As the regal home of Queen’s University, the city of Kingston has some excellent business start-up programs, among other funding programs for entrepreneurs.
In this complete guide to Kingston business grants, we cover grants, loans, entrepreneurship programs…and more!
City of Kingston Mandate
The mission of the City of Kingston is to enhance the quality of life for present and future generations by providing progressive, professional services and leadership that reflects the needs of all those who work, live, visit, or play in the City of Kingston.
The City’s vision is:
- To be a progressive, innovative corporation with satisfied citizens and employees.
- To have the resources to update Kingston’s infrastructure and grow its business community.
- To support a high quality of life for all its citizens, who value the services the City of Kingston provides.
City of Kingston Priorities
You can learn about the City’s priorities by reading its 2019 – 2022 Strategic Plan.
What Can Kingston Small Business Grants Be Used For?
Kingston small business grants can be used to pay for many aspects of starting or running a business. Here are some of the uses that are covered by programs in our grants database:
See the section below with a complete list of grants available for Kingston small businesses.
Am I Eligible for a Kingston Small Business Grant? Common Eligibility Criteria
Two of the most common questions we get asked at Ontario Business Grants are “Am I eligible?” and “How do I qualify?”.
We analyzed the Kingston small business grants in our grants database, and these are the most common qualifications we identified:
Note: these are just the most common eligibility criteria – there are grants with different requirements.
Best Kingston Small Business Grants, Entrepreneurship Programs & More
While there are lots of good programs available, below we highlight some of the best grants, loans, tax relief programs & more for Kingston small businesses:
Best Government Grants for Kingston Small Businesses
City of Kingston – Brownfield Incentive Programs: Initial Study Grant
If your properties are situated within a Community Improvement Project Area (CIPA), you are eligible to apply for an Instant Study Grant (ISG) until December 31, 2025 for projects in CIPA 1A, 1B, 3, 4, or 5, and until December 31, 2035 for projects within CIPA 6.
The grants can reimburse up to fifty percent (50%) of the cost of Phase II and Phase III Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) and Site Specific Risk Assessments (SSRA), with a maximum of two studies per property and a total maximum of $20,000.
City of Kingston – Brownfield Incentive Programs: Tax Increment-Based Rehabilitation Grant Program (TIRGP)
If you own a property located in a Community Improvement Project Area that requires environmental Rehabilitation and/or risk assessment/management, you may be eligible for the TIRGP. This program aims to promote private sector Rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of Brownfield Sites by providing an annual grant to cover eligible site Rehabilitation costs not fully covered by the Brownfield Financial Tax Incentive Program (BFTIP). The TIRGP is used to fund the Rehabilitation Grant and the Municipal Brownfield Reserve Fund (MBRF).
The Rehabilitation Grant is designed to help Property Owners of Brownfield Sites in the Community Improvement Project Areas offset the majority of the costs of Rehabilitation and redevelopment, making it financially competitive with Greenfield Development. The grant also covers other brownfield related costs, such as building demolition and clean fill placement and grading.
City of Kingston – Heritage Grants/Tax Relief Programs: Heritage Property Grant Program
You can take advantage of the Heritage Incentive Program developed by the City if your property is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.
If your property meets the requirements, you have the opportunity to receive a reimbursement of up to 50% of the total cost for an eligible project, with a maximum amount of $5,000, once every two years.
To apply for the grant, you can submit your application between January 1 and the last business day of March annually. If you need more information about eligibility criteria and project specifications, you can contact the relevant authority.
Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) – Save on Energy – Retrofit Program
Get even more money to make your business more energy efficient and save you money with this program from IESO’s Save on Energy.
This one has 2 options: the prescriptive track and the comprehensive track. The prescriptive is your best bet for quick projects and upgrades such as improved lighting, though the minimum incentive amount is $500. The comprehensive track is a better fit for larger, more comprehensive projects with lots of components. This one will get you an incentive of up to 50% of project costs.
