Ontario Government Grant for Small Business & How to Apply for the Grant

The Canadian federal administration and the largest four provinces (including Ontario) allocated nearly $29 billion in a year for “subventions”, which encompass tax deductions, subsidies, investments, etc.

There exists a plethora of funds accessible from different government echelons to support commercing entities.

Authorities provide subventions, advances, tax deductions, investments, and in-kind aid to foster commerce development and mitigate unemployment across a wide spectrum of industry sectors.

Although governments endorse an extensive array of commercial ventures, government support traditionally falls into five categories:

  • Recruitment
  • Educational Programs
  • Capital Investment
  • Exploration & Development
  • Commerce/Market Development (embracing operational funds, exportation, etc.)

Ontario State Grant

In line with the federal government, the provincial government of Ontario also contributes to fortifying enterprises.

The Ontario Government offers grants for business establishment, recruitment, educational programs, capital investment, and more. The province also presents initiatives for specific regions such as the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, Eastern Ontario Development Fund, and others.

The following delineates grants provided to Ontario enterprises by the provincial government:

Grants by the Provincial Government for Business Inception in Ontario

  • Starter Company Plus allots a grant of roughly $5,000 for initializing a new commercial enterprise, broadening an existing business, or procuring a business. A co-participation is required.
  • For students aspiring to commence a summer venture, the Summer Company program bestows start-up funds to eligible individuals aged between 15 and 29 for summer business activities. Approximately $3,000 is available for those committing to a certain number of work hours.

Provincial Grants for Recruitment in Ontario

  • The Canada-Ontario Job Grant Program offers co-participatory funds to aid in educational program expenses for enterprises of various sizes. A qualified third-party instructor must facilitate the educational program.
  • FedNor supports enterprises through funding for appointing youthful interns under either the Northern Ontario Development Program or the Economic Development Initiative. FedNor contributes a portion of the remuneration and employee benefits for the intern in a full-time capacity for nearly 12 months.

Province-Level Grants Specifically for Northern Ontario Enterprises:

  • NOHFC (Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation) allocates funds to Northern Ontario enterprises desiring to execute applied research or tasks essential for developing new technologies and introducing them to the market.
  • Utilize the Pilot Demonstration and Commercialization Projects program from NOHFC to obtain co-participatory funds to mitigate risks associated with presenting and scaling up new technologies for commercial production in targeted sectors.
  • Also through NOHFC, the Northern Community Capacity Building Program sustains Northern Ontario communities in enhancing their economic standing. This program is solely open to for-profit enterprises collaborating with municipalities, other government agencies, or educational institutions.
  • The NOHFC’s Strategic Economic Infrastructure Program disburses funds for strategic infrastructure projects demonstrating a verifiable net economic impact in Northern Ontario. For-profit enterprises must engage in partnerships with municipalities or non-profit entities to qualify.
  • The Business Expansion Projects program from NOHFC empowers existing enterprises in Northern Ontario to acquire funds for projects aimed at expanding operations through initiatives such as capital construction, educational expenses, or tech investments.
  • With the NOHFC’s Small Business Start-Up Projects fund, new enterprises in Northern Ontario can receive grants to fortify commencing operations in existing or burgeoning priority economic sectors.
  • Another NOHFC initiative is the Northern Event Partnership Program. It offers co-participatory funding for events contributing to the economic development of Northern Ontario. For-profit enterprises must form associations with a government agency, educational institution, or non-profit organization to qualify.
  • The NOHFC Northern Ontario Internship Program furnishes wage subsidies to facilitate enterprises in hiring first-time, full-time graduates.
  • When prospecting about a commercial credit and grant amalgamation, NOHFC administers a program called Business Expansion Projects, supporting enterprises in enhancing competitiveness and job creation.

Province-Level Grants Specifically for Southern Ontario Enterprises:

  • FedDev disburses funds to stimulate and expand enterprises in Southern Ontario, encompassing those endeavoring to promote innovative products, technologies, and procedures through the Business Scale-Up and Productivity Program.
  • Utilize the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund to obtain funding to assist business undertakings that bolster job creation, entice private sector investments, and foster commercial growth in the geographic domain of Southwestern Ontario.

Province-Level Grants Specifically for Eastern Ontario Enterprises:

  • The Eastern Ontario Development Fund furnishes financial aid for endeavours propelling job generation, soliciting private sector investments, and fostering innovation in the geographic zone of Eastern Ontario.

