Most Canadian government funding programs are targeted towards small to mid-sized enterprises, which generally excludes entrepreneurs and young startup businesses. Fortunately, there are other resources available to help startups build a foundation for growth and success.
Startups and small businesses that asks Mentor Works about government funding programs can typically receive better startup-oriented support from other organizations. By accessing these resources, startups will be well on their way to receiving their first government funding grant or loan.
Canadian Startup and Small Business Resources
Business Incubators Across Canada
Business incubators are organizations and programs that give start-ups and very early stage companies access to investors, start-up funding, mentorship, shared office space, and technical resources to help them get established. Incubators may be funded by the government, supported through membership fees, or provide support in exchange for equity in companies.
Canadian Technology Accelerators
Canadian tech organizations seeking to expand their business into foreign markets who are need of support can look to the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program, which helps companies that have an established product or service and wish to export and expand into international markets. CTAs are located in major international tech hubs, and provide small tech companies with mentoring and workspace, as well as introductions to potential investors, partners, and customers.
Canada Small Business Financing Program
Your small business or startup could receive up to $1 million in repayable funding from financial institutions to carry out business expansion projects, such as purchasing new equipment or performing leasehold improvements. Learn if you’re eligible.
Futurpreneur: Youth Start-up Resources, Mentoring, and Financing
Futurpreneur Canada is a business support service that has been fueling the entrepreneurial passions of Canada’s young enterprise for nearly two decades. They are the only national, non-proﬁt organization that provides ﬁnancing ($20,000 + $40,000 from BDC), mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. The Government of Canada has invested $20.1M in this Futurpreneur to support youth entrepreneurs during COVID-19.
Research Innovation Centres (RICs) & Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) Programs/Services
The full suite of Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) programs and services can be accessed by contacting one of the 17 Regional Innovation Centres (RICs). These resources are available to entrepreneurs and young companies looking to start, grow, and finance their ideas. Staff at these RICs include entrepreneurs-in-residence, specialists and analysts with years of business experience who are well-positioned to deliver ONE programs and services. Please visit ONE’s website and fill out the form on their homepage to locate your nearest RIC; they will provide you with your local RIC’s contact information.
COVID-19 Government Funding Programs
The Mentor Works is constantly monitoring the Canadian federal and provincial governments for new COVID-19 business support program announcements.
The Black Entrepreneurship Program
The Canadian federal government has put together a first of its kind $221-million program jointly funded with eight financial institutions. The loan program will provide $25,000 – $250,000 for Black Canadian Entrepreneurs to access funding, mentorship, financial planning and business training. Read more.
Ontario Startup and Small Business Resources
Local Ontario Small Business Enterprise Centres
Each Ontario enterprise centre may offer different resources, including access to advisors, assistance with business plan development, information on patents, copyrights, and trademarks, and more.
Ontario Regional Innovation Centres (RIC)
Regional Innovation Centres are primarily targeted towards tech startups and are meant to accelerate the early stages of business development. We have put together a list of Regional Innovation Centres (RIC) located all throughout Ontario. Read more.
Employment Ontario Employment Services
Employment Ontario has Employment Services Centres across the province, who provide employment subsidies, matchmaking, and other HR resources to Ontario businesses directly, including the wage subsidies, training initiatives, and grants to support hiring summer students. To get started, please identify and contact your local Employment Services Centre via the Find Employment & Training Services link on the Employment Ontario homepage.
Startup Tips and Help
Establish an Online Presence
The Canadian federal government and Ontario provincial governments have created the Digital Main Street (DMS) program, which provides free online websites and branding to small businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five Tips for Startup Branding
If you’re launching a startup or expanding your small business, the ground rules are much the same: you need to be highly visible online, and you must build a brand that people connect with. Read more.
Human Resource Tips for Startups & Small Businesses
This collection of human resources tips will help show you how to reduce costs and conflicts within your business. Read more.
Canadian Government Funding Newsletter
Mentor Works provides occasional updates on the startup funding landscape through our blog. Whether sharing news of upcoming startup events or funding programs aimed at early-stage businesses, you can find details of funding opportunities by registering for our weekly Government Funding Snapshot newsletter. Each Monday, you’ll receive top funding news from the previous week; while not all editions will feature startup-related news, you’ll have access to our full range of business consulting, market trends, and professional development news. You’ll also gain an insider’s perspective on the government funding landscape for mature established businesses, which can assist with your business’ growth and development as it prepares to access grants and loans into the future.