Please note: Canada Business Ontario is now FedDev Ontario Small Business Services.
Our information and services remain the same.
Financing a business guide
Table of contents
Securing financial assistance to start your new business is directly related to the strength of your business plan and the research that you do. To be considered for funding from financial institutions or investors, you must demonstrate that you understand every aspect of your business and its ability to generate profit.
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a written document that describes your business objectives and strategies, your financial forecasts and the market you are targeting. Preparing your plan will help you focus on how to run your new business with the best chance for success.
To run a successful business, it is helpful to know who your customers are, what they want and how to reach them. You can go directly to your customers for answers (primary market research) or you can use information that already exists (secondary market research).
Small Business Services can help you with your secondary market research. Contact us directly for:
- information about business associations, manufacturers, suppliers and competitors
- articles about consumer, business and industry trends
- Canadian consumer spending statistics and demographic data for market research
- international trade data
The secondary market research service is offered free of charge and is available for people at any stage of business in Ontario.
Note: Research requests may take up to five business days to complete.
Call us at:
Secondary market research service request
Business advisory services
Find information about Ontario's small business community, attend seminars and access business publications at various in-person locations across Ontario.
Services vary based on regional needs, so we suggest you call ahead or visit your local office’s website for more detailed information for your area.
Locations near you
There are many different ways to finance your business. Common sources of business financing include:
The Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP)
By sharing the risk with your financial institution, the CSBFP may help you get up to $1 million to start, expand, modernize or improve your small business. To be eligible your business should have annual gross revenues of no more than $10 million.
You can use the loan to finance the cost of purchasing or improving fixed assets. For example, you could finance:
- buildings and land
- commercial vehicles
- business equipment
- leasehold improvements for a franchise
You cannot use the loan to finance items such as:
- working capital
- franchise fees
- research and development
To apply for this program, contact an approved bank, caisse populaire or credit union. The lending institution has the final say on the loan approval.
Canadian Small Business Financing Program
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
If you can demonstrate that your business has realistic sales potential, you may be eligible for financing and management services from BDC, Canada’s bank for business. Learn about a variety of programs for business, including:
- Financing for starting a business
- Financing for buying a business
- Advisory services
- Financing for working capital
- Technology financing
Community Futures Ontario
You may be eligible for a loan of up to $150,000 to start or grow your business in Northern Ontario or in rural areas of Southern and Eastern Ontario. Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) provide financing to help new or existing businesses with start-up, expansion or stabilization plans that help maintain or create jobs. You can also take advantage of several business support services, including:
- business advice, counselling, information and referrals
- business planning
- export support
- entrepreneurial training
Please note that services vary based on regional needs. We suggest you call ahead or visit your local office’s website for more detailed information for your area.
Contact a CFDC:
Community Futures Ontario
Futurpreneur Canada Start-Up Program
You may be eligible for a loan of up to $20,000 from Futurpreneur Canada.
To be eligible, you should:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 39
- Create a business plan for a business that will employ you full time
- Work with a mentor for two years
- Own at least 51% of your business
Other conditions apply.
If you are approved for funding from Futurpreneur Canada, you may also be eligible for additional funding of up to $40,000 through a special partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
For more information or to apply for the loan, visit the Futurpreneur Canada website or call them to find the nearest office.
Contact Futurpreneur Canada:
Futurpreneur Canada Financing
Grants, contributions, subsidies and loan guarantees are available from various government sources. Use Innovation Canada’s online search tool to look for programs and services that may apply to your business.
Grow your business
Municipal business programs
Your local municipal office may offer financing and support for your area. You can find the number for your municipality on the Association of Municipalities of Ontario website. Contact them directly to find out what is available in your area.
Association of Municipalities of Ontario
You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Small Business Services (SBS) community partner, contact us at 1-888-576-4444.