Ontario Startup Grants (2021): 57 Start Up Business Grants for Ontario Entrepreneurs

This is a loooong list of Ontario startup grants – but it’s worth your while to read all the way through though because it’s chock full of small business startup grants that will give you everything you need to make a success of your business, and then some!

So get comfortable, grab a coffee, and enjoy the read!

Start Up Business Incentives Available Across Canada

Start Up Business Grants – Canada

Canadian Heritage, Business Innovation: Canada Periodical Fund, Start-Up Projects

So you’ve always wanted to publish a digital periodical. Okay, but now what? Digital or not, it’s still going to take some money to start it up.

Here’s your solution. The Canada Periodical Fund for Start-Up Projects will give you up to $5,000 to do just that as long as you cover at least 50% of the costs yourself and you meet all the eligibility criteria. Take note that they give preference for funding to those applicants that raise their portion of the funds through successful crowdsourcing campaigns.

So as long as you’re just a start-up and haven’t been operating for the 12 months required for their other grant programs, you’re Canadian owned and controlled and will do business in Canada, and have a business number, you could qualify. But hang on, you’ll also need to ensure your digital periodical will include at least 80% Canadian content and have no more than 70% advertising per issue.

There’s a long list of additional criteria for your future periodical, so make sure you read through them so you’re prepared before you apply.

Once you’ve determined you’re ready and you qualify, you’ll have to get in touch with them to apply because there’s a different application form for this program than for their regular grant programs. It’s easy enough contact them though. Just give them a call at 1-866-811-0055 (toll-free) or send them an email.

Remember, be ready with your plans after having read through all the eligibility criteria and expectations for your future periodical.

Mitacs Accelerate Entrepreneur

Here’s an opportunity for student entrepreneurs! PhD and graduate students that is.

If you’ve got some research or technology that needs just a bit more support and development from an incubator facility to get it to the market as fast as possible and you’re a PhD or grad student, apply to this one before any other funding program.

Get your new business off the ground with your new research or tech with funding of at least 50% from Mitacs under this program, of which the minimum is $10,000 for a 4-month project, when you find yourself a host incubator facility. Projects can go longer or require more funds, but 4 months is the minimum.

All academic disciplines are welcome, and full-time students at all Canadian colleges and universities can qualify, regardless of whether you’re Canadian or an international student.

All you have to do, besides keep working on your technology or research of course, is complete and submit a Mitacs Accelerate proposal and Conflict of Interest Declaration along with a letter of support from your host.

Send them an email if you have questions or just want to know more.

Rise Asset Development Small Business Grants

This is a unique group in that the grants and opportunities it offers for start-ups and small businesses all rely not only on numbers for acceptance, but character and commitment.

3 of their 5 programs offer grants upon your completion of them, one offers small business loans (which you can read more about in the Other section of this article) and they all offer fantastic mentorship and networking opportunities.

All these programs start with the same eligibility criteria. Are you between 16 and 29 (except for Peer-Supported Training), having difficulties gaining access to funding to start your business, and self-identify as living with a mental health or addiction challenge? Then these programs are for you.

Start by giving the Enterprising Youth or Peer-Supported Training, or both, a shot. The first is a free, 10-week online entrepreneurship course comprised of 15 online learning modules that cover everything you need to create a strong business plan. You can go at your own pace and complete the modules on any computer or mobile device. Just answer a few basic questions online and you’ve applied!

The Peer-Supported Training program will give you free business advice, mentorship, small business education, and the use of a refurbished laptop to use throughout. This course takes place in person in Toronto or Mississauga in groups of 2 to 6 entrepreneurs plus coaches. By the time you’re done, you’ll have gained valuable business skills and a solid business plan.

And you’ll even get a $300 grant or the option to keep the laptop at the end of it! Applications open in spring 2020, so keep checking back to apply.

Now if you’re looking for a bit more, try Enterprising Youth Plus. This will give you both online and in-person training, plus coaching and the use of a laptop. You get the 15 online learning modules plus 4 in-person workshops that will give you the skills and knowledge you need to successfully run your business plus a professional business plan.

And when you graduate, you’ll get either that laptop to keep or a $300 start-up grant. Keep checking their website to know when to apply for this one!

And then there’s the Youth Small Business Program, an in-person training program that will teach you business strategies and concepts, so you’ll be confident in successfully running your business. You’ll get both group and individual coaching and be able to access online resources as you go. You’ll even get to use one of their laptops throughout the length of the course.

When you’ve graduated, you’ll then get either a $500 start-up grant or the option to keep your laptop. Go and check their website every day so you can be the first to apply when applications open in spring 2020.

Once you’ve completed one of these programs, you’ll also qualify for their Small Business Loans program. To learn more about any of these programs, feel free to send them an email.

Mitacs Entrepreneur International

If you’re a start-up housed in a university-linked incubator or accelerator and are lacking the funds you need to travel so you connect with a new host incubator abroad and expand your development opportunities, then this is the program for you.

Get up to $5,000—nonrepayable—to meet with your potential new host if you’re a Canadian for-profit business that’s already been housed in an eligible university-linked incubator or accelerator for at least 3 months but for less than 2 years.

Canadian start-ups receive a travel grant of up to $5,000 to connect with a host incubator in an eligible new target market. These funds could cover travel for up to 2 founders, owners, or full-time employees.

Just download and submit the application form along with your supporting documents (your travel budget, a signed letter of support from an eligible Canadian university-linked incubator or accelerator, and a signed letter of acknowledgement from an international host incubator), to meisubmissions@mitacs.ca, but make sure you apply more than 8 weeks before you travel though.

