As a small business owner or startup entrepreneur in Ontario, it’s important to have capital to start your business, to operate your business and to expand your business. Without the proper funding, your business may soon come to a realization that it can’t start, or grow and you just might have to close your doors. So here is a way to find funding for your business in Ontario in a walkthrough of our Small Business Startup Portal and the Funding Database which you can access as a member of CanadaStartups.org
Before we begin with the walk though, keep in mind that our Funding Database contains over 1,500 funding sources which come in the form of government grants, government loans, tax breaks as well as from private investors.
While funding exists and is available for all Canadian provinces, the funding programs and amounts vary from industry to industry and from funding need to funding need. Certain factors that are considered also include the time of the year you apply, your funding needs, your credit score, your business plan and the application forms.
If you are a member of Canada Startups, you already have access to the Funding Database. Simply log in, start your search and apply to the government funding programs and private investors that are right for your small business.
Find Funding For Your Business in Ontario
If you’re not in Ontario and you want to find funding for your small business and to see other although, just go here.
Okay, as a Small Business (starting up or existing), in Ontario you have a number of options to find government funding or private investors.
Taking a quick look at the Funding Database available via Canada Startups, the preliminary search shows 345 government grant programs, 192 government loan programs, 862 private investor programs and 289 other funding programs that are not considered grants, loans or private funding.
What does this mean for you as a small business in Ontario?
Well, for the start, it’s good news.
You probably shouldn’t jump the gun and thin that there are 1,500 funding programs and investors that are going to give you money, but you should be happy to know that funding exists, and out of the 1,500 funding programs and investors, surely there may be a few right for your business and your funding needs.
Starting Your Funding Search
Starting your funding search for your business in Ontario can be confusing. Where do you start, what do you look for, how do you know if a program is available or if it’s right for you?
Well, one of the first steps to searching for funding (government or private) is to ensure you have a business plan created.
What does a business plan have to do with it? A lot actually.
A business plan, if well developed will tell you exactly what you need funding for, when you need it and how much you need.
This will prepare you when it comes to searching for funding.
Instead of “just searching”, you will now know that you need to be searching for money to help you hire staff, train your employees, to pay for advertising, to help you purchase some tools, or equipment, to improve your cash flow. This gives you a focus point which will help you narrow down your search.
In our Funding Database we ask our members to search for funding programs based on 3 fields (or via keyword search).
The 3 fields are very important as they do help narrow down the funding programs and investors from over 1,500 to the ones that are right for your business.
The 3 critical fields that will help you narrow down your funding search include:
– Your Province (in this case you would select Ontario)
– Industry Type
– Funding Needs (what you need funding for)
and click Submit to start seeing the programs and investors which fit those filters.
Knowing How To Search For Funding
By having access to the Funding Database, you are one step closer to getting funded. It’s simple, instead of spending weeks trying to find out information on which programs are available, we’ve taken the guess work out of it, and not to mention the weeks you would spend tryingto find it all.
But that being said, you still have to know how to search for funding programs or private investors in order to find them.
So here is a tip on how to search for funding properly!
As a small business owner looking for funding for your business in Ontario your first instinct is to say “let me look for funding close to home”, in this case you would jump on the band wagon like everyone else and click “Ontario”.
Right? Who wouldn’t, it makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
So here is the tip when you are trying to find funding for your business in Ontario!
Nobody said that you have to use the Province drop-down, or that you have to look for funding only in the province of Ontario. While it may be your first instinct to do that, there may be other programs that are federal that may provide funding (or private investors who are outside of that province).
In fact, there are hundreds of funding programs that fund businesses across Canada and often don’t base it on a location but the industry or the funding need.
When searching for funding for your small business in Ontario, try both ways. Search with the province of Ontario selected, and try without (but be sure to select at least one option in industry or funding need) in order to display some results.
Your industry is very important when doing a search for funding.
Since a lot of private investors and government funding agencies determine which businesses to fund and which ones to avoid based on the industry they are in, this is a critical component to include when searching for funds in Ontario.
Every single business fits into some sort of industry. And most of them are listed above in the drop down found inside of the Funding Database.
Some businesses can fit into multiple industries and this is the perfect way to search more then one industry at the same time.
