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So you’ve decided that small business ownership is for you; or perhaps you already have a small business that you are looking to grow. Either way, you probably need funding to get you to the next step. Accessing small business grants in Ontario which are offered through the government is one of the ways to get your small business funded and moving in the right direction.

The only challenge with Ontario small business grants and loans is finding them, knowing if they are right for your business and the actual application process. So let’s get to know more about the funding options and get your small business prepared with some small business grant tips.

Before we get any further, the general public consensus is that small business grants in Ontario simply don’t exist. If you are one of those people, quick – get off that wagon and read on.

Government funding is 100% real, offered through various funding agencies of the local, provincial and federal government, in combination they provide billions of dollars in funding each year to startup and existing small businesses all across Canada. Government funding comes in many forms, provides funding for nearly all industries of business and for many funding purposes which you will learn more about as you read on.

The Ontario government along with the Canadian government provides this “government funding” in order to help stimulate the economy, to create jobs and simply to give back to the people. The funding that is offered often comes in the form of small business grants, but can also be in the form of government loans, tax breaks or tax credits, incentives as well as training and consulting.

Who is eligible for small business grants in Ontario?

The big question! Who is eligible for government grants in Ontario?

Well truth be told there are hundreds of funding programs that help small business owners across Ontario; be it from the Ontario government or the Canadian government, however there is no real way of telling you who is eligible and who is not without first knowing about the specific program, or the program criteria and qualifications.

As each funding program in Ontario is different, the requirements and qualification/eligibility criteria vary from program to program.

The basic eligibility requirements that are the same for all funding programs in Ontario include:

  • You must have a registered business (or be ready to register your business upon applying)
  • You must be a Canadian citizen
  • You must be in the valid industry (that the Canadian government recognizes)
  • You must be seeking funding assistance for valid funding purposes

It is critical for a small business owner to also note that while small business grants in Ontario are available for various industries and funding needs; grants are not the only source of funding. Focusing your search on just grants will not end in as much success in obtaining funding as it would if you were to seek other types of funding programs as well such as loans, tax breaks, wage subsidies and more.

The previous mentioned public consensus that small business grants and funding do not exist, often arise in the section of “who is eligible for funding”. Often brought on by those who have applied and gotten denied for government funding, the belief forms that funding is not available. However, those who get denied funding by the Ontario government are often denied for simple reasons such as:

  • Not having a business
  • Not completing the application forms properly
  • Not having a business plan
  • Applying to the wrong program
  • Applying for way too much money
  • Applying too late
  • Applying for the wrong reasons

While funding is available, it is not available for everyone. So let’s take a minute to learn more about what funding is available for in Ontario.

What is small business funding in Ontario available for?

While many business owners get small business funding in Ontario, it does not mean that funding is available for everyone, in every industry and for every single purpose you can think of.

Government loans are much easier to obtain than government grants, simply because more programs offered by the government are loans and they are also available for more funding purposes.

This is something to keep in mind when searching for Ontario grants – a wider range of programs are available when you don’t just focus on government grant programs.

If you are thinking that you will simply apply for a government grant in order to update your pickup truck and get a brand new one – think again!

Government funding (specifically government grants) are handed out to business owners who show that they are using the funds to create jobs, to put back into the economy, to make a healthier and more sustainable environment. Think hiring, training, eco friendly, technology, farming and more. If you are looking to use grants towards advertising, renovation of your store, to buy a business – this is most likely not going to happen (but still could – depending on the program).

When searching for small business funding in Ontario keep in mind that funding may be available to help you:

  • Startup or Expand Your Small Business
  • Hire and Train Your Employees
  • Help You Pay for Employees
  • Pay for Marketing and Advertising
  • Pay for Tools, Equipment and Supplies
  • Help You Improve Cash Flow
  • Help You Import and Export
  • and more…

Now that you know what small business grants and funding may be available for, the next step is actually finding the funding programs.

How to find small business grants and funding programs in Ontario?

One of the greatest challenges startups and existing business owners in Ontario have is actually locating the small business grants and other funding programs.

While the Ontario government website is a great resource, it does not provide users with an easy way to locate all of the available funding programs for small business owners in Ontario.