You can contact them for more information about this grant by getting in touch with your nearest Mitacs office in Canada.

Farm Credit Canada Young Farmers Starter Loan

Starting your own farm is possible, not matter how young you are! If you’re between 18 and 25 and embarking on an agricultural career path is your dream, Farm Credit Canada has the financing for you.

You can use your loan to buy livestock, equipment, or shares in a company. They’ll even give you financing up to $1 million with no loan processing fees!

All you need to do is contact an FCC rep at 1-888-332-3301 to apply, but make sure you have a net worth statement, 3 years of tax returns or accountant-prepared financial statements if you can, and some recent pay stubs or a letter of employer verification if you have those.

You’ll also need government-issued photo ID, any shareholder agreements that exist, a business and marketing plan, and a cash flow budget.

It’s a lot of work to complete that list, but it’s worth to achieve your dream!

Start Up Business Loans, Equity Capital & More – Canada

IDEABOOST Investment Programs

This unique funding program is made up of three components, each of which lead into the next. One of these components offers funding for qualifying start-ups with projects that develop new technology-based media and entertainment products, services, and brands.

The first component is Network Connect, a networking, collaboration, and mentoring community. To gain access to the funding in the next component, you’ll need to qualify for Network Connect. To qualify, you only have to be a growing start-up developing products or services for technology-based media and entertainment.

Once you’ve been accepted into Network Connect, you can apply to be part of the Accelerator program, a 4-month bootcamp that also offers up to $35,000 in seed funding for each participant. Only 6 participating companies are chosen per cohort. This bootcamp is based in Toronto, but applications are accepted from anywhere in Canada.

From there, you’ll move into the Alumni program and continue to benefit from the IDEABOOST network.

To apply, start by filling out the online application form. Then they’ll let you know if you’ve been accepted based on their analysis of these criteria:

  • clear articulation of product vision and problem being solved
  • size of market
  • quality and track record of the team
  • market traction
  • growth potential

If you’d like to know more, go ahead and send them an email.

Business Development Bank of Canada Start-Up Financing

Business Development Canada should be the first place you go to for start-up financing because that’s what they do: invest in businesses.

You’ll get better financing terms and more flexible terms, and they’re more likely to take a risk on you where a traditional lender quite often won’t. You can use the funds from this one to supplement your line of credit, to pay start-up fees, to pay for marketing, to buy assets, and more.

Those better terms include more time to pay your loan back, the option to postpone capital payments at the beginning of your loan, and the option to pay it back early without penalty if you can.

To qualify, you only have to be bringing in revenue for less than 12 months, have a good credit history and a solid business plan, be of the age of majority, make a reasonable financial investment in your newly established business, have experience or expertise in your field and a competent management team, show realistic market and sales potential, and show you have the key personality markers of a successful entrepreneur. That’s all!

All you have to do now is apply online and they’ll be in touch with you about your funds!

And you can give them a call at 1-877-232-2269 or send an email if you have questions.

Business Development Bank of Canada Indigenous Entrepreneur

BDC also has a start-up financing program for Indigenous entrepreneurs. You can use it for any of the same purposes as above or even start exporting.

BDC helps Indigenous entrepreneurs finance their businesses by offering financing to acquire fixed assets, finance franchise fees, cover start-up costs, start exporting, or replenish working capital.

You could get up to $350,000 if you meet the eligibility criteria for the Start-Up Financing program above, and you’ll get the same flexible repayment terms such as more time to pay off your loan. They’ll even donate part of the interest you pay to a charity you establish. Talk about unique!

So apply today! Because BDC is more likely than a big bank to take the risk and you’ll pay less in the end anyway, there’s no reason not to give it a shot. All you have to do is click that Apply button online, answer a few questions, and they’ll do the rest.

But feel free to give them a call at 1-877-232-2269 or send an email if you have questions.

Business Development Bank of Canada Strategic Investment Programs

Now for a list of 5 venture funding programs by BDC to help you get your business off and running.

First, they’ll directly invest in women-led tech start-ups if you’ve got what it takes to bring together the right people, technology, and resources to disrupt the markets with the Women in Technology Venture Fund. They could even invest indirectly with another partner, also a woman, interested in also investing in your company.

This program also offers mentoring and networking opportunities. Get in touch and chat with them today to see where you can go.

The next program is the Industrial Innovation Venture Fund. If your company or product is revving up change in Canada’s core industries—namely agriculture and food tech, manufacturing 4.0, oil and gas tech, and mining tech—they might just invest some of their $250 million in you.

Give them a shout at 1-877-232-2269 or via email if you have what they say is “the genius and ambition to drive improvements in productivity and competitiveness.”

Next up is their Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology Venture Fund, or ICE. You could be fortunate enough to have them invest in your company if you’ve begun establishing a capital-efficient and scalable business in this field that improves resource productivity and has the potential to operate across a global market.

Because they have so much experience investing in these sectors (such as AI and machine learning, next-gen and cloud computing, energy-efficient lighting, industrial IT, intelligent systems and buildings, oil and gas, smart grid and energy solutions, water, and more), they’re likely to invest in you and your success if you fit the bill.

So what are you waiting for? Call them at 1-877-232-2269 or send an email and see where it goes!

BDC could invest up to $15 million over the life your new company with the IT Venture Fund. They’re ready to invest in emerging and mid-stage internet, mobile, and enterprise companies with an initial invest between $2 and $5 million in Series A or B rounds. If you’re ready to ramp your IT business, get your papers together and call them at 1-877-232-2269 or email them to see what you can cook up.