When searching for funding for your small business in Ontario be sure to break down the industry and figure out if you actually fit into more then one. Doing so will help you unlock certain programs or investors which may be of interest to you.
If you wish to skip over the “industry” drop down and just want to see which programs/investors are available to provide you funding for your business in Ontario you can do that as well, and leave the drop-down unchecked. However if you do this, keep in mind that you may be shown programs and investors that may not be relevant to your industry and you may have to go through them all to find the right ones for your business.
Your Funding Needs:
Many small business funding programs and private investors provide money to businesses based on their needs. As mentioned, certain things may be covered and some may not, however the general needs that are more likely to be covered when applying for funding include:
- Money to hire and train staff
- To help pay for tools and equipment or to get supplies
- Money to help you import and export
- To pay for marketing and advertising costs
- Money to help you conduct R&D or to develop your business
- Funds to help you purchase a business
If you don’t see what you need in the drop down it does not mean it is not covered or that you can’t get funding for it, but it simply means it’s not one of the top reasons.
When searching for funding, break down your funding needs and know what you need funding for. Your business plan will tell you this!
A lot of people when searching for funding simply mess up in this section (and in the application section) because they don’t break down their funding needs, instead they summarize them.
As a small business in Ontario if you’re looking to start up or to expand and you need let’s say $150,000 total funding; when you write your business plan it’s very important to break down your funding needs to show how you exactly came to that conclusion.
Did you need to hire staff? If yes, how much of the $150,000 total is needed for that?
Did you need to pay for some marketing? How much?
Did you need to buy some tools and equipment? How much does it cost?
Doing this, you will have a break down of your funding needs and it will help you when you start your funding search.
Keep in mind that there isn’t one program or one investor that will give you all of your money. Since certain programs fund certain things, it’s critical to break it down so you can apply to multiple.
Applying To Multiple Sources Of Funding
To go further into detail on this, applying to one program or just one investors just because they seem to be “perfect”, is a big mistake.
You’ve surely heard the saying “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”, well, the saying goes true for your funding search as well.
If you’re in need of funding you probably don’t want to waste time. When you apply for funding, it can take some time before you hear back (approved or not), and some more time before you can actually get the funds in hand. So you want to make sure you’ve timed it all right, so your business does not suffer.
So when you search for funding for your small business in Ontario, it’s important to break down your funding needs and be able to apply to multiple programs and to multiple private investors.
As mentioned previously, if your intentions are to get let’s say $150,000 in total funding – don’t apply to one program and hope that they come back and say yes. Instead, break down what you need funding for, break down the amounts needed for each of those funding needs and apply to programs that you appear to be eligible for.
The more programs and more investors you apply to, the greater your chances are of being funded.
A Typical Government Funding Program Looks Like…
Just so that you have an idea of what a typical program or private investor looks like in our Funding Database; see the screenshot above. (This is a program for Yukon, don’t mind that as it’s just an example)
The information that is blurred out is the program name and ministry/agency that provides the funding – only available to our members to view and a direct link to apply.
The other information that is provided includes the funding overview which tells you (the small business owner), how much money is available to apply to.
This does not mean the total that the funding agency or private investor offers but what the maximum is that you as a small business owner can obtain from this specific program if successful.
Keep in mind that if you meet the requirements for a program like this, it doesn’t mean that you should be applying for the maximum of $35,000, but instead apply for what you need (as long as it’s not over the maximum), otherwise you will get denied.
Other available information includes the industry the funds are available for, the program details, the qualification criteria, what the funds are for (what they can be used for), the benefits to the government or to the economy or to your business and the location the funds are available for.
You will also be able to see the deadline (if present). This will tell you if you can apply or if you are too late. The deadline is often on-going as programs often just replenish the funds and continue, but there are certain programs that end so be sure to apply before the deadline, and don’t wait last minute.
Finding funding for your business in Ontario is not impossible. You do have to take some time to review your funding needs, come up with a business plan and start your search.
Be sure that your funding search is done properly, step by step and that you take the time to consider all options.
If you need funding for your business, don’t focus on one type of funding program (just a grant or just a loan or just a private investor), but keep your mind open and get the money you need to help you start up, to grow and to expand your business.
Registration takes 30 second and you can do it right here. So what are you waiting for? You want funding for your small business in Ontario or what?
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