There is a misconception that there is free grant money for all businesses. Most programs are targeted strictly to specific industries, geographical areas or particular groups of entrepreneurs (minority groups, youth, employment insurance recipients, innovation, etc.)
In the early stages, the most important financial sources will probably be you, friends, relatives and financial institutions.
The most common source of financing for small businesses is the chartered banks. Banks can provide a number of financing options, such as short-term loans, long-term mortgage loans and, in some cases, loans against inventory or accounts receivable. Other important sources of financing in this category include trust companies and credit unions.
For very small firms and home-based businesses, credit cards, home equity and lines of credit often provide a ready means of obtaining small-scale debt capital. While convenient, they bear relatively high rates of interest and limit the amount of capital available. Often it makes sense to start with the bank you are already with, they know you and have a history of your banking activities.
Each situation is different, and it is critical that a good business plan be developed to determine the overall needs of the business.
Here are a list of programs that you can research. Do not pay for any books or lists of these grants as they are publicly available without you having to pay for them. Each of these programs have their own eligibility criteria and requirements.
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- BDC Business Financing – Business Development Bank of Canada has many business financing programs for businesses and entrepreneurs including Women in Tech and Women Entrepreneurs
- Farm Credit Canada Financing – focused on supporting Agriculture, Agribusiness and Food and Beverage Businesses.
- Canada Small Business Financing Program – Most start-ups and existing for-profit small businesses in Canada with gross revenues of $10 million or less are eligible to apply for loans under this program. Such businesses can be corporations, sole proprietors, partnerships or cooperatives.
- Community Futures Program – various loan programs for Urban and Rural businesses
- LendingLoop – Canada’s most affordable online business loan – built for small business owners.
- Fair Finance Fund: For Food Entrepreneurs
- Futurpreneur: Various programs for entrepreneurs including mentorship
- Rise Asset Development
- Access Community Capital Fund
- Alterna Savings Micro-Financing
- OnDeck – Short-Term working capital for established businesses
- Swoop Funding
Government Grant Information
- Government of Canada List of Grants & Funding Programs
- Ontario Centre of Innovation – Digitalization SME grant
- Ministry of Ontario Government Grants
- Durham Region COVID-19 Community Funding Opportunities
- Canada Digital Adoption Program helps businesses digitize and get online
- Digital Main Street – program for expanding your digital presence and getting a website built for free
- Starter Company Plus – for businesses 1 – 3 years in operation
- Summer Company – for enterprising youth ages 15-29 returning to school
- Funding for Indigenous Entrepreneurs
- Canada Council for the Arts Championing Canadian artists through grants, services and prizes
- Ontario Arts Council provides grants to Ontario-based individual artists and arts professionals, ad hoc groups/collectives and organizations. Grants support a range of arts activities and disciplines.
- Yves Landry Foundation grants to advance technological education and skills training to resolve the skilled labour and technical professional shortages facing Canadian industry.
- Prince’s Trust Canada Veterans Program serving members of the military and Veteran community for entrepreneurship programming
- SOCAN Foundation Relief Fund provides grants for Canadian music creators and publishers working to promote appreciation for Canadian music in today’s society.
- Coralus a radically generous community supporting women + non-binary people working on the World’s To-Do List.
- Community Funding Programs – prepared by Region of Durham