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.