Startup Funding: Up to $35,000 Available for Entrepreneurs via SmartStart

InnovationFedDev Ontario recently announced the launch of a new fund to support entrepreneurs. The SmartStart Seed Fund (SmartStart) launched with a pool of $9M to support entrepreneurs in the technology sector or companies with innovative ideas. The program provides seed financing for entrepreneurship skills training to help young business owners grow their company and make them market ready. This fund is co-funded through FedDev Ontario and the government of Ontario through the Ontario Youth Jobs Strategy.

Who Can Apply?

This exciting Ontario startup grant is available to entrepreneurs aged 18-29 who are either students or recent graduates affiliated with Campus Linked Accelerators (CLA) or On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) programs, or young entrepreneurs from across Ontario with technology or innovation-based startups.

Objectives of SmartStart Funding for Startups:

This funding program is a direct investment in young entrepreneurs to help get their business off the ground. The program objectives include:

  • Support for young entrepreneurs to grow their business;
  • Support for technology and innovation-focused products and solutions;
  • Generate job creation, revenue generation, and follow-on investment;
  • Provide youth-led businesses with access to expertise, advise, and business networks; and
  • Accelerate time to market for new and innovative products/solutions.

What type of Funding is Available?

In this first round of funding, young entrepreneurs can receive up to $35,000 of project expenses per startup to launch and grow their business. The funding is disbursed as follows:

  • $30,000 in seed financing, must be matched 1:1 by the business.
  • $5,000 in skills training, advisory and mentorship services.

This finding is ideal for companies who are in the very early-stages with scientific and technical validations as well as market feasibility of the product or service determined.

How to Apply?

Funding for the SmartStart program is provided by a number of partners and entrepreneurs must identify the region and industry focus that will best support their business. Applications must be submitted directly to a SmartStart partner and the process varies between partnerships.

Learn More about Startup Funding Opportunities

If you own a startup and are looking for help in locating funding opportunities and learning more about programs available to help your business, Mentor Works is one of many resources that can help. While our support services for startups are generally quite limited, we’ve created a Startup Funding Checklist that you can use to position your business for funding success.

Canadian Government Funding for Startups


  1. Hi there,
    I’m very interested through my startup to learn more about where these “partners” are that can help us apply for this SmartStart program. We’re Ryerson-incubated and student-driven startup located in downtown Toronto, if that clarifies things.

    Thanks for your help!

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