Lastly, we have the Healthcare Venture Fund. They’ve got $270 million set aside to invest in a health-based company that can dramatically increase healthcare productivity by reducing costs and at the same time improve patient health. And given the enormity of the COVID-19 spread, the world could sure use that right now.

So if this sounds like your company and/or product and you operate in the drug, devices, diagnostics, and digital health sectors, they’re just waiting to invest in you. Give them a call at 1-877-232-2269 or send an email and let them take care of the rest. Who knows what can happen?

Communitech Fierce Founders

Show the world just how fierce you really are and win $100,000 in venture funding for your women-led or owned tech business.

Do you thrive on competition? Are you confident in your skills and product? If you don’t mind being part of a touch, final pitch competition, then this is the program for you. A fast-paced, 6-day bootcamp, this program gives the 25 lucky chosen candidates rare opportunities for mentorship and coaching.

Build your network, develop your business model, and fine-tune your pitch, and if you can make it through the competition, long hours, and hard work, that $100,000 could be yours.

Just apply online and you could be chosen to take part. You can live and work anywhere in Canada and still qualify for the program as long as you’re a women with a women-led or owned tech company and know everything there is to know about your market, but you’ll have to travel to Ontario to take part in the bootcamp. But not to worry, the program is happy to partially reimburse you for those costs!

And feel free to email Michelle or call 519-888-9944 if you have questions or need some more information before diving in.

Futurpreneur Start-Up and Newcomer Futurpreneur Canada

Futurpreneur Canada wants to help you start your business, which is hard with the odds stacked against young people and newcomers to Canada. You may have a great idea, product, or process, but good luck finding funding to get up and running.

If this an issue for you and you’re between 18 and 39, you could qualify for financing with one of these programs. You’ll also get better terms and fairer shake when you apply.

To qualify for the Futurpreneur Start-Up program, you’ll also need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and meet these additional criteria:

  • show some training/experience related to your business idea
  • create full-time sustainable employment for yourself
  • agree to work with a mentor for up to 2 years (4 to 5 hours a month)
  • produce a complete and viable business plan by the end of the application process
  • have your business fully operational for fewer than 12 months
  • agree to complete Futurpreneur Canada status updates every month
  • agree to provide authorization for Futurpreneur Canada to do a credit check
  • supply 2 personal references
  • guarantee your business is NOT in the research and development stage
  • guarantee financing proceeds won’t be used for refinancing existing debt
  • not already be a Business Development Bank of Canada borrower

That may be an awfully long list, but it’s achievable, and if you do meet them, you could get up to $60,000, $20,000 from Futurpreneur and $40,000 from Business Development Bank of Canada. You’ll also get up to 2 years of mentoring and 5 years to pay your loan back.

To apply, just register online anytime and share a draft (so it doesn’t have to be perfect yet) business plan and cash flow with them. Don’t worry if you don’t have one or both of those because Futurpreneur can help you with that.

Once that’s done, they’ll do a credit check. If you pass, you’ll then send in send in those supporting documents for review. Then you just wait for a decision!

Now for their Newcomer Program, your application process is exactly the same, and the supporting documents you’ll need are the same. The difference here is that when the program does their credit check, they won’t be looking to see if you have good credit, they’ll be checking to see if you have little or no credit history in Canada because that’s who this program is for and what it’s designed to get you past.

So as long as you’re also between 18 and 39, have become a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, have a Social Insurance Number that doesn’t start with a “9,” and can offer 2 character-based references—1 of which must be a Canadian citizen, you can apply!

And that’s good news because you could get financing of up to $45,000. The financing is split half and half between Futurpreneur and the Business Development Bank of Canada, and you’ll have 5 years to pay your loan back.

Loan is repayable in 5 years. And you too will have access to mentorship opportunities.

You can apply anytime simply by registering online just as for the Start-Up program and providing the same documents.

You can get in touch with them for more information about either program by calling them at 1-800-464 2923 or via email.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Canadian Agricultural Loans Act Program

Go ahead, now’s the time to establish your farm using the funding from this loan guarantee program from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Get up to $500,000 to buy land and to build or improve the buildings you need and up to $350,000 for any other start-up costs.

Just be a new farmer starting up a new farm and build a strong business proposal to get started. Then just head to any lender you’d like to work with and present your case. Your lender will be far more likely to approve your loan with the help of this program, and you don’t even need to do anything else because your lender will register for this program.

You’ll have to pay the loan back according to their terms of course, and there is an associated fee for participating in the program, but your lender will simply pay that for you and add it on to the amount of your loan.

This program works and entices your lender to approve you because they’re assured by this program that even if you default, the program will still pay your lender 95% of the amount borrowed.

Take a look at the program’s FAQs if you have some questions, or contact the program by phone at 1-866-367-8506 or by email.

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada Canada Small Business Financing Program

Now you can make accessing financing to start your new business a little easier with the help of this loan guarantee from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

Because they share the risk with your lender, your lender will be far more inclined to approve your loan. Of course, you’ll be responsible for paying back the loan, the interest, and any lender fees, and you’ll also have to pay a 2% registration fee for the program, but that’s small potatoes if you get a chance to bring your business to life.

If your lender approves your loan, you could borrow as much as $1 million, but no more than $350,000 of that can be used to buy or improve equipment or purchase leasehold improvements.

