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Best Free Government Resources For Startups & Canadian Small Businesses

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Are you thinking of starting a lemonade stand? Crypto hedge fund? Drone delivery service? Well, if you've got the idea, what’s stopping you? According to Forbes, you might have parked your idea because you’re worried about not having the capital you would need. Maybe it’s because you feel a little inexperienced? Don’t fret; these are not issues unique to you.

Almost all aspiring entrepreneurs face them! In this article, we outline the best free government resources for businesses, startups, or any lingering ideas in the back of your head! Let’s jump right in!

Starting a business

This Government of Canada (GoC) resource provides an easy 6-step breakdown of the actions you need to take when trying to create your own business. They cover the following topics:

  1. Planning a business.

  2. Choosing a business name.

  3. Registering your business with the government.

  4. Applying for business permits and licenses.

  5. Getting business support and financing.

  6. Free tax help for your business.

The nice part about this breakdown is that the Government of Canada goes over each section further when clicked. For instance, when you click “Planning a business,” the government will provide sub-sections of topics that fill any knowledge gap you may feel while also providing additional resources! With each step being sequential, it’s like finishing a free online course and skipping through the sections you already know!

Financing your business

One of the most significant barriers entrepreneurs face when starting a venture is financing. Not all businesses are immediately profitable. However, government and institutional support allow entrepreneurs to increase their operating margin and immediate cash flow. Whether this is through obtaining grants and subsidies or hiring fully subsidized student employees, the following links below provide portals for grants and support for SMEs and start-ups alike.

1. The Business Benefit Finder is another GoC program that provides grants and other business benefits (e.g., loans, tax credits, expert advice) for SMEs and start-ups all over Canada. It also has specific support for businesses owned and operated by entrepreneurs with marginalized backgrounds. What’s great about this program is that it provides something for everyone. Whether you’re a new business owner in Ontario looking to bring new products into the market, a startup in Quebec doing research and development or an entrepreneur in Alberta looking for a grant to train employees, the business benefit finder has it all. Another commendable feature of this program is the “Finder” service. Instead of blindly searching for support, you can use this portal to enter your business criteria and find grants tailored to you and your needs. This is definitely a portal worth checking out!

2. Another great resource is Venture for Canada (VFC). VFC supports entrepreneurs and undergraduate/graduate students by providing SMEs and start-ups access to eager and talented students and compensation/wage subsidies. Through one of their three programs (Fellows, Interns, and Intrapreneurs), you’ll be able to receive high-quality staff. At the same time, their compensation is funded by fees, sponsors, private donors, and other GoC programs! All that’s required of you to be a part of this program is to provide mentorship, meaningful employment, and support to these young entrepreneurs to support VFC’s goal of enriching the current and future generations of Canada’s workforce.

3. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is another institution designed to support SMEs in every industry and growth stage in receiving the support they need. From advisory services to flexible financing programs, they can provide you with the specific free assistance your SME needs. Similar to the Government of Canada website we mentioned initially, the BDC also provides an “articles and tools” section dedicated to providing you and your business with the business knowledge you need to get set up and running!

Resources for women entrepreneurs

Although the rate of women’s entrepreneurship is growing in Canada, it’s still much lower than the rate of businesses started by men. Only 16% of Canadian SMEs owners are women. The Government of Canada has launched its inaugural Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a $6-billion investment that aims to support women in establishing and operating their businesses. The program offers venture capital, loan funds, and other financial assistance specifically to aspiring female entrepreneurs. The site also provides access to the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH). This hub offers data, research, and resources for women entrepreneurs across Canada. A truly unique feature of their website is the “SEE IT. BE IT.” tab. This tab allows women entrepreneurs to read about the success stories of other female entrepreneurs and be inspired by their journey. Additionally, the site has an Events tab that informs readers of workshops, showcases, and other opportunities specifically for women.

Start-ups and SMEs are not only crucial for entrepreneurs; they are critical to the strength of the Canadian economy. They make up more than 50% of the country’s GDP and drive innovation. That’s why, alongside the resources we’ve just mentioned, we at ReinvestWealth are happy to continue to support small business owners by providing a safe, secure, and free accounting solution with unlimited bank connections and transactions.

Have questions? Book a one-on-one appointment with one of our CPAs today.

Happy business building, folks!

Written by: Hrithik Sharma

ReInvestWealth Founder and CEO: Behdad Karimi Dermeni


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