Women in Business Guide

Table of contents

Introduction
Regulations
Financing
Taxation
Training and mentorship
Other resources

Introduction

As an entrepreneur, your ideas help shape the business landscape in Ontario. From small independently run businesses to hi-tech corporations, women entrepreneurs are making their mark on the economy. This guide will provide you with links and resources for your business.

You can also read our Business Start-Up Guide for information on the requirements for starting a new business in Ontario.

If you would like to learn how the federal government promotes the participation of women in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada, contact Status of Women Canada (SWC).

Contact SWC:
1-855-969-9922  
Status of Women Canada

Regulations

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 the Canada Business Permits and Licenses Search, powered by BizPaL, to find licences and regulations that may affect your business. You can also contact us to speak to someone about starting your business.

Contact us:
1-888-576-4444
Permits and licences search

Financing

Canada Business can help you find government financing options for your business. There are programs that apply to businesses across Canada, and others that apply only to businesses in Ontario. Use the Canada Business financing search tool or browse by type of financing.

Search online:
Canada Business: Government grants and financing

The following organizations offer financial support programs that apply specifically to women:

Women's Program - Funding

If you are planning a project that will have a direct impact on women in your community, you may be eligible for funding from Status of Women Canada (SWC).

Contact SWC: 
1-855-969-9922 
Women's Program - Funding

PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise

If your business is in the Thunder Bay, Greenstone, Patricia, and Superior North regions, you can contact the PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise for information on training programs, peer-to-peer lending, and financing options that are available to women entrepreneurs.

Contact PARO: 
1-800-584-0252 
PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise

Microlending for Women in Ontario

As a woman entrepreneur in certain regions of Ontario, you may be able to apply to a local program provider offering business training and microloans to women facing low-income and other challenges. Business start-up loans can range from $5,000 up to $15,000.

Read online:
Microlending for Women in Ontario

Taxation

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:
1-800-959-5525
Canada Revenue Agency

Training and mentorship

Skills, knowledge, and networking are keys to running a successful business. Training and mentorship programs can give you hands-on experience in the field and put you in contact with other women entrepreneurs. The following resources provide information on mentorship and training programs for women in business.

Investing in Women's Futures

Contact the Ontario Women’s Directorate (OWD) to find out about programs and centres where you can access entrepreneurial training and other community services. Consult their website to find a program near you.

Contact OWD: 
1-866-510-5902 
Investing in Women's Futures

Businesswomen in International Trade (BWIT)

If your business exports goods, you can get information and resources on international trade from the BWIT program, which is offered through Global Affairs Canada.

Contact BWIT: 
613-943-4556
Business Women in International Trade

CATA Women in Technology (CanWIT)

CanWIT is a community network designed to boost women's participation and advancement in the high-growth technology sector. You can find support through mentoring, networking and online resources to help your technology business succeed. 

Contact CANWIT 
613-236-6550 
Canadian Women in Technology

PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise

If your business is in Northern Ontario, contact the PARO Centre for Women for information on skills training and peer-to-peer lending programs for women entrepreneurs. 

Contact PARO: 
1-800-584-0252 
PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise

Other resources

Managing

From day-to-day operations to long-term planning, learn how to manage your business efficiently.

Associations

If you are interested in finding an association, use our secondary market research service request and have us search for one based on your needs.

Industry specific links

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.