Canadian Startup Grants for Research, Hiring and Training

Ontario has established itself as one of Canada’s most attractive regions to start a new business. The area’s access to skilled talent and the availability to receive financial support through Ontario Government Grants for Small Business are some of the province’s most attractive attributes. These features are intended to attract and support the growth small businesses while increasing job creation and prosperity within the province.

Yet for many startups and early-stage businesses, it can be difficult to access funding to support growth. Canadian government funding is available for startups, but it can take considerable effort to search for these programs, learn how to develop a competitive application, then submit a request for startup grants or loans. Fortunately, resources exist to support entrepreneurs and startups to navigate this process and access funding more easily.

Canadian Small Business Startup Grants and Loans

For startups, there are two main types of government funding that are accessible without being incorporated, without having many employees, or past revenues to show. These include startup funding for hiring and training, and startup funding for research and development. Through these programs, startups can begin infusing tens of thousands of dollars into their strategic growth plans.

To find out what you need to do in order to qualify for additional small business grants, download a free funding checklist.

Business Startup Grants for Small Business Hiring and Training

Small business owners are attracted to Ontario’s close proximity to a large talent pool of skilled graduates from Ontario’s post-secondary institutions. The Ontario Government also provides several opportunities to subsidize the costs of hiring these graduates through lucrative wage subsidy programs as well as small business funding grants for post-secondary collaboration.

Ontario Small Business Grants for Hiring: Eligibility Requirements

While additional eligibility criteria exists for each specific program, the following are general requirements for most 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 Grants to Support Your Upcoming 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.

Canadian Government Funding 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 government provides several business funding grants for the development and commercialization of innovative products or technologies. Some of these would include:

  • MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF): Entrepreneurs can receive up to $500K in a fully-repayable business grant for the early stage development and commercialization of an innovative product or technology. Businesses would be expected to repay the full amount within three years at an interest rate one above prime with a 5% equity position.
  • IRAP Accelerated Review Process (ARP): The ARP program provides up to $50K in non-repayable business funding grants; covering 80% of the direct labour and 50% of the sub-contractors or a technical research and development project. Funding could apply to product design, marketing, productivity, improvements, and software implementation.

Next Steps for Government Small Business Grants

Startups and young businesses can access additional information on how to qualify for Canadian government funding programs by downloading the free Startup Funding Checklist.

Canadian Government Funding for Startups

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Written by

Mike is a Business Development Intern with Mentor Works. He is currently in the midst of receiving his Undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo’s Environment & Business Co-op Program. He plans to specialize his degree in Economics and Environmental Finance.

Comments 29

23 May 2012 Reply

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.

12 February 2014 Reply

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?

12 February 2014 Reply

Hello Adam,
Thank you for visiting our blog!
I believe you should begin by downloading our government funding for start-ups checklist ( )-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!

6 May 2014 Reply

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?

7 May 2014 Reply

Hello Steph,

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 . For young people living in other parts of Ontario, CYBF 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:

23 July 2014 Reply

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

24 July 2014 Reply

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?

28 July 2014 Reply

Hi Mark,

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: and sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already. Best of luck to you!

28 July 2014 Reply

Hi Kim,
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:

28 March 2018 Reply

hello, I want to open a beauty salon in Toronto, please tell me what Ineed to do to get help, thanks

29 March 2018 Reply

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.

31 March 2018 Reply


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

2 April 2018 Reply

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!

3 June 2018 Reply

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.

4 June 2018 Reply

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:

4 July 2018 Reply

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?

5 July 2018 Reply

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!

17 August 2018 Reply

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.

20 August 2018 Reply

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!

8 October 2018 Reply

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!

9 October 2018 Reply

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.

17 December 2018 Reply

Hi there

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

2 January 2019 Reply

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.

19 February 2019 Reply

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?

20 February 2019 Reply

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:
All the best with your new endeavor!

10 February 2020 Reply

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.
Thank you

12 February 2020 Reply

Hello Daniel,

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.

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