Update: The Ontario Self-Employment Benefit (OSEB) was closed in 2016. View our Startup Resources page to find additional government funding programs for young startups.
The Ontario Government has introduced a new program that is intended to assist job seeking Canadians who wish to start their own businesses. The program is called the Ontario Self-Employment Benefit (OSEB) and it is provided to unemployed Canadians who possess a viable business proposal and wish to make it into a reality. This program applies to those individuals who have a business concept but require financial assistance and professional guidance to assist them throughout the initial phases of the business start-up process. This program is mainly directed towards those who have recently become unemployed through no fault of their own and do not have any previous self-employment experience or training.
Ontario Government Funding Assistance
If the applicant is accepted; the OSEB will provide the individual’s weekly salary and the funding necessary for small enterprise counselling and training. The amount of the individual’s weekly earnings will be similar to that which was provided by the Employment Insurance Regular Benefit program. The salary received will depend on the wages of the individual from their previous employer. The amount will be equal to or above the rate of provincial basic living allowance ($423/week). The program’s assistance will last for 42 weeks, during that time there will be a 10 week course provided where participants will develop their business plan with the guidance of trained professionals. In order to be eligible the participant must invest at least 25% of the amount provided through government funding into the business.
Applicant Eligibility for Government Funding Ontario
- Must be currently receiving Employment Insurance Benefits, or
- Currently unemployed and has received EI benefits within the past 36 months, or
- Currently unemployed and re-entering the workforce after maternity or paternity leave
- Lacking previous entrepreneurial experience or training
- Has a viable business proposal or concept
Those who have already made a detailed business plan or have begun their business start-up process (purchased software/supplies etc.), before being accepted into the program will usually not be considered eligible by the OSEB Coordinator.
Apply for Small Business Funding Grants
The Ontario Self Employment Benefit program is no longer accepting applications. If you’re an entrepreneur seeking funding for your startup business, please consult Mentor Works’ listing of startup resources.