Ontario Government Grants for Small Businesses
There’s a reason that Ontario currently has the highest number of active small businesses (1-99 employees) as compared to any other province in Canada. Ontario’s high growth in small businesses is present in every sector due to continued support from government funding programs towards the economic wellbeing and success of the province’s business owners and entrepreneurs. The government funding initiatives outlined in this blog exist to boost Ontario’s job creation and provide space for businesses to succeed in innovative projects.
To learn more about what your business can do in order to qualify for small business government grants, download our free Funding Checklist.
Despite the multitude of funding support available, it can be difficult for small businesses to access grants to support their growth. Canadian government funding is primarily available for established small businesses such as those that have been incorporated for more than three years and have a steady revenue stream, but financial support is also available for startups and entrepreneurs.
For businesses looking for funding opportunities, it can take significant effort to search through available programs, learn how to develop a competitive application, and then submit a request for grants and/or loans. Fortunately, our resources exist to support small business owners as they navigate the process and access funding.
Government Grants for Ontario Small Business Support
Small business support in the form of government funding comes in many shapes and sizes, but arguably the most important grants that are currently available are those that support the recovery from impacts caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. These are grants that offset costs associated with employee wages, protective personal equipment (PPE), and adjustments to abide by physical distancing guidelines. Here are a few available grant programs for Ontario small businesses to take advantage of:
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS): Eligible Ontario businesses impacted by COVID-19 can apply to offset up to 75% of employee wages.
- Ontario Resilience Fund: Eligible municipalities and non-profit organizations can receive between $5,000 to $150,000 in COVID-19 government funding grants.
- Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF): Not-for-profit businesses can receive grants of up to $75,000 and 100% of costs for community-based projects, and $200,000 for National/Provincial projects.
For a full list of government funding support for Ontario small businesses during the pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Support Page.
Ontario Grants for Small Business Hiring and Training
Small business owners in Ontario have access to a large talent pool of skilled graduates from Ontario’s top-class post-secondary institutions. The Ontario Government provides several opportunities to subsidize the costs of hiring and training graduates through lucrative wage subsidy programs as well as small business funding grants for post-secondary collaboration.
Hiring and Training Grants: Eligibility Requirements
While additional eligibility criteria do exist for each specific program, the following are general requirements for the majority of small business hiring grants programs:
- Employees must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or have been granted refugee status;
- Employees must be 15-29 years of age;
- The employment period must be between 3-12 months;
- Must provide eligible work experience;
- For the majority of programs, employees must be a recent graduate of a post-secondary institution (within past 5 years).
Discover government grants to support your new and incoming hires; use the Wage Subsidy Identifier contact form to tell us more about your ideal candidates, and we’ll identify small business grants to help offset their wages.
Ontario Business Grants for Research and Development
Once a small business has secured a team of skilled individuals, their next step would be to develop or commercialize their product or service. The provincial government of Ontario provides several business grants for the development and commercialization of innovative products or technologies. Some of these current programs include:
- Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC): Canadian innovators can access grants and procurement contracts to research and develop solutions for government COVID-19 challenges.
- Mitacs Offering 3-to-1 Investment Ratio for COVID-19 R&D Projects: Mitacs offers a 3-to-1 investment ratio to support Canadian researchers to develop solutions to COVID-19.
Next Steps for Accessing Ontario Small Business Grants
Small business owners in Ontario can access additional information on how to qualify for federal and provincial government funding programs by downloading our free Funding Checklist.
Download the Government Funding Checklist from Mentor Works to set your startup or entrepreneur business up for successful funding applications down the road.
Very good initiative from the government and lets give credit to that, hope that there will be more programs that will help not only in business sector but also for individuals.
Hi! I am trying to open a new business in general contracting. I would really like to hear more about government grants to assist small business owners on their start up. Could you please email me some information on grant opportunities that might help me in my endeavors?
Thank you for visiting our blog!
I believe you should begin by downloading our government funding for start-ups checklist (www.mentorworks.ca/startups/ )-to see what you need to do on your end in order to qualify. Keep in mind, for startups, with no employees you are likely to have few options aside from loans, and grants for hiring. However, mind you that some of the grants for hiring are as much as $20K or more.
Thanks again for stopping by, and best of luck to you!
I am a young person wanting to open up a boarding kennel for dogs. I am wondering what government funding there is available for young business owners to start up their business. Could you please give me some advice?
Thank you for stopping by our blog. It depends on a number of factors, including where it is that you live. For example, for those living in Northern Ontario I would check out funding available through NOHFC https://www.mentorworks.ca/tag/northern-ontario-heritage-fund-corporation-nohfc/ . For young people living in other parts of Ontario, CYBF https://www.mentorworks.ca/blog/government-funding/startup-funding-canadian-government-cybf-09-2013/ is an alternative for those having trouble finding a loan through a bank. And before you go, don’t forget to download our free government funding for start-ups checklist, found here: http://www.mentorworks.ca/startups/
I have been running a mail order business for the past 10 years and am now ready to make it into a brick and mortar store. Can someone point me in the right direction to find any grants that I may be entitled to try for. I really need to find out so I can this launched sooner than later. I just need some guidance. thanks in advance. Mark Fisher
I wish to open a business devoted to the preservation of a historical mining site. The business involves scientific research as well as the historical documentation. Which grants should I expect some level of success?