Chances are you qualify since most buildings are eligible: commercial, industrial, food services, agricultural, and more.
Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) – Save on Energy – Energy Performance Program
Sign up to continually improve your energy usage and you could be rewarded for it with this program.
As long as you’re not an industrial or manufacturing business, you could receive a pay-for-performance financial incentive, plus a modelling incentive of $1,500 for each enrolled building, up to a maximum of $15,000 for 10 approved buildings.
You get to choose which improvements and investments to make to achieve your improved energy efficiency, and your payments end up equal to 20% of the annual baseline electricity consumption of your building(s).
Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) – Save on Energy – Small Business Program
The Save on Energy Small Business program is designed to help small businesses across Ontario make equipment improvements to reduce their energy consumption, at no cost. Leveraging the success of the former Small Business Lighting program, this new and improved program offers small businesses direct-install incentives on an expanded range of equipment – both lighting and non-lighting.
Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) – Save on Energy – Industrial Energy Efficiency Program (IEEP)
IESO’s Save on Energy Industrial Energy Efficiency Program (IEEP) supports industrial customers across Ontario in improving their industrial processes and implementing system optimization projects. The program offers organizations up to $5 million in financial incentives for each large, complex industrial energy-efficiency project accepted into the program.
Best Municipal Government Tax Relief Programs for Kingston Small Businesses
City of Kingston – Brownfield Financial Tax Incentive Program
Through this program, you may be eligible for a tax relief of 100% of the municipal and educational property taxes for a duration of 36 months. This relief period begins at the start of the Rehabilitation phase and lasts for 36 months. The amount of relief is calculated based on the pre-development tax assessment determined by MPAC Assessment. The municipal portion of the tax relief is approved by the City, while the education portion of the tax relief is approved by the Minister of Finance. As a proponent, you do not need to apply for this tax relief, as the City will apply for it on your behalf.
City of Kingston – Heritage Property Tax Refund Program
As a property owner, you can receive a 40% tax refund (up to a maximum of $5,000 or the total cost of eligible maintenance and work) per property under the Municipal Act, 2001, provided that your property has a heritage easement agreement and meets specific eligibility criteria. This refund can be awarded once every three years to ensure the program’s longevity, and it will be processed as a refund after tax payment.
To apply for the tax refund, you have until the last day of February of the following tax year, which is consistent with other refund programs under the Municipal Act, 2001.
Best Non-profit Grants for Kingston Small Businesses
Kingston Economic Development Corporation (Kingston EcDev) – Business Grant Support Program
The intent of the Business Grant Support Program is to assist businesses access funding programs and assist with the cost of hiring a grant writer. The program will offer a grant of up to $2,000 to be used to cover costs associated with writing a grant application.
Kingston Economic Development Corporation (Kingston EcDev) – Queen’s Career Apprenticeship: Kingston (QCA:K)
The Queen’s Career Apprenticeship: Kingston connects new graduates from the arts, humanities and social science disciplines within the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen’s University with a Kingston employer.
Best Non-profit Loans for Kingston Small Businesses
Fondation Franco-Ontarienne – Micro-credit Funds
With support from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and in partnership with the Prescott-Russell Community Development Corporation (SDCPR), the Franco-Ontarian Foundation (Foundation) supports Francophone entrepreneurs girls from Southern Ontario (Windsor to Hawkesbury). The micro-credit program provides borrowers with repayable financial assistance, offered in the form of loans.
Best Entrepreneurship Program for Kingston Small Businesses
Kingston Economic Development Corporation (Kingston EcDev) – Social Enterprise Fundamentals
Social Entrepreneurship Fundamentals is an 8-week, part-time online program that covers the foundations of social entrepreneurship, from making sure entrepreneurs have identified the right problem, to developing a solution, to turning their idea into a sustainable business model. If they’re ready to roll up their sleeves, invest in their personal and professional growth, and turn their idea into impact, this is the right course for them.