As a small business owner in Ontario, you may also be eligible for funding programs that are outside of Ontario but provide funding to Ontario small businesses. This is often a trick to use when you can’t locate funding in your own province, to remember that there are many funding programs that are federal and provide funding across the country.

When it comes to finding small business grants and other programs in Ontario, it’s not as easy as just looking it up on Google. It’s extremely hard since each funding program is often handled and managed by a different agency and each one of these programs/agencies have their own website, have their own way of marketing (or not marketing) the page – so unless you know exactly where to look and how to look, you will never find the programs.

This is another reason why so many negative beliefs exist around small business government funding, especially in Ontario.

Many small business owners from within Ontario often turn to their local government, municipal offices and such in order to ask for small business grants or government funding – and are often told no funding exists. However this is one of the first mistakes that people make.

A local office only knows local availability. Some may know a bit more, but they are not required to know much more.

Now think of it like this, consider a small business owner from Burlington, Ontario goes to the local municipal office and asks for a government grant. They will 99.9% of the time be told, sorry there is no government funding. This may be true for the city of Burlington, but is it true for other cities surrounding the area? Is it true for the rest of Ontario? Is it true for the rest of the Canadian government programs that provide funding across Canada, which may include the city of Burlington?

The problem is that nobody thinks that far out – so here is your chance to consider it all when searching for small business grants in Ontario.

The easiest way to find funding programs for your small business in Ontario is to simplify the search. Know exactly what you need funding for, know your industry and when you need the funding by – this will give you a chance to narrow down your search. A highly recommended resource is to use the Funding Database offered by; as it’s the #1 rated business funding database on Google, it’s extremely powerful and provides small businesses in Ontario with access to all available government grants, government loans, tax breaks and private investors.

Now that you know who is eligible for small business funding, what is available in terms of funding and how to find it, the next step is to get some helpful tips to get you to find funding in Ontario easier.

Need funding for your small business?

    Finding Small Business Grants in Ontario Tips

    Tip 1: Create a business plan to know exactly what you need funding for, how much you need and when you need it by. This will allow you and your small business to break down your funding needs and help you save time when searching through hundreds of available funding programs.

    Tip 2: When searching for funding programs, don’t just search for small business grants in Ontario, but instead allow yourself to review all available funding programs such as low interest and no interest loans, tax breaks, tax credits, consulting and guidance programs as well as wage subsidies. Doing so greatly increases your chances of successfully obtaining funding for your Ontario small business.

    Tip 3: Start your funding search now instead of waiting for the time you actually need funding. Searching and applying for government funding is a long process, so don’t wait until the last minute.

    Tip 4: Don’t search for programs that are available and try to match your funding needs to it; instead, search for programs that are available for the purposes that you need. Only ask for money that you need – not money that you want.

    Tip 5: When finding small business grants and loan programs for your Ontario small business, don’t just apply to any and every program. Only apply to those programs that you meet the requirements for. This will save you a lot of time and will result in greater success

    What are the general needs to getting small business grants and funding in Ontario?

    Once you are ready to take the next step and actually apply for small business grants in Ontario, remember that you should only apply to those programs that you meet the criteria for. As each funding program is different, you will have to review the funding program to learn the criteria, the qualifying factors and the requirements before you actually apply.

    Some of the general needs you must have before you apply; similar to what was stated above include: having a business plan completed that clearly shows your funding requirements; you must have a fair to good credit score (even though this is not a deciding factor); you must apply on time, for the correct funding program, for the correct funding need and on time (before the program deadline).

    Another thing to keep in mind when applying for funding for your Ontario small business – don’t seek funding just because. Only look for funding when you actually need it; as when the funding is provided it can only be used for that specific purpose which was initially applied and obtained for.  Improperly using Ontario government funding may result in having to pay it back so it is very important to only seek money that you need.

    What’s next?

    To get a little bit of extra help when you are searching for small business funding programs in Ontario; you can always get expert advice.

    Our team of small business experts here at Ontario Startups help you start your business, to build your business plan, to search for small business grants in Ontario, loans, tax breaks and private investment programs, as you will have access to all available funding programs in Ontario and the rest of Canada.  Not only that, but you will have access to Ontario based small business experts who can assist you, guide you and help answer any questions you may have. So don’t wait any longer to find Ontario small business grants and loans for your small business, get expert help now.

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