DISCLAIMER on July 12, 2021: The Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) is no longer in operation and as their website now directs to the general Ontario government’s Business and Economy page.
Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) – businesses with fewer than 500 employees – represent the overwhelming majority of economic activity in Canada. These businesses are agile, innovative, and helping to create jobs throughout the Canadian economy. As a result, the government of Ontario has deployed services and programming to support entrepreneurship and business growth.
The Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) provides Ontario-based startups and small businesses with a range of services and programming to help them start and grow their business.
ONE acts as the primary Ontario entrepreneur network, and can help business owners, prospective entrepreneurs, and innovators connect to the business community. Their services are primarily targeted to helping you start a business, grow a business, and finance a business.
Ontario Entrepreneur Startup Support
ONE provides a range of startup support services to help prospective business owners get started on their journey. The Network provides helpful online services as well as in-person support for further mentorship and consultation.
Key supports for starting your business include:
- An e-business toolkit to learn about business strategy and how to develop a business plan.
- Detailed guides to various Provincial and Federal regulations to help you navigate the government and legal processes around starting a business.
- A detailed guide to starting your own business to help you understand the process and what it takes to get a business off the ground.
Ontario Entrepreneurship Programs for Growth
If you’ve already started a business, you can utilize ONE’s growth services to help you improve your business model and attain sustainable growth. Through their online tools and guidebooks as well as direct consultation and support, Ontario entrepreneurs can get access to critical resources that will support their development.
Early-stage businesses that are ready for growth can also be connected to other Ontario entrepreneurship programs. ONE can help directly connect you to incubators and other support groups that will provide mentorship and growth services. This includes connecting you to the Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) network in Ontario and helping you find a place within an incubator.
Financing Services for Ontario Startups
ONE’s extensive network of financing programs can help you fund your growth. While Mentor Works can help established companies secure grants and incentives for growth, ONE can connect early stage businesses to a range of financing and funding options to help you get your business started and financed through the earliest and riskiest stages of your business.
ONE is also connected to the Angel Network Program and can help you prepare for external investment when your business is ready.
Supporting the Canadian Startup Economy
Canada and Ontario rank among the world leaders for startup infrastructure. StartupBlink ranks Toronto as the 11th best startup ecosystem in the world. This is partially due to the wider infrastructure of supports that helps to foster entrepreneurial activity.
Groups such as ONE and the RIC system help prospective business owners get their businesses started, commercialize new products and innovations, and create jobs.
Canadian Small Business Funding Checklist
Because startups generally have fewer funding options than mature businesses, early-stage companies should focus on how to grow and qualify for some of the more basic funding programs available.
To guide your understanding of the eligibility factors your company must comply with to receive funding, we’ve developed a resource that’ll help you track towards being funding-eligible.