Ontario, home to over 15 million residents, and nearly 500,000 small businesses!
As a central business hub of Canada, Ontario sets many precedents for government support of small businesses and entrepreneurship.
In fact, the Ontario government small business grants are one of the best supporting financial assistance programs offered across Canada.
The funding provided by the Ontario government helps boost the economy, creates jobs as well ensures that Ontario remains one of the top business-oriented provinces in Canada.
What government grants are available for small business?
Before we get to disusing the available government grants for Ontario small businesses, it is important to know that there are various funding types.
The funding types are all available to Ontario small businesses to take part in (as long as you are eligible). The majority of the funding will come from local government offices, or the Ontario provincial government, while certain options may also be funded by the federal government.
As a small business in Ontario, you may be eligible for a variety of business funding options, including:
- Government Grants
- Government Loans
- Tax Breaks
- Tax Credits
The Ontario government grants for businesses are often split into a few different types of grants. These include:
- One time and renewable grants
- Partial contribution grants
- Non-repayable government grants
While there may be different types of government grants in Ontario, they may not always be referred to as grants. Other names may be awards, credits, and direct cash programs.
Ontario Government Small Business Grants Explained
Each of the available grants in Ontario will come from the Ontario government – or at the very least be sponsored by the Ontario, or the Federal government.
These small business grants are provided to help you as a small business owner startup or to expand your business.
The 3 Ontario grants mentioned above, each have a different purpose. Read more about these grants below:
One time and renewable grants
The one time and renewable grants are provided to small business owners who may be eligible as a direct form of payment by the Ontario government, to help you cover the costs of your small business.
Generally speaking, the “one time” grant and the “renewable grant” are two different types of grants
The one time government grant is provided once – to help you as a small business cover your business expenses.
Depending on the type of expenses, these grants may also be renewable, each quarter, or each year.
Most of the renewable grants will be focused on going green, providing training for your employees, or hiring staff.
To see if you Ontario small business qualified for any one time or renewable government grants, you can speak to a Ontario funding expert via the Small Business Startup Platform.
Partial contribution grants
The partial contributions are government grants that many small businesses in Ontario can take advantage of – however, many scare off as it does require you as the business owner to put forward a partial contribution of your own – sort of to match the fund that the Ontario government small business grant program offers.
While not everyone is eligible, those small business owners that are may be required to put up 10% to 75% towards the business of their own money, in order to get a matching or partial grant.
Non-repayable government grants
The non repayable government grants are what everyone simply wants. So when everyone asks “What government grants are available for small business?”, they really mean, I want a non-repayable government grant.
You know – the free money that you simply take from the Ontario government, use for your business, and never have to worry about a repayment?
While there are many different grants to help with this – they are extremely hard to come by and are very competitive.
A recent program that was announced, as a Covid pandemic support measure for small businesses in Ontario, was the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. This grant offered was very helpful to those who have been impacted by the covid pandemic and have continued to do so.
Another similar program was also created for Ontario small businesses which were the Ontario Tourism and Travel Small Business Support Grant which helped provide one time payments that were non-repayable, of $10,000 to $20,000 to those within the travel and tourism sector.
If you are unsure which Ontario small business grants are right for you, you can access the Funding Database and review all available government grants in Ontario and across Canada.
Government of Ontario small business grants are some of the best in the country – and if you are eligible, you should ensure that you have all that you need to apply.
Speak to a funding expert to see if you are eligible for any government grants by calling 1-800-288-9691.
In addition to the Ontario grants, the government also offers various government loan programs for those who may not be eligible for the grants (or those who want to mix the two). These include:
- No Interest Government Loans
- Low Interest Government Loans
- Guaranteed Government Loans (also called Secured loans)
- Conditionally Repayable Loans
While it may be “scary” as a new startup to consider borrowing money, the government options are crated to help you start up, run your business while keeping the repayment terms acceptable. In most cases, much better than any traditional lender loan programs.
Ontario Government Loans Explained
The loans provided by the Ontario government are much more favorable than those from traditional bank lenders. And in most cases, they are much easier to obtain!
While not everyone is eligible to get a government loan to run their business, there are many options to consider.
Low Interest and No Interest Government Loans
Much like traditional banks, the loans provided by the Ontario government work the same way. You borrow what you need, with set terms and you repay the amount back.
The low-interest loans are provided by the government versus the bank, or at the very last, backed by the government, which means that the interest rates will be lower, if not entirely removed, to help accommodate your startup process.
As a small business, every dollar counts and the Ontario government has a hand in that by contributing to these programs to help you lower your repayments.
Guaranteed Government Loans
A guaranteed government loan is a great way to take part of government funding and have the Ontario government as your co-signer.
What the guaranteed loan means is that the government is taking on the risk with you, if the business doesn’t go well.
