontario can be complex but rewarding. By understanding the types of grants available, meeting eligibility criteria, and following a structured application process, you can significantly enhance your chances of success. Remember, these grants are designed to foster growth and development in various sectors, and by accessing

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