Province-Level Grants Supporting Nascent Technological Enterprises:

  • ENCQOR will provide funding to SMEs in Ontario propelling, demonstrating, or advancing new technologies, products, procedures, and services pertinent to 5G technology.
  • OCE, via its Market Readiness Fund, allocates investments in embryonic enterprises in Ontario across sectors such as information technology, robotics, artificial intelligence, health, and advanced manufacturing.
  • Another OCE initiative known as the Collaboration Voucher Program administers funding for enterprises to ally with research hospitals, universities, and colleges in Ontario to tackle industry challenges and amplify productivity.
  • The AV R&D Partnership Fund administers matching grants for initiatives connected to the development and demonstration of technologies in the autonomous vehicle sector. A segment of this program also dispenses co-participatory funds for the commercialization of technologies developed in Ontario.
  • The Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Support fund furnishes financial aid for business equipment, supplies, licenses, and certification requirements for persons with disabilities.

Many individuals assume that simply because they are Canadian citizens and taxpayers, the government should provide funding for their commercial ventures. While many wish it were so, the reality is quite different.

Procedure for Applying for a Small Business Subvention

Prior to illustrating how to seek a small business grant, it is imperative to note that grants are not the solitary beneficial programs for a business operator, whether initiating or expanding a business.

Most business owners incline towards “grants” assuming that these programs are the most fitting, given that the funds do not have to be repaid; making it the prime alternative.

While many government grants are non-repayable, there are other types of grants that necessitate awareness:

  • Refundable Grants
  • Partial Contributions
  • Conditionally Repayable

Other financing options to deliberate encompass tax incentives, relocation bonuses, low-interest or interest-free loans, and government-backed loans.

All of these alternatives present viable avenues for business owners, whether launching a new enterprise or managing an established one, either as an alternative or in conjunction with government grants.

Given that government grants are markedly more arduous to secure and generally center on specific funding prerequisites, many individuals shy away and ultimately turn to other forms of funding offered by the government to entrepreneurs.

Let’s delve into discovering how to apply for small business grants.

Step 1: Define precisely what funding you require and be highly specific:

  • Costs for recruitment and educational programs?
  • Disbursing employee salaries?
  • Meeting marketing and advertising expenses?
  • Refurbishing and lease improvements?
  • Assistance with liquidity?
  • Procuring tools, supplies, and equipment?
  • Conducting exploration and development?

The more specific your inquiry, the easier it will be to ascertain the funding programs dispending the requisite aid.

Step 2: Ascertain the exact amount of funding needed:

Beseeching for funding is no simple feat. Why should someone provide you with funds? When petitioning for funding, one must be candid, trustworthy, exhibit enthusiasm, but most importantly, be knowledgeable and accurate.

Bifurcate it into specific requisites and solicit funding from a variety of programs.

Would you be more prone to receive funding from 5 programs, each disbursing $5,000 for different requirements or a solitary program providing an immediate $25,000?

For instance, if you require a total of $25,000 for initializing your business, your optimal strategy for funding assistance would be to divide the sum into specific requisites; e.g.:

  • $7,000 for hiring personnel and compensating them for 2 months
  • $3,000 for office space
  • $10,000 for procuring tools and equipment
  • $2,500 for promotional expenses
  • $2,500 for the startup cash flow

This strategy allows you to apply to multiple programs. Not all funding regimes endorse every requirement, so by itemizing your funding needs, you heighten the likelihood of applying to numerous programs, thereby significantly enhancing your success prospects.

Step 3: Ensure that you have a fully prepared business plan

Devoid of a business plan, no business, be it a start-up or established one, will thrive.

Getting a business plan crafted by a professional can be quite expensive, costing several thousand dollars. Hence, it may not be justifiable to spend $3,000 on formulating a plan to apply to a $3,000 funding program. Alternative options for creating a business plan should be explored.

For start-ups seeking substantial aid, we recommend utilizing the user-friendly business plan tool offered by numerous websites, which also provides expert guidance.

Step 4: Seek professional assistance

You may have heard successful entrepreneurs advocate the division of labor as the best course of action. Let the experts handle the small business funding exploration, business plan formulation, and all the intricate tasks while you dedicate your focus on your business.

Seeking professional assistance is the fastest route to advancing your business and managing funding by the government.

We trust that this analysis of Ontario government subventions for small businesses will enrich your knowledge about this funding system and its application for your business.

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