Retail Business Grants: 25 Funding Programs Currently Available

If you’re looking for retail business grants, you’re in the right place!

Because we have the most comprehensive, up-to-date guide on grants and other types of funding for entrepreneurs running retail businesses.

In this guide you’ll learn what’s available, eligibility requirements, how much you can get, and much more!

What Can Retail Business Grants Be Used For?

Retail 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:

  • Covering operating expenses, including inventory, payroll, lease payments, accounts management, rent, overhead costs and more
  • Making energy-efficient upgrades to retail buildings and equipment
  • Using technology to make the shopping experience simpler, more efficient and faster
  • Growing your business online

How Much Grant Money Can I Get for My Retail Business?

In our database we currently have grants ranging from $2,400 to $100,000.

Am I Eligible for a Retail 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 retail business grants in our grants database, and these are the most common qualifications we identified:

  • Be businesses/organizations in consumer goods or retail
  • Be for-profit businesses
  • Have commercial retail spaces or buildings
  • Be incorporated or registered businesses in Canada

Note: these are just the most common eligibility criteria – there are grants with different requirements.

Retail Business Grants for Ontario: Current Grants Available

In the table below we list the grants currently available to Ontario Retail businesses.

To learn more about each program, just click the program name and you’ll be taken to a web page that provides detailed information on the program, including eligibility, the dollar amount of the program, and how to apply for the grant:

Grants for Ontario Retail Businesses

Other Types of Funding for Retail Businesses

Loans for Retail Businesses

  • Commercial Loans for Retail Businesses

If you’re not eligible for a government loan, you might consider one of the commercial loans available for Retail entrepreneurs. Below is a sample of current loan programs offered by Canadian banks and credit union that are also available to Retail businesses:

If you are into e-commerce, you might want to have a look at the credit products provided by Loop and Merchant Growth, two alternative lenders:

  • Lines of Credit for Retail Businesses

In addition to loans, Canadian financial institutions also offer lines of credit to businesses.

A line of credit can be a handy way to finance ongoing operations if you have occasional shortfalls in cashflow, need to finance a small equipment purchase, among other uses.

While there are no lines of credit specifically for Retail businesses, there’s a variety of lines of credit provided by banks, credit unions and online lenders.

If you are into e-commerce, you might want to have a look at Loop’s Inventory-secured Line of Credit.


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    • Subsidies for Retail Businesses

    A subsidy is a type of financial assistance usually provided by the government in order to promote a social good or an economic policy. Wage subsidies are the most common subsidies.

    In the table below you’ll find the subsidies currently available for Retail businesses:

     Subsidies for Retail Businesses

    • Investment Programs for Retail Businesses

    An investment is a form of financing where capital is provided in exchange of ownership in the company.  It is an alternative to conventional methods of raising capital (loans, issuing stocks, selling bonds) and the good thing about it is that you do not have to make monthly payments. Common investment includes private equity and venture capital.

    Here are the investment programs currently available for Retail businesses:

     Investments for Retail Businesses

    Name of ProgramAmountType
    Alchemist Accelerator - Investmentno fixed amountInvestment, In-Kind Support
    District Ventures Capital - Venture Capital Fundingno fixed amountInvestment
    Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Growth Venture Co-investment Fund no fixed amountInvestment
    Creative Destruction Lab (2022)No Fixed AmountInvestment
    • In-kind Support Programs for Retail Businesses

    In-kind support refers to non-cash resources provided to support businesses. In kind-support can take various forms: access to coaching, mentorship, investors, logistical and technical resources (space, equipment, computers, internet and software, free testbed), training programs, business advice and counseling. Entrepreneurship centres, accelerators and incubators provide valuable in-kind support to new and existing entrepreneurs.

    In-Kind Support Programs for Retail Businesses

    Name of ProgramAmountType
    Alchemist Accelerator - Investmentno fixed amountInvestment, In-Kind Support
    ventureLAB - HardTech Pitch Competition$50000Competition, In-Kind Support
    Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) – ShopHEREN/AIn-Kind Support
    City of Toronto – Capacity Buyback ProgramNo Fixed AmountIn-Kind Support, Rebate

    Best Retail Business Grants, Subsidies & More

    While there are lots of good programs available, below we highlight some of the best grants, subsidies & more for Retail businesses:

    Best Government Grants for Retail Businesses

    Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) – Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP): Grow Your Business Online

    The Canada Digital Adoption Program provides businesses with financing, tools and resources to adopt e-commerce platforms and implement digital transformation plans.

