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Ontario Small Business Grants: How Startups Apply & Qualify

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Ontario Small Business Grants: How Startups Apply & Qualify

Finding the money to grow a small business can be tough and the recent economic downturn has made the financing of capital significantly more valuable. Thankfully, there are many grants for small business owners that are ‘yours to discover’; should you find them, it would make the Province of Ontario quite ‘a place to grow’ your wonderful business. Their words, not mine.


Table of Contents

Ontario Provincial Grants

Ontario Municipal Grants

Considerations to Obtain a Small Business Grant in Ontario

What Happens After Your Application


Ontario Provincial Grants

It’s shocking to see how many Ontario small business owners struggle to find access to grants. Federal grants offered by the Government of Canada aren’t the only programs that small business owners should look to in order to seek financial support. The Government of Ontario also provides capital to startups. Below is a list of some key provincial grants you should keep your eye out for.

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Starter Company Plus

A new Ontario small business owner should undeniably start their grant hunt by applying for the Starter Company Plus grant. Not only will they receive up to $5,000 from the program, but a Small Business Enterprise Center advisor will help the business owner construct business and marketing plans, a strong budget, a business expansion strategy, and much more. Even if you’re already an incorporated small business in Ontario, you can still apply.

Summer Company

Learning how to run your own summer business is one of the best student jobs you can have. You get to be your own boss while learning what it takes to manage a business. Sales, marketing, bookkeeping, customer relationship management and networking are just a few of the highly useful skills you’ll develop. Maximum award value is $3,000.

Canada-Ontario Job Grant Program

Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) provides opportunities for employers, individually or in groups, to invest in their workforce, with help from the government.

The Canada-Ontario Job Grant provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees. Maximum value is $10,000.

Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation Business Expansion Projects

The Invest North Program is designed to boost economic growth in Northern Ontario by encouraging businesses to invest in transformative, strategic and complementary business development opportunities in Northern communities. The program will support productivity, innovation, business competitiveness, revenue growth, export capacity development, job creation and retention.

Southwestern Ontario Development Fund

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund provides support for projects and investments to businesses, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for economic development in southwestern Ontario.

Eastern Ontario Development Fund

The Eastern Ontario Development Fund provides support for projects and investments to businesses, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for economic development in eastern Ontario.

Ontario Centers of Excellence (OCE) Market Readiness Fund

The Market Readiness Co-Investment Fund provides direct investment to Ontario companies and passionate entrepreneurs with competitive/transformational IP building disruptive/next generation technologies to support their growth into scalable businesses.

An exhaustive list of provincial grants can be found on the Government of Ontario webpage.

Ontario Municipal Grants

If you ask any Ontarian, they’ll tell you that they’re the economic powerhouse of the nation. While others may disagree, it is undeniable that Ontario is the most populous province in Canada. Having 8 cities with each over 300,000 people comes with its perks, especially when it comes to municipal grant funding. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of 7 municipal grants.

Ottawa: Formation/Expansion Grant Program

The BIA Formation/Expansion Grant Program provides funding grants of up to $5,000 to business groups that have expressed formal interest to create a Business Improvement Area for their commercial district, or to existing BIAs wishing to expand their boundaries.

Prospective applicants should discuss their interest with Economic Development Services staff prior to submitting their application to ensure the project fits within the scope of this funding program.

Mississauga: Small Project Matching Grant

This program provides small grants of $250 to $2,500 to support community projects or initiatives.

Brampton: Small Business Accelerator: A Starter Company Plus Program

​Business Training Program, mentoring and up to $5,000 for those 18+ wanting to start, buy or expand a business

Hamilton: Placemaking Grant Pilot Program

The Placemaking Grants Pilot Program will award $100,000 over 2 years for community-led, place-based projects.

London: Community Grants Program

Each year, the City of London provides $496,000 through this funding opportunity for London based organizations and groups who are expanding programs, services or facilities that support London residents.

Markham: Celebrate Markham Grant Program

The Celebrate Markham Grant Program gives funding to organizations in Markham. This grant supports community events and programs, encourages community inclusivity and enhances Markham’s reputation as a destination City for visitors and tourists.

Vaughan: Advantage Vaughan

Advantage Vaughan fosters economic prosperity, investment and social capital through funding opportunities for the business community and training opportunities for local talent development – key priorities outlined in the City’s 2018-2022 Term of Council Service Excellence Strategic Plan.

In order to find more municipal grants in Ontario, be sure to check out the webpage of your local township or the town(s) in which your small business operate(s).