But it’s easy to get started with the program. Just head to your lender and present a strong case complete with as many supporting documents as you can put together, especially a business plan.

Want to learn more first? Download their brochure before you apply.

Rise Asset Development Small Business Loans

If you’re a dedicated, motivated entrepreneur with an innovative idea ready to get started launching your own but you’ve been having difficulty finding financing anywhere else and you self-identify as having a mental health issue or addiction challenge, you should apply for this character-based lending program.

This loan gives you 3 years to pay it back with low interest rates and no hidden fees. And you’re eligible to qualify too if you’ve graduated from any of the training and mentorship programs, though with this funding, you’ll still get additional mentorship.

To apply, just fill out the online form and submit it along with your business plan, a 1-year cash-flow projection, your resume, and your credit report. Then you could get up to $10,000, though most loans hover closer to $4,000.

If you’ve got questions, just send them an email.

Brightspark Ventures

This is one of the top venture capital firms in Canada, and it doesn’t matter which field or industry your start-up operates in to have a chance with this company.

As long as your Canadian start-up is in the seed stage and fits these stringent criteria, you’d be wise to apply for a chance to work with this venture capital firm:

  • Your company is solving a distinct problem of the uttermost importance to customers and has developed a compelling solution.
  • Your company has at least a minimum viable product and has referenceable traction, usually in the form of bona fide sales.
  • Your solution is unique, and your company shows it can be a market leader. We expect defensible intellectual property.
  • Significant dollars are already being spent in the industry and your market is growing today.
  • The upside of your company is quite large, with significant market potential. They’re looking for companies that will more than double in size.

If this has piqued your interest, starting is as easy as applying via email. All you need is an elevator pitch, a pitch deck or business summary, and your contact information.

If you’ve got questions about this stellar start-up opportunity, you can ask them either via email or live chat.

TandemLaunch EiR Startup Program

TandemLaunch is looking for you if you have an exceptional technical mind, strong leadership skills, and graduate research experience.

The Entrepreneur-in-Residence start-up program offers a proven system for building world-class technology companies in just 12 to 18 months. It gives you training in all the skills you need to be successful, mentorship and shadowing, and networking that will give you tech validation, confidence in your market viability, your first core team, an initial business plan, and a solid financial structure. You’ll even have access to their lab space.

And once you’ve graduated from the program, angel and/or venture investors will be waiting to finance the growth of your company! Just apply online by answering a few simple questions and following the indicated steps. Of course, it’s always good to have your plan, your pitch, and your description nailed down before you begin.

If you’d like talk to the program first, just send an email or give them a call at 1-438-380-5435.

Ryerson Digital Media Zone Accelerator Program

The DMZ is the world’s leading accelerator for tech start-ups, and it’s right here in Canada. They help businesses connect with customers, capital, experts, and a network of entrepreneurs and influencers.

Take your tech company from start-up to world-class business when you take part in the DMZ. Not just anyone can participate though. You’ll have to meet these eligibility criteria:

  • be a start-up dedicated to solving a compelling problem with innovative technology
  • have at least 1 full-time employee dedicated to sales and revenue development
  • have a driven, coachable, and collaborative leadership team
  • be a full-time CTO or in-house technical lead
  • have a minimum of $20,000 in monthly revenue through an existing customer network
  • have been in the market and demonstrate steady revenue for at least 4 consecutive months
  • have an established product-market fit and at least 1 client they can verify
  • be able to relocate to the DMZ’s Toronto office for the duration of the program

It’s a rather comprehensive list, but if your business can check off each item, you could be well on your way to success. They’re highly selective though, so work on your business plan and pitch and more until there’s polished and tight. They only open applications 3 times a year and choose only 7% of applicants, so make sure you’re part of that percentage.

If you’re ready, just fill out the application form, and they’ll do the rest. Send an email to program if you have questions or need more information.

And just so you know, their co-directors of happiness are Archie and Calypso, two of the cutest canine directors anywhere, so how could you not want to be part of that team?

York Entrepreneurship Development Institute YEDI VC Fund

If you attend or have graduated from any of YEDI’s programs, you’ll qualify for funding when you start your own business, whether your intention is to launch a for-profit or nonprofit.

Their funding is meant to be an intermediary step between the development/commercialization process and later-stage investment. Once you’ve reached larger milestones and have found other funding, they’ll quietly disappear.

Interested in this funding? Then take the opportunity to showcase and pitch your project at one of their exclusive venture fairs for a chance to receive funding.

You will, however, have to submit a letter of intent from a follow-on investor and allow YEDI to do due diligence before you get to pitch.

Get started or just learn more by getting in touch via email or phone at 1-647-919-YEDI (9334).

University of Waterloo Velocity Fund Pitch Competition

Like a good competition? Got a tech start-up? Well read on!

The Velocity Fund Pitch Competition is an early-stage start-up competition. Three times a year, early-stage start-ups compete for $50,000 investments from the Velocity Fund.

To participate, you just have to meet 3 basic criteria:

  • Products must be tech-based and core to your company’s business model.
  • Your company must not have received more than $250,000 in outside funding, including government grants.
  • You must be a Velocity-supported start-up, a non-Velocity-supported start-up (that has submitted your application to the program at least 4 months before the competition), or a University of Waterloo student or alumni that graduated within the last 10 years and who started their company less than 2 years ago.

For those that fit the bill, you’ll have to go through 3 phases to apply:

  • Phase 1: written application (outline business name, product concept, market opportunity, and team profile)
  • Phase 2: interview (15 minutes and will include 2 key components: a 3-minute pitch and 10 minutes of rapid-fire questions from the judges)
  • Phase 3: pitch competition in front of angel investors and early-stage venture capitalists

To get started or learn more, just fill out their online contact form, and they’ll take it from there!