Unlike a traditional loan, if you borrow an amount, the full amount has to be paid back. However, with a government-guaranteed loan, a percentage of the loan is “guaranteed” by the government, so you are on the hook for the other part only.
Unlike Ontario small business grants, certain loans, such as the guaranteed government loan can end up being a very good option if you are worried about the risk.
Conditionally Repayable Loans
When starting a small business in Ontario, you may be afraid of the upfront costs of certain things such as your startup costs and borrowing from the government in the form of a loan.
It’s normal. Decreasing your payments and fees is always the best, so you can put those funds towards your cash flow.
The conditionally repayable loans are a great way to negotiate with the Ontario government agency providing the loan – decrease your interest rate, change your payment terms, set a repayment schedule – all based on what appeals to you and what can help your business the most.
To see if your small business is eligible for any government loans, you can use the Funding Database and work with a funding expert.
If you would like to see the difference between government grants and government loans, you can read this article here to get a better understanding of the various government of Ontario small business grants and loans.
Aside from the government grants and the government loans, one of the funding avenues that go overlooked very often by small business owners and startups – tax breaks and tax credits.
As a startup, you may want the money now, whereas the tax breaks/credits are a bit backward – as you have to spend the money first in order to benefit from the tax breaks/credits.
How to use Ontario Small Business Grants and Loans
As a small business owner in Ontario, the funds you seek from the government that comes in the form of a business grant, or a business loan can be used for a number of things.
These funding purposes vary and while not everyone is eligible, it is best to speak to a funding expert to determine what your small business may apply for.
Some of the funding purposes you may be able to use some of the small business grants, or the loans include:
- Acquisition of a business
- Business development
- Training costs
- To purchase equipment, tools and machinery
- For business planning
- Marketing costs
- Startup or expansion costs
- Hiring costs/wage support
- Research and development
- and more…
Expert Tip for Applying for Ontario Small Business Grants:
If you decide to apply for a small business grant, it is important to understand the purpose or the reason the grant was created and is being offered in the first place. By understanding the purpose of the grant, you can better improve your business plan and aim your funding application to match and better appeal to the grant program.
How do I find small business grants or loans for my business?
As a small business owner, finding the right business grant or business loan is most likely time-sensitive for you? If so, the government, including the government of Ontario doesn’t make it a priority for them to get the right information to you as fast as possible.
As there are many different small business grant agencies in Ontario and across Canada, finding the available government grants, or government loans is a bit difficult.
While each of the government agencies does have its own dedicated websites, the information is quite difficult to find.
Typically, it takes a regular person 6 to 8 weeks to find relevant information, to understand how to apply and carry on.
As a business owner, where every minute counts, getting access to these available business grants and loans is key!
This is where we come in – Canada Startups.
We have a Funding Database, as part of the Small Business Startup Platform which helps by providing you access to each and every funding program available by the Ontario government, and the federal government. Currently, over 1,500 different funding sources including Ontario small business grants, government loans, tax breaks, credits and more.
Before you apply for any grants or funding…
It’s exciting – finding a small business grant or loan.
As a business owner needing the funding, you may be quick to just want to apply and get it over with – to get the money. BUT, before you apply for any Ontario government small business grants, loans or any sort of funding – there are a few things to know and have prepared.
- Don’t apply without a business plan
- Ensure you have your financial projections ready
- Create a visually appealing pitch deck presentation
- Make sure you have the right program
- Have an expert review your work
Your business plan is one of the most important things you can have when applying for any government of Ontario grants or loans.
Well, your business plan is your resume – it is how a funding agency determines if you have a good business idea if you know how to explain yourself which will directly translate into knowing how to run the business. If you are asking for money from the Ontario government, they want to ensure that you are a good fit.
Your business plan will explain your business model, your growth strategy, marketing plan and will clear up your funding needs so that they are easily understood.
To prepare a business plan, you can use the Business Plan Builder Tool.
Most funding agencies will ask for financial projections as well. This generally includes a 3 year financial plan, including a balance sheet, cash flow statement and a profit/loss document that will further show a funding agency your financial preparedness plan.
If you are unsure how to prepare your finances, you can get help from an expert.
Just as you created a business plan, prepared your financials, your pitchdeck presentation is just as important – if not more important in some ways.
A properly done presentation can be the ice-breaker that you need to get in front of a funding agency.
While it does not replace your business plan, it does help provide a quick summary to the funding agency, which can help speed up the process of providing you the needed funds.
You can learn more about creating the perfect pitch here.
Before you apply to any Ontario small business grant or loan program, be sure that you have those 3 things covered.
In addition to that, it is always a good idea to ensure you only apply to programs that you meet the criteria.
The last thing you want to do is be wasting your time on a program that you may not be eligible for.
Just to be on the safe side, you can speak to a funding expert and determine what programs you are eligible for, get help with your funding search, the application process, and more with the Small Business Startup Platform.
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