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
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.
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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This program provides small grants of $250 to $2,500 to support community projects or initiatives.
Business Training Program, mentoring and up to $5,000 for those 18+ wanting to start, buy or expand a business
The Placemaking Grants Pilot Program will award $100,000 over 2 years for community-led, place-based projects.
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.
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.
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).
Considerations to Obtain a Small Business Grant in Ontario
There are a few steps that are crucial for every small business grant application. If you pay attention to the four key steps below, you’re bound to have success in the grant process.
Like assignments you may have done during your schooling days, it is always better to complete your application before the deadline. This way, you will have time to edit and perfect your application and minimize the risk of unexpected circumstances that may lead you to miss out on the grant. Some grants also have criteria that include the business not having received any other grants. To avoid complications, ensure that you do your research beforehand. You also want to make sure you don’t get a smaller grant that could make you ineligible for a bigger one you might also qualify for. Some grant applications also approve on a rolling basis; therefore, it is always best to be apply early!
Make sure that you fit all the requirements for eligibility for the grant. Some grants may also have optional or preferred eligibility. If you set your sights on a particular grant early enough, you can start initiatives or create a business plan that caters to any preferred eligibility criteria that would increase your chance of getting approved for the grant.
Information Required for Your Application
Now that you know that you can apply, you must fill out the actual application. Most grants will ask for your legal business name, operating business name, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number, a short description of your business, banking and financial information regarding your business. If you do not have a CRA business number, you may register for one on the CRA’s online Business Registration portal. Grant applications will usually ask for your account holder name, account number, name of financial institution, and your branch or transit number, as well as your most recent financial statements. Note that for many grants, they will only accept business bank accounts, so make sure to open one if you have not already done so!
What Happens After Your Application
Now that you’ve submitted your application, it’s time to wait! The grantor will reach out to you after they have made their decisions or if they need more information.
What about repeat applications? It never hurts to re-apply to grants that are offered periodically. This way, you can save time by simply re-using and updating your previous applications. For this reason, you will often want to prioritize grants that are offered repeatedly.
If the application is completely online, you will need to provide the other party with information on why you need the grant and how you will use the money granted to your business. Hence, grantors will almost always ask for your company’s financial information such as financial statements and tax returns. If you are unable to do so while juggling all your other company responsibilities, you can always choose to use an online accounting software like ours at ReInvestWealth. You can also book a free appointment with one of our accountants for professional guidance on how to expand your business.