TELUS Pitch Live Summit

This is a nationwide small business pitch contest that gets the winner and finalists grant money they can put toward growing their business.

First prize is $100,000 cash, and it gets awarded live on July 30. At the same time, they donate $10,000 on behalf of the winner to the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation.

Each of the remaining 4 grand prize finalists gets a cash prize of $10,000.

Sound good to you? You’re invited to apply if you’re a Canadian-based start-up or small business owner. Just fill in the online contact form and solidify your pitch while you wait for them to get in touch with you.


There is no program more unique than SheEO. Active with hundreds of members around the world, this is a women-led, majority women-owned venture group that uses the members’ own money in cyclical fashion to support other members.

Five hundred women that call themselves Activators each contribute $1,100 to create a pool of capital of $500,000 that they then loan out to 5 women-led ventures in their region they call Ventures. The receivers then pay back into the fund over 5 years, and they do that over and over, bringing in more Activators all the time.

All they ask if you want to apply to become a Venture is to ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you majority women-owned (51%+) and majority women-led? For SheEO, this means the CEO/President is a woman.
  • At the time of application, have you generated between $50,000 and $2 million (in your country’s currency) in revenue?
  • Is your Venture registered as a legal entity in the region for which you’re applying?
  • Does your Venture represent a new mindset, new model, or new solution for a better world?

Want to be a part of that? They aren’t taking applications again until September 2020, but you can sign up to be notified when they open. You can also prepare by reading through the 10 application questions.

You can also read through the Venture FAQs or general FAQs to learn more, but if you still have questions, just fill out their contact form.

Round13 Capital

Round13 capital may not offer much for information, but that’s because they’re busy doing the actual work required to help start-ups.

They do a lot of homework before accepting a start-up, and then they keep their sleeves rolled up and work with you closely after you’ve been accepted.

If this lack of information has done what it’s supposed to and piqued your interest, send them an email and see where it leads.

Mantella Venture Partners

This program is perfect for mobile and internet software start-ups—but you have to be stellar. They invest early and stay with you throughout. They believe they should be your partner, not just your money.

And that gives you, as a start-up, the added benefit of active, hands-on involvement with product development, business development, marketing, financing, and team development.

They’ll usually invest up to $1,000,000 in the beginning, but they can and will invest more if needed.

The best way to get their attention is to be referred to them by someone that knows them and believes in you, so they spell out how you can just apply to be invested in.

You can contact them for information though! Just call 416-479-0779 or send an email.

Start Up Incentives Available in Ontario

Welcome to Ontario, the land of start-up grants and angel investors. Business must be in the soil in this province because there are so many funding programs to look through you may want to have something to eat before you begin. You’ll be reading for quite some time. Enjoy!

Start Up Grants – Ontario

Government of Ontario Summer Company

Who says you need to be old to start a company? Some of the best talent with the most innovative ideas comes from young people.

So start up a new business for the summer! Whether you’re in high school, college, or university doesn’t matter. As long as you’re a Canadian between 18 and 29, are heading back to school in the fall, and not running already running another business or working full time over the summer, then you could get some money from the provincial government to start something new.

You’ll even get access to some fantastic mentoring and the option of continuing to run your business once you go back to school. It can be any type of business almost too, as long as you can qualify as self-employed on your taxes and you run it on a full-time basis.

And get $1,500 when you start your business anywhere between May and July and another $1,500 when, and if, you shut it down in on Labour Day.

To get your money, just contact the program to see if you qualify and then apply online before the May 17 deadline. Be ready with business plan and cash flow though! Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be perfect. If you’re accepted, they’ll set up and interview with you, and then you’re ready to go!

After you’ve gotten your money and set up your business, you will have to meet some commitments throughout, so take a look at the program guidelines so you’re prepared.

If you’d like more details, contact Ontario Works.

Accelerator Centre Start-Up Grants

Great ideas become great companies when you’re given the opportunity and a little of money!

The Accelerator Centre, in partnership with Conestoga College, University of Waterloo, the University of Guelph, and Wilfrid Laurier University, has some of the most unique programs anywhere, all designed to help you start your company and find success. Two of those programs will even give you grant money if you qualify!

You too could take advantage of this program—which includes mentorship, office space rentals, and access to special events—if you’re the founder or cofounder of novel company working with clean tech such as energy, energy management, and more based in the Toronto/Waterloo area. Be prepared to commit to at least 5 hours of mentoring though!

The first is the TD Sustainable Future Program, which assists entrepreneurs working on clean tech and select smart cities initiatives by offering mentorship and grants of up to $100,000 for seed-stage invested entrepreneurs.

If you’re interested and think you could qualify, just fill out and submit the application form and attend an interview with program staff.

Their other grant program is the AC JumpStart™ program, which was created to help tech start-ups establish and grow their Southern Ontario business.

You could get funding of up to $30,0000 for your start-up, but you’ll have to match whatever you get from AC JumpStart in cash from any source you like: angel/VC investors, friends/family/founders, academic institution, government sources, and/or industry investors. You’ll even have to prove you have the cash in your company’s bank account.

Also make sure you have the dedication required to put in the hours you’ll need to with this program, defined project milestones, and a budget. And if you happen to be applying through the University of Waterloo stream, you’ll have to have graduated within the last 5 years.

