Youth entrepreneurship guide

Table of contents

Getting started
Programs and financing
Other resources


Entrepreneurship can begin at any age. This guide will introduce you to the basics of starting a business and highlight government programs available to young entrepreneurs in Ontario.

To be eligible for youth entrepreneur programs, you need to be between 15 and 39 years old. Please refer to the individual program descriptions in this guide for more information.

There is no minimum age for starting a business. However, you need to be at least 18 years old to sign contracts or other legal documents. If you are under 18 and starting a business, you may need someone who is over 18 to sign legal documents on your behalf. Discuss your business ideas with a parent or guardian before you start.

Legal questions

Legal questions

You can contact Pro Bono Ontario’s free legal advice hotline to enquire about getting help with your everyday civil legal needs (no family law, immigration or criminal law). The service is generally aimed at those who cannot afford a lawyer.

Note that service is not guaranteed and you will be asked questions as part of the qualifying process, such as the amount of personal income earned by your household, your name, postal code and age range.

Contact Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline:

Read online:
Pro Bono Ontario - Free Legal Advice Hotline


You can also contact the Law Society of Ontario's Law Society Referral Service if you have legal questions of a business nature. The service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer or paralegal, based on your needs.

Use online:
Law Society Referral Service

Getting started

Getting started

When you start a business there are several things to consider before you can sell your product or service. Most businesses in Ontario need to complete a minimum of three basic steps:

  • Find out what licences and regulations apply to your type of business
  • Choose a business structure and register or incorporate your business
  • Determine if you will need to collect and remit HST

Our Starting a business guide will give you more information on these steps and other basic requirements for starting a business in Ontario.

Read online:
Starting a business



Your business may need licences and permits from the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government.

In addition to the information you will find in this guide, you can use BizPaL to find licences and regulations that may affect your business.

Use online:
Permits and licences search



Depending on your location and the type of products or services being offered, federal, provincial and/or municipal business taxes may apply.

Read online:
Taxation guide

If you sell goods and services in Ontario, you may need a business number to collect and remit the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Most businesses that make less than $30,000 in any 12-month period are not required to charge HST; however, you can register voluntarily and claim input tax credits. Speak with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for more information.

Contact CRA:
Canada Revenue Agency

Programs and 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.

Search online:
Business Benefits Finder


Some of the support programs and financing options specifically for young entrepreneurs include:

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

BDC - young entrepreneur

You may be eligible for funding or services to support your business, including:

  • Start-up financing 
  • Small business lending for specific projects 
  • Business coaching 
  • Sales, marketing and business expansion advice

Contact BDC:
Young entrepreneur 

Summer Company

If you are a current student returning to school in the fall, you could get up to $3,000 to help you start and run a summer business.

You may be eligible if you are:

  • Proposing a new business
  • A resident of Ontario
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Committed to working an average of 35 hours per week
  • Not operating a business or working elsewhere for over 12 hours per week during the program
  • Not a past participant of Summer Company

Other conditions apply.

Age range: 15 to 29

Contact Employment Ontario:
Summer Company

Junior Achievement Canada

If you are a high school student wanting to start a business or improve your financial education, you may want to contact Junior Achievement Canada.

How it works:  Local businesses partner with your school’s teachers to give you real-world skills and mentorship from local business leaders.

There are three types of programs:

  • Financial Literacy: Learn how to create and manage wealth, as well as develop skills in areas such as budgeting, investing and creating financial plans.
  • Work Readiness: Learn how to communicate, network, interview for jobs and collaborate with diverse groups of people to achieve common goals.
  • Entrepreneurship: Gain first-hand experience in running a successful business and learn how to create business plans, innovate, manage teams and take a new product to market. 

Contact Junior Achievement Canada:
Junior Achievement Canada

Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer's Program

If you are a young farm operator (earning at least two-thirds of your gross income from farming) or pursuing post-secondary education leading to a diploma or degree in agriculture, you may be able to access mentoring, scholarships and other resources through Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer's Program.

Age range: 18 to 39

Read online:
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer's Program

OUT for Business Youth Entrepreneur program  

As a 2SLGBTQI+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Plus) youth entrepreneur, you may be eligible for support to grow your business. To apply for the program’s annual cohort, you need to:  

  • Identify as a member of the 2SLGBTQI+ community   
  • Be between 18 to 39  
  • Have a registered business in Canada 

The program offers:   

  • One on one and team mentoring  
  • Networking opportunities  

Contact Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC): 
OUT for Business Youth Entrepreneur program 
See also: 2SLGBTQI+ business guide 


If you are a youth entrepreneur facing mental health or addiction challenges, you could get, depending on the program, $300 to $10,000 to help start, grow or promote your product or service. Mentoring and help with developing your business plan and entrepreneurship skills are also available.

To be eligible, you need to:

  • Be between the ages of 16 and 29
  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Self-identify as someone facing mental health or addiction challenges
  • Be unable to obtain traditional bank financing for your business
  • Not be in active bankruptcy

Other conditions apply.

Read online:

Other resources

Additional links that may be of interest to youth entrepreneurs include:


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