The vast majority of businesses start without much (if any) external financing and, most micro businesses don't need outside financing to develop their business idea. Some excellent business support programs do exist, but they are distributed across the country and tailored to specific industries, demographics, or special economic purposes.
One of the essential services that Enterprise Toronto provides is our business plan consultation. These consultations are offered FREE of charge and clients can make an appointment to have one of our small business advisors review their business plan in a one-on-one interactive setting. Sometimes, creating a realistic cash flow forecast is the only thing that's stopping you from realizing your business goals!
Below are some different financing / grants options for Toronto small businesses:
MicroloansAccess Community Capital Fund (ACCF)
Access Community Capital Fund (ACCF) supports individuals, promising entrepreneurs with viable business plans to have access to financing not available from other sources. Funds are used to guarantee individual loans through partner financial institutions. The clients are typically entrepreneurs who have been running a business less than two years and or just starting a new business. The borrower may have no credit history, or may have a poor credit record due to unemployment, illness or unforeseen life events.
Futurpreneur offers aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 39 access to up to $15.000 in start-up financing and up to $30.000 in additional financing through a partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada.
Rise Asset Development (Rise)
Rise Asset Development (Rise) provides loans to entrepreneurs with a history of mental health and /or addiction challenges. Rise operates with the support of the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
The Ontario Catapult Microloan Fund for Social Enterprises
The Ontario Catapult Microloan Fund for Social Enterprises is about enabling social entrepreneurs and innovators to turn their ideas into reality by supporting promising early stage ventures with access to capital. This microloan Fund is administrated by the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI).
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada – Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development
ABED works with Aboriginal entrepreneurs and its partners to provide
a range of services and supports that promote the growth of a strong Aboriginal business sector in Canada. Support will vary depending upon the needs of the client, the availability and sources of funding, the eligibility of costs, the economic benefits, and the project viability. ABED can help Aboriginal entrepreneurs, communities and organizations to achieve their business goals.
Waubetek Business Development Corporation
Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF)
Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities Program
Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities Program helps people with disabilities prepare for, obtain and maintain employment or self-employment.
Capital ImprovementsThe Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP)
The Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP) – The Government of Canada makes it easier for small business to get loans from financial institutions by sharing the risk with lenders. Small businesses operating for profit with revenues of $5 million or less are eligible for this program. Not eligible are farm businesses, not-for-profit organizations and religious institutions.
The City of Toronto Commercial Façade Improvement Program
Commercial Façade Improvements
The City of Toronto Commercial Façade Improvement Program - administered by the Economic Development Division, the program provides matching funding to private property owners to redesign, or renovate commercial or industrial building facades.
Market ExpansionBusiness Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) – Market Xpansion Loan helps Canadian companies with up to $100.000.00 in long term financing.
Ontario Chamber of Commerce – Ontario Exporters Fund
Ontario Chamber of Commerce – Ontario Exporters Fund assists SME's increase access to international markets.
Angels and Venture CapitalAngel Investors Ontario
Angel Investors Ontario – Angel investing goes beyond providing funds to start-up businesses. Unlike venture capitalists, angels are involved in the start-up businesses that they invest in to ensure higher returns.
Angels Groups in Ontario
Many angel investors like to have an active role in the business they invest in therefore, they prefer businesses that are close to home.
Angel One Investor Network (Oakville)
Capital Angel Network (Ottawa – Gatineau)
Georgian Angel Network (Collingwood)
Infusion Angels (Waterloo)
Maple Leaf Angels (Toronto)
Northern Ontario Angels (Thunder Bay)
Purple Angel (Ottawa
Ryerson Angel Network (Toronto)
Spark Angel Network (Durham and Northumberland)
Southwestern Ontario Angel Group (London)
York Angel Investors (Vaughan)
Canada's Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (CVCA)
(Represents the majority of private equity companies in Canada, with over 1900 members).
Innovation & Technology CommercializationMaRS
MaRS - Investment Accelerator Fund for life sciences, cleantech, ICT or digital media enterprises. This seed fund program, provided by the Province of Ontario helps emerging technologic companies to bring their product and services to market.