But if you can achieve that, then all you have to do is meet these criteria:

  • be based in Southern Ontario
  • be incorporated in Canada, or show proof of a plan to incorporate upon receiving the funds
  • be an early-stage company, have an innovative technology product or process, limited R&D, and be working toward commercialization
  • not have received previous investment from any of these programs: Scientists and Engineers in Business fellowship, NFPs and post-secondary institutions under SEB to deliver seed funding (OCE SmartStart, RIC VentureStart, Next36, BioEnterprise, Northumberland CFDC, etc.), commercialization fellowships (University of Waterloo, McMaster, University of Toronto, Carleton), or JumpStart itself

And qualifying was the hardest part about this funding program. Now all you have to do is submit your application form and submit proof of funds and a project spending plan.

Prepare to apply now because the next cohort will open in spring 2020.

Before you move on to reading about the next program, take a look at the other programs offered through the Accelerator Centre, such as the Accelerator Program (offering mentorship, office space, and more), the Alexa Voice Tech Accelerator Program (offering specialized and dedicated equipment, mentorship, and more just for those working on voice-based tech), and the Start-Up Visa Program (offering international start-ups and opportunity to obtain their Canadian visa and bring their idea to Canada).

Government of Ontario Starter Company Plus

Here’s your chance to get some free money from the provincial government to start your business. You’ll also get training and mentoring as part of the package.

If you’re 18 or older, an Ontario resident and Canadian citizen, not in school full time, and can make a cash or in-kind contribution of 25% of the grant amount, you’re in! You’ll even get an e-business toolkit.

Just get in touch with a Small Business Enterprise Centre via email or phone at 416-326-3408 to apply or to learn more.

Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services Ontario Disability Support Program: Employment Supports

It can be tough to find and keep a job when you live with a disability, but why not start your own business?

If you have both a disability and a great idea, then take advantage of this program to get started being your own boss. You can use the funding to buy anything you need to start a business, from business tools and supplies to licences or certification.

Apply now by contacting your local Ontario Disability Support Program office, but make sure your disability is expected to last a year or more and you’re at least 16, an Ontario resident, and legally able to work in Canada.

Before you contact them, know you’ll have to eventually submit an application for employment supports and verification of disability/impairment.

Community-based service providers across Ontario deliver Ontario Disability Support Program employment supports.

Start Up Loans, Equity Capital & More – Ontario

Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation Investment Fund

Because the Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation wants to promote economic development and entrepreneurship in the Wakenagun area, they’ve created 3 financing programs to help ambitious entrepreneurs start their new business. 

All three have the interest rate of prime plus between 2% and 7%, they all require 10% equity, and you can pay all of them back early with no penalty.

Now the first is the A Helping Hand Loan. This microloan could any entrepreneur in the area up to $10,000 to start their business. You can use it for things such as minor capital items and you have 3 years to pay it back.

When you apply for this one, you’ll need to have these supporting documents ready:

  • a Statement of Intent form (they’ll send one)
  • a project description including estimated costs
  • a general business proposal of the idea
  • a Statement of Personal Assets and Liabilities (they’ll send one)

The second program is the Women In Business loan. The amount funded will be determined once they receive your application, and you’ll qualify as long as you’re a woman with a majority share and you do business in the Wakenagun area.

You’ll get 5 years to pay the loan back, and you too will need the same supporting documents as the first program except rather than a general business proposal, you’ll need a business plan. But don’t worry, they’ll help you with that.

The last program is the Youth in Business Loan. The only eligibility criteria for this one is that you need to be an entrepreneur between 18 and 35 in the Wakenagun area. You also get 5 years to pay back your loan, which could be as much as $20,000. The only catch is that you also need to send in the same supporting documents as for the Women in Business Loan, but don’t panic! They’ll help you put together a business plan.

If you’re interested in any of these programs or want more information before you apply, get in touch with the Wakenagun Community Futures Development Corporation at 1-800-989-4850.

Business in the Streets (BITS) BITS Bucks

This is the perfect program for ambitious young entrepreneurs in the Toronto area. Finding a bank to give you a loan to start your business is close to impossible when you’re young, so Business in the Streets could help you—in more ways than one.

Start by taking one of their courses, such as the Bootcamp, to refine and perfect your business plan and pitch, and then you can apply for their microfinancing.

You could find yourself with a microgrant of up to $5,000 if you meet the criteria mentioned thus far, are between 18 and 34, and have an annual income or assets of less than $30,000 and a BITS approved business plan.

All you have to do to get started is contact the program using their online form to apply for one of their free training programs, and if you’re already a graduate, apply for funding with BITS Bucks. You can also ask questions or ask for more details using the same contact form.

Community Futures Ontario Access to Capital

The Canadian government has made funds available to help small and medium-sized businesses and social organizations in rural Ontario through Community Futures Development Corporations throughout the province.

To access financing of up to $150,000 through loans, loan guarantees, or equity investments to start your company, all you have to do is contact your local Community Futures Development Corporation. As with any financing program though, make sure you have the usual supporting documents ready, such as a business plan and your financials.

If you’re not ready to do that quite yet, you can send your questions or a request for more information by email to Community Futures Ontario.

Métis Voyageur Development Fund Financing Solutions

Good news for Métis-owned and controlled businesses in Ontario! The Métis Voyageur Development fund itself is a Métis-owned and controlled Ontario financing company that operates with the sole purpose of offering you financing to start your business at a lower interest rate.

You’ll even get more flexible repayment terms when you finance through MVDF. Plus, when you finance with them, you’ll also get help creating your business plan, access to professional help and advice, and even continuous training.

