The Starter Company Plus Program provides mentoring, training and the opportunity of a grant for individuals 18 years of age and above to start, grow or buy a small business.

Starter Company Plus provides:

• training and business skills development to help participants prepare to run their own business;
• advice and mentorship from local business leaders to help get the business up and running;
• experience running a business that will better position participants to obtain more traditional financing, such as a bank loan, if required; and
• where applicable/eligible, a micro-grant to kick-off a new business or expand an existing business.



Eligible participants for the Starter Company Plus program are:

• minimum 18 years of age;
• proposing a new company, expansion of an existing company or buying a business from a retiring entrepreneur;
• not a full time student and not returning to school;
• a resident of Ontario;
• a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
• prepared to commit to a minimum average of 35 hours a week to running a business;
• prepared to attend weekly meetings for the entire length of the program (4 months).



• Individuals attending school or returning to school;
• Part-time or seasonal businesses;



Entrepreneurs interested in Starter Company Plus will work with The Regional Business Centre to follow a learning plan and receive necessary training, including the creation of a business plan with performance milestones. These entrepreneurs can be buying a business, starting their own, or expanding an already existing business. In order for a business expansion to be eligible for a grant, concrete growth goals must be established – ideally including the hiring of staff.

No funding will be provided to the participants during the training module.

Participants will be ready to leave the training module and approach the Grant Committee to apply for funding (if needed) when they have:

• completed all of the elements in their learning plan;
• produced a viable business plan with reasonable milestones and targets; and
• demonstrated their commitment to the Program to the satisfaction of their service provider.



The Grant Committee will determine whether and how much funding the applicant should receive based on:

• feasibility of the business;
• quality of applicant – teachability, entrepreneurial aptitude;
• potential for job creation;
• start-up budget/financing needs of the business; and
• cash/in-kind contributions of the participant

The participant may receive up to $5,000 in funding, provided that they can match that funding by 25% (may include asset-based in-kind contribution, at fair market value, such as equipment or machinery required to run the business i.e. ladders/scaffolding for a painting company; camera and lenses for a photographer).

The participant will receive up to 75% of total eligible funding at the time of funding being approved. The final amount of the grant will be received when the participant has reached the mutually agreed upon milestones/targets laid out in their business plan.


Eligible Expenses:

  • Equipment
  • Training
  • Marketing
  • Renovations
  • Supplies

Non-Eligible Expenses:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Inventory
  • Wages
  • Travel
  • Rolling Stock (vehicles)


The participant operates the business and attends formalized mentoring meetings monthly for six months. They may also meet informally with their personal mentor. During the six month period the business owner reports back to the Regional Business Centre detailing:

• revenues
• cash-flow
• hiring
• other business details as requested



Step 1 - Application: November 15th to December 15th

• Application is open from November 15th to December 15th, 2017

• Application form to be filled out entirely before submitting


Step 2 - Eligibility Form: November 15th to December 15th

• Once the Regional Business Centre receives the application form, an eligibility form will be e-mailed to applicants to ensure that all applicants fall within the eligibility criteria.


Step 3 - Business Model Canvas: December 15th to January 12th

• All applicants who are deemed eligible to take part in the program will be asked to complete a business model canvas, which is to be e-mailed to the Regional Business Centre by January 12th. Details on this step will be e-mailed to applicants after December 15th.


Step 4 - One-on-One Interviews: January 15th to 26th

• Applicants who have successfully completed the business model canvas will be asked to meet with the program coordinator to discuss their participation in the Starter Company Plus program.


Step 5 - Program start date: February 2018


Application closes December 15th - Limited spaces available!