Thank you very much for visiting our blog, and for leaving a comment. Unfortunately, government funding does not cover retail expansion – unless in a few cases of which the recipient must either manufacture and/or perform R&D in Canada. However, your non-sales positions may qualify for funding for hiring – I would check out some of the programs listed here: https://www.mentorworks.ca/tag/wage-subsidies/ and sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for your comment. Wow, sounds interesting. I am quite sure I haven’t yet heard of a business quite like yours. It depends. If you are primarily in tourism and/or retail then I am afraid there is not much available. However, seeing as you are in Northern, ON (If I am not mistaken!) definitely check out funding programs offered through NOHFC, in particular their funding for start-ups: http://ow.ly/zFYAf
hello, I want to open a beauty salon in Toronto, please tell me what Ineed to do to get help, thanks
Hi Tetyana, we recommend contacting a City of Toronto Small Business Centre. These offices can support a range of startup-related inquiries (including funding) specific to your new business.
I have a passion for a good craft beer. I’m currently doing homebrews, working on recipe development and attempting to extend my craft from homebrew to small business. Any support of funding from programs in Ontario in regards to such a start up ?
Thanks in advance
Hi Sherlanne, craft beer startups are not currently a focus for federal or provincial government funding programs. However, for your situation, I’d highly recommend exploring local colleges with on-site breweries such as Niagara College. These facilities can help startup brewers develop their formulas and run smaller batches prior to scaling to full facility production. Hope this helps!
Hi, this is Tashi. My father has extensive experience working in a cafe setting and now wants to start his own cafe. Can this program help him? I saw your checklist form, in the email section it ask for corporate email and no gmail. He has not opened his business yet, how else can he download the checklist? Thank you.
Hi Tashi – Thanks for the question! Startups and early-stage businesses have specific resources available to them. Your best bet is to explore the options available on our Startup Resources page here: https://www.mentorworks.ca/startup-resources
Hello, I’m very interested in downloading the checklist for business start up. However, if you don’t have a business e-mail, which is my case, it doesn’t allow you to access it. Any other way to get it?
Hello Susana, thanks for notifying us about this issue. We’ve modified our download form for the checklist so you can now use a generic email to access it. Thanks – we hope you find it valuable! https://www.mentorworks.ca/startups
Hi there, my brother in-law and I are wanting to start up our own landscaping company focusing on the smaller aspects like tree trimming, grass cutting, flower beds, stump removal, hedge trimming, etc.. But we are not sure where or how to start. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Nathan, thanks for reaching out. At this stage, your best bet is to access a local small business enterprise centre (SBEC). They provide support to startups during their initial years of development and operation. Entrepreneurs have easy access to business consulting services and information covering management, marketing, technology and financing. Hope this helps!
Hi, I’ve been formulating ideas and researching to start an online natural products retail business. I’m in the process of writing out the business models, setting up websites/social media, looking for actual products and containers, etc. Basically forecasting startup costs and such. Where can I look to get funding to start this, I would love to do this! Thank you!
Hi Leona. You may have the most success using a local small business enterprise centre (SBEC). They provide support to startups during their initial years of development and operation. Entrepreneurs have easy access to business consulting services and information covering management, marketing, technology and financing. Once your business has demonstrated success and has been incorporated for a few years, then it’ll make more sense to explore government funding programs to support your growth.
My wife created uber for women which she had couple hundred ladies signup for the service ones its operational. She has gone through the insurance process and city process, howevet now she is stuck on ways she can pay for all the licensing requirement. Is there any grants out there to help with women driven startup? Its obvious women want this service as people are always asking her when it will live
Hi Osman, thanks for your inquiry. Most government grants and loans are positioned towards established businesses with 2+ years of operational success. As our services are not catered towards startups, I’d advise you to contact your local Small Business Enterprise Centre (Ontario) to learn more about early-stage startup funding. https://www.ontario.ca/page/small-business-enterprise-centre-and-community-based-provider-locations
Hi there, My name is Johan.
I am looking to start a business that makes “living a fit and healthy lifestyle” much more convenient.
This would be a subscription based business for both members and consumers.
I need help. Where do I begin?
Hi Johan, while Mentor Works provides the most value to established businesses interested in applying for government funding, there are several startup resources that you should investigate.
We would recommend that you refer to this webpage on our site for a list of startup resources you might be able to tap into: https://www.mentorworks.ca/startup-resources/
All the best with your new endeavor!
I have a martial arts academy in a shared space. We are at maximum capacity for last 5 months and have been open for a year.
We need funding for a bigger space updated equipment and some staff.
The funding landscape has evolved considerably since this program was first made available. I would suggest filling out a contact form on our website here so that we can connect you with a member of our team that will help you find out more about the programs that are relevant to you.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Hi im curious if there is any grants for plumbing and heating companies. I just opened my company last year and would like to know if there is any grants for equipment purchases.
Hi Ryan – Congratulations on your new business! Mentor Works focuses solely on government funding for Canadian businesses who have been incorporated for 3+ years and have 15+ payroll employees, however we would recommend referring to the Startup Resources available to you as a startup.
Hi i have a home decor retail store for the past 6 years and not sure what i can qualify for i had to close on December 26 2020 due to being non-essential and lock down.
Hi, I start my business ,in may 2020But, i have a difficult time to continue, operating, my question is how I can get a help, from you?
Hi Guillermo – While Mentor Works is not affiliated with the government and does not administer government funding, we do help established businesses discover and access funding to grow their business. As it turns out, we aren’t specialized to support startups, however we recommend that you refer to the list of Startup Resources available to young companies like yours. All the best.