Funding for your Business

The St. Catharines Enterprise Centre (SCEC) offers two programs that include business training, mentoring and a grant. In addition to these programs, the SCEC can help to identify other sources of funding.

The two programs offered by the SCEC are Summer Company and Starter Company Plus.

Summer Company

Summer Company is a program for youth who are in school and planning to start a business. 
The program includes business training, guidance from the SCEC, mentoring, and a grant of up to $3,000.
Applications for Summer Company are currently closed.

Starter Company Plus

 Starter Company Plus - St Catharines

Starter Company Plus is a training and mentorship program for businesses less than one year in age or micro businesses ready to go full time. This program offers training in business planning, marketing, and financials.

Mentorship is available for eligible program participants and grants of up to $5,000 are available.

Eligibility Includes

 

The recipient must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older;
  • Be prepared to commit to a minimum average of 35 hours per week to run the business;
  • Not have full-time employment or studies outside of the business more than 12 hours per week;
  • Be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident;
  • Be fully responsible for the on-going operation of the business and is the majority owner (50 per cent or more); and
  • Be able to show investment in the business of at least $1,250.

Full eligibility will be discussed at an intake session with the SCEC.

Business Eligibility

 

The proposed business is a new start-up, less than one-year old, or a newly purchased business and:

  • is located in Niagara Region;
  • is an independent business venture;
  • is a legal business in Ontario;
  • operates at arms-length from family business ventures;
  • operates at full-time as defined in the business plan;
  • maintains its own books and records;
  • maintains a separate business bank account; and
  • follows all government rules and regulations and applicable by-laws for the operation of the business.

Full eligibility will be discussed at an intake session with the SCEC.

Non-eligible businesses

 
  • Franchises, commissioned sales and distributorships
  • Business ventures that are continuations of existing commercial endeavours
  • Not-for-profit, social enterprise, co-operatives or charitable enterprises
  • Multi-level marketing ventures
  • Single event such as musical ventures bands, DJs or dance/party event organizations
  • Businesses that are strictly pay-per-click and 1-900 number businesses or subscription models.

Full eligibility will be discussed at an intake session with the SCEC.

Application Process

  •  Asses your eligibility to participate in the program
  • Complete the intake form
  • Meet with SCEC to complete an intake meeting
  • If eligible, you will be asked to register for and attend a minimum of 12 hours of training.
  • Develop a business plan with guidance from the SCEC

The complete application process will be discussed in the intake session with the SCEC. Those that successfully complete the training and meet all requirements will be invited to apply for the grant.

Grant Application Process

  • All training must be completed.
  • All documentation requested must be provided
  • Proof of personal contribution at least $1250
  • A business plan, start-up budget and financial forecast must be completed, to the satisfaction of the SCEC, before being considered by the Grant Committee.
  • Grant recipients will be required to participate in the program for a minimum of three months for additional mentoring, support and reporting.
  • An exit interview must be completed

Starter Company Plus is competitive in nature and there is no guarantee a grant will be awarded.

 

Full eligibility and program details will be discussed at an intake session with the SCEC.

This program is delivered by the SCEC and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Growth. There are a limited number of grants available.

Complete the Starter Company Plus Intake Form to get started. Once completed, save and send the form to enterprisecentre@stcatharines.ca

The SCEC reserves the right to disqualify any participant that, in its sole judgement, violates the spirit of the program and its guidelines, processes and rules. SCEC and its Grant Committee decisions are final.

 The SCEC reserves the right to suspend, delay, modify or cancel these terms and conditions for any reasonable applicable law.

Please note

All program participants will receive business training, however, not all will receive the grant/seed funding.

Funding your Business

The SCEC can help you to identify your financial needs and guide you through the process of applying for funding. Common sources of funding are listed here.

Personal Savings and Love Money

The number one way that businesses get started is through personal savings or funding from a loved one in the way of a loan or a gift.

Financial Institutions and Credit Unions

Banks and credit unions provide a number of financing options, including lines of credit, short-term loans, long-term mortgage loans, and even loans against inventory and/or receivables.  Organizations that offer loans typically require a business plan to support the loan request.

Canada Small Business Financing Program

The Canada Small Business Financing Program seeks to increase the availability of loans for establishing, expanding, modernizing and improving small businesses. It does this by encouraging financial institutions to make their financing available to small businesses.  This program is offered by local financial institutions.

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) helps create and develop Canadian businesses through financing, venture capital and consulting services, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Venture Niagara

Venture Niagara can provide your business with up to $150,000 in a loan to purchase equipment and inventory, finance purchase orders and cover operating expenses. Term loans, operating lines and on occasion, equity investments are available if your business qualifies. They also offer a Small Business Express Loan which lends up to $10,000 to qualified applicants.

Futurpreneur Canada

Futurpreneur Canada lends to entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-39. They partner with the Enterprise Centre to provide business training, application support and mentor recruitment. You can access up to $45,000 and will be matched with a local mentor for 2 years through this program.

Grant and incentive programs

While there are a number of grants available to businesses in Ontario, most of the existing programs are targeted strictly to specific industries, specific needs, geographical areas or particular groups of entrepreneurs. A trusted resource where you can search for potential grants online is at the Canada Business website.

Become a SCEC client

These are still only some of the programs that exist to support entrepreneurs.
To find out more about programs available to support small business, become a client of the SCEC and work with our team as you start your business.
Please download and complete the SCEC client intake form. Once it is completed, save it and send it to enterprisecentre@stcatharines.ca. The SCEC team can help you identify your funding options, the eligibility requirements, and how to apply. 
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