Financing a business guide

Table of contents

Business planning
Financing programs
Financing search tools


Business planning

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.

Read online:
Business plan guide
Sample business plans and templates

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.

Search online:
Locations near you

Financing programs

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, you may be able to get a term loan of up to $1.15 million to start, expand, modernize or improve your small business. To be eligible, your business should have gross annual revenues of $10 million or less. Not-for-profit, charitable and religious enterprises that are carrying on a business may also be eligible to apply.

You can use the loan for purchasing or improving fixed assets. For example, you could finance:

  • buildings and land
  • commercial vehicles
  • business equipment
  • leasehold improvements for a franchise

Part of the loan and the line of credit option can be used for costs such as:

  • working capital
  • software and websites
  • inventories
  • some professional fees
  • franchise fees
  • incorporation costs
  • payroll
  • rent
  • 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.

Read online:
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. Learn about a variety of programs for business, including:

Contact BDC:
BDC financing
Financial ratio savvy

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

Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP)

You may be eligible for a grant of up to $2,400 to help you get set up for e-commerce and grow your sales online.

To be eligible for the Grow Your Business Online stream, you need to: 

  • Have a registered or incorporated Canadian business
  • Be generating revenue
  • Be selling your own goods and services directly to the public
  • Have at least 1 employee (other than the owner) or make at least $30,000 in annual revenue in the last year

Other conditions apply.

For more information and applications, see the stream page.

Grow Your Business Online Grant 

Indigenous businesses interested in the Grow Your Business Online grant, can also access the program through the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.

Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) - Grow Your Business Online grant

Futurpreneur Canada Start-up Program

Futurpreneur Canada Startup Program

You may be eligible for financing (up to $60,000), mentoring and additional resources for young entrepreneurs, 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
  • Agree to work with a mentor for up to two years
  • Own at least 51% of your business

Contact Futurpreneur Canada:
Futurpreneur Canada

Starter Company Plus - EN

Starter Company Plus

If you are an Ontario resident aged 18 and over and not attending school full time, you may be eligible to apply for funding of up to $5,000 to start or expand your business. You could also receive:

  • One-on-one guidance from a business advisor
  • Mentoring from a local entrepreneur
  • Training through business workshops
  • Business experience that could help you obtain other traditional financing

You need to contribute 25% of the grant in cash or in kind. Other conditions apply.

Read online:
Starter Company Plus

Financing search tool


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.

Search online:
Business Benefits Finder

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.

Read online:
Association of Municipalities of Ontario


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