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.

For copies of sample business plans call us at:
1-888-576-4444

Read online:
Business planning success
Sample business plans and templates

Market research

To run a successful business it is helpful to know who your customers are, what they want and how to reach them. You can go directly to your customers for answers (primary market research), or you can use information that already exists (secondary market research).

CBO can help you with your secondary market research. Contact us directly for:

  • information about business associations, manufacturers, suppliers and competitors
  • articles about consumer, business and industry trends
  • Canadian consumer spending statistics and demographic data for market research
  • sample business plans
  • international trade data

The secondary market research service is offered free of charge and is available for people at any stage of business in Ontario.

Note: Research requests may take up to seven business days to complete.

Call us at:
1-888-576-4444
Secondary market research service request

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. Canada Business can help you find government programs that are available in Ontario.

Common sources of business financing include:

The Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP)

By sharing the risk with your financial institution, the CSBFP may help you get up to $1 million to start, expand, modernize or improve your small business. To be eligible your business should have annual gross revenues of no more than $10 million.

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

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

You cannot use the loan to finance items such as:

  • working capital
  • inventories
  • franchise fees
  • 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 the BDC, Canada’s bank for business. Learn about a variety of programs for business, including:

Contact BDC:
1-877-232-2269
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:
1-866-668-2332
Community Futures Ontario

Futurpreneur Canada Start-Up Program

You may be eligible for a loan of up to $15,000 from Futurpreneur Canada.

To be eligible, you should:

  • Be between the ages of 18 to 34
  • Create a business plan for a business that will employ you full time
  • Work with a mentor for two years
  • Own at least 51% of your business

If you are approved for funding from Futurpreneur Canada, you may also be eligible for additional funding of up to $30,000 through a special partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

For more information or to apply for the loan, visit the Futurpreneur Canada website or call them to find the nearest office.

For applicants aged 35 to 39, you can also apply through Futurpreneur Canada and work with one of their mentors, but your financing terms and conditions are from BDC for a maximum loan of $45,000.

Contact Futurpreneur Canada:
1-800-464-2923
Futurpreneur Canada Financing

Financing search tools

To search for other financing programs, visit the Canada Business website. There are programs that apply only to businesses in Ontario, and others that are available across Canada. Use the search tool or browse by type of financing.

Search online:
Canada Business: Government grants and financing

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

You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Canada Business Ontario (CBO) community partner, contact us at 1-888-576-4444.