    The Grow Your Business Online grant will provide micro-grants of up to $2,400 to small businesses to help with the costs related to adopting digital technologies.

    Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) – Save on Energy – Retrofit Program

    The Save on Energy Retrofit program is designed to help Ontario businesses save energy, reduce costs and increase productivity. This province-wide initiative offers financial incentives for equipment upgrades that reduce facility electricity consumption

    Best Government Subsidy for Retail Businesses

    Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada – Nutrition North Canada (NNC) Program

    Nutrition North Canada is a Government of Canada program that helps make nutritious food and some essential items more affordable and more accessible.

    NNC subsidizes a list of nutritious eligible foods, as well as certain non-food items such as diapers and soap, hand-sanitizers and personal hygiene products, sold by registered retailers, suppliers, and country food processors.

    Best Government Investment

    Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) – Growth Venture Co-investment Fund

    The $300 million Growth Venture Co-Investment Fund 2 targets late-stage innovation-based businesses that are at an inflection point and show strong potential for meaningful scale.

    Best Non-profit Grants for Retail Businesses

    AI-Powered Supply Chains Supercluster (SCALE.AI) – Industry-led Projects

    Scale AI’s Industry-led Projects provide funding for projects that can accelerate the adoption and commercialization of AI for supply chains.

    Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) – Grow Your Business Online

    As part of the Canada Digital Adoption Program, the Government of Canada has partnered with Digital Main Street and their ShopHERE powered by Google program to deliver the Grow Your Business Online grant to small businesses across the country. Eligible businesses will receive a micro-grant of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting e-commerce and supported by a network of e-commerce advisors.

    Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) – Digital Transformation Grant Program

    The Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) program is focused on assisting small businesses with their adoption of technologies. The program provides training, advisory support and grants to brick-and-mortar small businesses looking to increase their capacity through digital transformation.

    Best Non-profit Subsidy for Green Retail Businesses

    Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) – Discovering Potential Program

    The Discovering Potential Program supports employers who provide youth with green work experience through internships and on-the-job training. Positions in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and/or relating to electricity, renewable energy, environment, and natural resources can qualify.

    Best Utility Company Grant for Retail Businesses

    EPCOR Electricity Distribution Ontario Inc. – Electric Vehicle Charging Station Funding Program

    EPCOR’s Electric Vehicle Charging Station Funding Program is part of the Government of Canada’s Zero Emission Vehicles Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) designed to work with local organizations to support investment in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. EPCOR will be distributing ZEVIP funding to selected applicants as part of the program. Funds will support the installation of charging stations in the South Georgian Bay and southwestern Ontario region.

    Best Private Organization Investment for Retail Businesses

    Alchemist Accelerator – Investment

    The Alchemist program accelerates the development of seed-stage ventures that monetize from enterprises. We provide founders with a seed investment and structured path to traction, customers, and fundraising through a community that endures well beyond the six-month program. Alchemist founders have some of the following additional program elements especially valuable:

    • an optional small cash investment on founder-friendly terms in the form most appropriate for your company (often a SAFE). We offset the program’s required “tuition” fee with additional investment capital;
    • exclusive credits and discounts from trusted Alchemist partners, including for cloud computing, legal fees, marketing, and other services;
    • permanent access to Alchemist’s exclusive network of mentors, investors, customers, and alumni.
    District Ventures Capital – Venture Capital Funding

    DMZ Ventures is the for-profit investment arm of Toronto Metropolitan University. It supports startup founders by helping them build foundations, forge connections and fuel growth. DMZ focuses on:

    • startup equity management;
    • enabling Canada’s startup investment landscape through the angel investor program;
    • providing venture capital funding for high-potential, seed stage tech startups.

    Best In-kind Support Program for Retail Businesses

    Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) – ShopHERE

    The ShopHERE program is free for participants to sign up and have a Shopify store built. Businesses will be responsible for the monthly Shopify fee after the initial 90-day trial.

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