Youth Entrepreneurship Guide
Table of contents
Entrepreneurship can start at any age. This guide will introduce you to the basics of starting a business, and the government programs available to young entrepreneurs in Ontario.
The age range for youth programs varies from 15 to 39 years old. 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 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.
If you have legal questions, contact a lawyer who deals with business regulations. The Law Society of Upper Canada's Law Society Referral Service may be able to assist you in finding a lawyer or paralegal, based on your needs.
Law Society Referral Service
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 business start-up guide will give you more information on these steps and other basic requirements for starting a business in Ontario.
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 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.
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.
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.
Canada Revenue Agency
Programs and 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.
Canada Business: Government grants and financing
Some of the programs and financing options specifically for young entrepreneurs include:
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:
Futurpreneur Canada Start-up Program
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 landed immigrant
- 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 the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure:
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers’ Program
If you are a young entrepreneur interested in farming, you may be able to access mentoring, scholarships and other resources through Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer's Program (OYF).
Age range: 18 to 39
Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmer's Program
From day-to-day operations to long-term planning, learn how to manage your business efficiently.
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.
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.