Natural Research Council Canada - The Industrial Research Assistance Program
Natural Research Council Canada - The Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) provides funding to qualified firms and their innovative research and development projects.
The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program
The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program is a federal tax incentive program to encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development (R&D) in Canada. The Canada Revenue Agency, responsible for administering the program, offers tax credits for expenditures such as wages, materials, machinery, equipment, some overhead and SR&ED contracts. The Department of Finance is responsible for the legislation that governs the Program.
Ontario Centres of Excellence – Collaborative Commercialization Programs
Collaborative Commercialization Programs bringing universities, industry and government together to help turn science and technology into successful business endeavors.
Agrilnnovatin Program - For businesses in agriculture; provides grants or loans for research and development to get a new agricultural product or technology ready for the market.
Collaborative Research and Development Grants
Collaborative Research and Development Grants - If you have a research project in natural sciences or engineering, you could have part of the project coasts paid for you by partnering with a university.
Ontario Innovation Tax Credit
Ontario Innovation Tax Credit – If you are an owner of an Ontario-based corporation you may be eligible for a 10% tax credit on research and development carried out in Ontario for your business.
CrowdfundingThis is a method of raising capital in small amounts from a large group of people using the Internet and social media. Individuals are asked to make micro investments or donations to causes and ventures they believe in, thus allowing the work to be completed.
For more information about crowdfunding, please check the following organizations:
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is North America's largest documentary festival, conference and market.
Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects from films, games, and music to art, design and technology.
Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform where people who want to raise money can create fundraising campaigns.
GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform where people who want to raise money can create fundraising campaigns.
Government incentives to hire employeesOntario Apprenticeship Programs
Ontario Apprenticeship Programs – the Province of Ontario assists employers with financial incentives to train apprentices.
Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit
Apprenticeship Training Tax Credit is a refundable tax credit available to employers or sponsors who hire and train apprentices in certain skilled trades.
Arts, Culture, Film and Television FundingThe Canada Council for the Arts
The Canada Council for the Arts grants programs help Canadian artists and arts organizations. Detailed list of programs can be found on website.
Government of Canada – Canadian Heritage
Government of Canada – Canadian Heritage offer a variety of funding opportunities including Canada Book Fund, Canada Music Fund, Canada Media Fund, Canada Periodical Fund and many more. An alphabetical list of funding programs can be found on the website.
Ontario Arts Council
Ontario Arts Council provides granting programs in different categories such as Art Education, Crafts, Dance, Literature, Media Arts, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts and more. Detailed list of funded activities can be found on their website.
Socan Foundation provides funding for Canadian music creators.
Aboriginal Traditional Art Forms Program
Aboriginal Traditional Art Forms Program for Individual Artists in the field of visual arts. Full details at:
Toronto Arts Council (TAC)
Toronto Arts Council (TAC) provides grants to outstanding artists and arts organization that contribute to the culture life of the City of Toronto. The City of Toronto provides the funding through its Community Partnership and Investment Program.
The Ontario Media Development Corporation
The Ontario Media Development Corporation offers a variety of funding programs for film and television content developers
Online Directory for Funding OpportunitiesFundica
Fundica, Canada's most successful traditional funding identification and connection platform, matches entrepreneurs, private investors, public funders and advisors, through our unique crowdsourcing/crawler technology.
The Funding Portal Inc.
The Funding Portal Inc. is a Canadian corporation that provides expert funding services for business, hospitals, universities, charities and non-profits to search and access government funding and private financing to support growth and R&D objectives.
Indian Agricultural Program of Ontario (IAPO)
IAPO offers small business financing to support First Nations entrepreneurs and businesses, IAPO small business financing. Funding is offered for equipment, business start-up and expansion, commercial real estate financing.
Canada Business Network
Find government grants, loans or financing programs.
Government of Canada
Find out about hiring incentives, loans, funding sources etc.
LendMart allows businesses to connect to loan options for a business and then apply online.