So if you need funds to get your business started, just make sure you meet these criteria:

  • be an entrepreneur in Ontario with an Ontario-located business
  • have a business owned and controlled by Ontario Métis (at least one of the owners must be a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario or self-identifies as Métis and holds 50% or more of the business)
  • have a minimum of 10% equity in your business

If you qualify, you could get up to $1,000,000 in financing. All you have to do is get in touch with them via email or phone at 1-855-798-0133. And if you have a few questions, take a look at their FAQs, but you can still give them a call or email them if those don’t help.

University of Toronto and Toronto Acceleration Innovation Partners Early-Stage Technology (UTEST) Program

Get up to $100,000 in start-up funds if you’re a University of Toronto tech-based entrepreneur, whether you’re a current student, recent graduate, or faculty member.

Along with that funding, you’ll also benefit from mentoring, learning business strategy, and using incubation space at the University of Toronto St. George Campus for your new research-based company.

If you fit those criteria, you’ll receive your funds in the form of a SAFE when you take part in this 12-week program. When the program ends, you’ll even be able to access up to $500,000 in follow-up funds, plus access to other provincial and federal funding.

Applications haven’t opened yet for 2020, but keep looking so you can be among the first to apply. Until then, you can get in touch with them via email: hjaferi@tiap.ca or kurtis.scissons@utoronto.ca.

York Angel Investors

This angel investing company is always on the hunt for superb investment opportunities with early stage start-ups. They prefer IT companies, such as those in digital media, software, mobile, telecom, web-based services, software as a service, online applications, or enterprise; life sciences (healthcare, biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment); clean technology; and retail, though they will consider others.

Are you one of those superb opportunities? You could be if you’re also a post-revenue company with completed—or at least post-first—implementation development and have a main office or base of operations within 500 km of the Toronto/York Region.

If it sounds like you’re a good fit, apply now to get investment funding of up to $2 million. Just create an online account and submit the online application. Then participate in a brief phone interview, during which you’ll answer a series of prescreening questions, and then you get to present your company to their screening committee at their semimonthly screening meeting if you pass the previous hurdles.

Should you find you have questions along the way, you can always send them an email.

VERGE Capital Startup Fund

This investment company has a bit of a twist. This one focuses its investments on local early-stage start-ups that have a strong community impact.

So if you’re a social enterprise that operates to address an environmental, social, or cultural challenge, you have a solid business plan, and are based somewhere in Southwestern Ontario, they just may invest in you.

To find out, just apply online! If they choose you, you’ll get between $5,000 and $100,000 to start your business. You’ll even get flexible repayment terms plus 5 years to pay it back.

You can get more information about the program by sending them an email or giving them a call at 519-433-7876.

Western University Western Accelerator

Western University students, recent grads, and faculty entrepreneurs have the opportunity to partake in this intense, compressed, 16-week business bootcamp that will give you not only funding but the chance to apply for the MITACS Entrepreneur International Program.

If you’re a start-up that fits that description, have completed product development, and are ready to launch, then this program is the perfect fit for you. Of course, you’ll also have to be willing to contribute a full-time effort, operate your business from the Western Accelerator, have up to 3 founders, have decision-making ability, and must participate in all Accelerator events, workshops, and competitions throughout your time in the Western Accelerator.

But if you’re the whole package, you’ll get a whole year’s worth of learning in just 16 weeks, plus a monthly stipend of $2,500 throughout the duration of the program, up to $500 to cover the costs of creating a trade show booth, and up to $1,500 to cover travel costs associated with growing your business.

To even be able to apply for this one, at least one founder must have a connection to Western. And when you’re ready to apply, be prepared to submit a written application that includes these components:

  • a one-page letter stating why you believe you will benefit from participating in the Western Accelerator and how you will contribute to others’ success
  • a 10-page slide deck describing your business
  • a 60 second video of you pitching your business

Once you’ve sent that in, your application will be reviewed by an external panel, and the top ranked teams will get to pitch their business to a selection committee. Your team will then get 10 minutes to pitch your start-up, followed by 5 minutes of questions.

Now you can’t apply right now because applications are closed for the summer program, but the have 3 cohorts per year, so make sure you subscribe to their mailing list so you know when the next one opens.

Have questions? Call them at 519-661-2111 to get them answered.

MaRS Discovery District The Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF)

The MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund offers seed funding to promising start-ups in Ontario to help bring them closer to commercialization.

So if you’re an Ontario start-up that’s just about ready to go and you also meet these criteria, you could find yourself with up to $500,000 in seed funding:

  • have a minimum addressable market size of $100M
  • be in IT, advanced materials and manufacturing, health, life sciences, and clean tech sectors (just a plus)
  • be an early-stage technology company close to commercialization
  • ideally have the product built with some early market traction
  • have no significant revenue, assets, or institutional investment

Just fill out and submit the online application form and include an elevator pitch and details about your market, competition, and competitive advantage. Take your time, and perhaps even work with professionals to put these together before you do, because while they’ll meet with over 300 potential investees every year, they only truly make deals with 10 to 12.

Get in touch with them via email or phone at 647-255-1080 if you find you’d like to know more or you’ve got some questions before you apply.

Angel Investors Ontario Venture Financing

Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be more organizations ready to invest in your company, there is in fact more.

Angel Investors Ontario could invest in you if you have a company with a new unique product or service just entering the marketplace and a solid plan for considerable growth, and all you need now is some capital to finance additional production, marketing, and/or sales.

