Getting financing is often the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs wanting to start or grow their businesses.  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 is 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.

Government Grant Information

Government of Canada List of Grants & Funding Programs – Grants, loans, private and public sector financing and leveraging personal assets.

Ontario Centre of Innovation – Digitalization SME grant

Ministry of Ontario Government Grants

Durham Region 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. Digital Transformation Grant and ShopHere

BACD’s Starter Company Plus – for businesses 1 – 3 years in operation

BACD’s Summer Company – for enterprising youth ages 15-29 returning to school

Funding for Indigenous Entrepreneurs Indigenous peoples support for business, employment and training opportunities

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.

Grants and Subsidies for Employers – wage subsidy programs

Grants and Subsidies for Agriculture -Funding Programs and Services for agricultural businesses

Managing your finances– use these resources to help you understand financial concepts and learn about tasks like budgeting, financial analysis and bookkeeping.

Ontario Power Authority – Save on Energy Incentives for Business – receive up to 50% of project costs for upgrading old or inefficient equipment.

Financing Options

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 Developmentmicroloans for those self identifying with mental health challenges

Access Community Capital Fund – offering low-interest, character-based business loans for your business

Alterna Savings Micro-Financing – microloans for small businesses

OnDeck – Short-Term working capital for established businesses

Swoop Funding – an easy to use platform to search all financial and grant programs for your business

Crowdfunding Platforms

Grant Program Search Platforms