Depending on you, your company, and your situation, they typically invest between $25,000 and $150,000 per deal per investor. But are you ready for angel investors? Your company may be, but are you? That’s the number one questions these investors ask, so the first step in applying is to take their quiz.

From there, they’ll get in touch with you, so make sure you have all your business supporting documents ready: your business plan, your pitch, your financials, etc.

Want to ask some questions first? Call 416-628-1458 or send an email.

Golden Triangle Angel Network (GTAN) Investments

Here’s a nonprofit organization full of members just waiting to invest in worthy start-ups in the Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, and Stratford area. 

Technically, they’ll fund any company in Canada, but the majority of investors prefer to invest in companies close by, and you’ll have to present to the group at least twice in the application process.

If they think your company is ready, they’ll help you turn your start-up into a market leader with not just their investment, but their experience and knowledge.

The only written eligibility criteria are that you’re an early-stage, investment-ready start-up and you can show a clear and reasonable expectation of an appropriate return on their investment.

They won’t invest in standard businesses such as retail and restaurants, and they even prefer to invest in these fields:

  • aerospace
  • agriculture
  • chemicals and chemical products
  • clean technology
  • computers and peripherals
  • education
  • electronics / instrumentation
  • fintech
  • healthcare services
  • medical devices and equipment
  • mobile
  • nanotechnology
  • networking and equipment
  • robotics
  • software

Now you might be ready to apply, but they’d like you to meet with one of the regional organizations (Communitech, MaRS, Innovation Guelph, Accelerator Centre) first to discuss your business and then contact GTAN for more information.

Once you’ve done that, then head online and fill out the application form!

Goodwill Industries Impact Loan

Are you a start-up in Southwestern Ontario and having difficulty finding financing with traditional lenders? Well that’s what Impact Loan is there for.

You could get financing of up to $5,000 to start your business and pay just prime + 2% with this loan.

All you have to do is meet with a coordinator to evaluate your business idea and eligibility, then fill out an application and submit a business plan. They’ll do a credit check of course, and you may have to pitch your idea. If you’re approved, you’ll also have to set up a business account with Libro Credit Union.

Ready to talk to someone? Fill out the online contact form or give them a call at 519-282-3378 to get started.

Spark Angel Network

Start-ups in Durham and Northumberland are certainly in luck. This nonprofit organization offers private equity investment to early-stage technology and innovative businesses.

Most of their investments range from $250,000 to $400,000—but wait. If you’re start-up is truly exceptional, they can bring together other angel groups and pool their investments, up to $2 million, in a particular company.

If you meet these criteria, they just might consider investing in you:

  • be a company in a sector that mirrors their expertise including, but not limited to, IT, energy, automotive, telecommunications, internet, enterprise software, and SaaS applications
  • be an innovative firm
  • be market ready and have high growth potential
  • be located within Durham and Northumberland

All you have to do to apply is fill out the online form with your personal information (name, company name, phone number, and email), and then you’ll get an email with instructions about your next steps.

And just send an email or pick up the phone and call 905-754-0550 if you’d like more information.

Southwestern Ontario Angel Group Venture Financing

Is there no end to the angel investor groups? Start-ups in Southwestern Ontario have access to another: the Southwestern Ontario Angel Group.

They offer venture financing between $200,000 and $2 million to exciting new companies, and also lend their help from a pool of over 200 experienced, successful business leaders and entrepreneurs to chosen start-ups.

To give this one a shot, you’ll have to meet these easy criteria:

  • have annual revenues of at least $100,000 or a high likelihood of closing sales to a strategic customer within 3 months
  • have an addressable market size of at least $100 million annually
  • use innovative technology to scale customer and revenue growth rapidly and present clear advantages over your competitors, whether in technology, products, or market approach
  • be located in Ontario, preferably Southern Ontario
  • be 3 years or less from date of incorporation, with exceptions for companies with a major pivot

If you’re a good fit for that list, all you have to do is create an online account. You can guarantee they’ll ask for supporting documents though, so be ready!

If you’ve got questions, you can get them answered by phone at 519-858-5043 or by email.

Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund

For those folks 18 and over, of Indigenous heritage, and looking to start a business in Northern Ontario, look no further.

As long as your start-up will be wholly or majority Indigenous-owned, you could qualify for a loan or a microloan with the Nishnawbe Aski Community Futures Development Corporation.

Get yourself a loan of up to $500,000—or even $1 million in exceptional cases—or between $1,000 to $7,500 for a microloan. Microloans are paid back at prime + 8%, and loans are generally paid back at prime + 8% to 12%.

Also, if you’re applying for a loan, you should know you will be expected to have some equity. If you’re between 18 and 35, you’ll need a minimum of 10%, and if you’re over 35, a 15% minimum.

To apply for either program, start by sending them an email. If you’re applying for a microloan, you don’t need to do anything else. When you apply for a loan, however, you’ll eventually need to send in a business plan.

But if you just want more information, you can do that via email too!

The Bottom Line

The bottom line? That was a lot of reading. The possibilities for funding are nearly never-ending, and new programs and organizations are opening up all the time, so there could always be even more groups waiting to invest in your next biggest thing.

The best part is many of these programs give you not only funding, but expert advice, tools, workspace, training, mentoring, and CEO shadowing. You can learn how to hone your pitch, streamline your business plan, and all the secrets the professionals already know.

What are you waiting for? Grab your idea, your supporting documents, and your confidence and apply for as many of these programs as you can and see how high you can soar!

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