Funding Resources

Grants, loans and equity funding may be available to you in Northwestern Ontario, regardless of whether you want to start up or expand a business, invest in Research & Development or build international trade, or if you’re in a rural area. Funding resources can be obtained through a number of different sources:


There are 39 federal and 57 provincial grants and subsidies available to businesses operating in Canada. Grants are the most desirable form of funding because they usually do not require repayment.  Grants can be sought to assist many parts of the business operation including hiring new employees, training, research and development, innovation and new technologies. The National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC/IRAP) for example provides grants to small and medium-sized Canadian businesses who are interested in growing by using innovative technology. Grants usually require a business owner to complete an application for funding. 

The Ontario Business Program Guide provides current information about business funding opportunities. 


Loans are an excellent source of funding if you have suitable security to borrow against or a reliable income stream. Earnings need to be planned and presented well to obtain loan funds. 

Common sources of loans funding include: business development loans, government guaranteed loans, low interest or no interest loans, bank loans, credit cards, overdrafts, business line of credit and mortgages.  

Loans can be relatively flexible to meet the specific needs of the entrepreneur or business. Terms and rates are usually dependent upon risk although many incentives are offered and particularly through government loans. If you are considering taking out a loan for your business it is important to shop around. 

Equity Financing:

If you have a good business plan and proposition for potential investors, your business may attract equity financing through angel investment or venture capital. Northwestern Ontario has a formalized Angel Network that is readily seeking new and high growth businesses to invest in. The Northern Ontario Angels (NOA) also works with entrepreneurs and investors across the region to help facilitate equity financing opportunities. If you are considering equity financing as an option, you should consider that most investors will be looking for relatively high and quick rates of return for their investment dollars – usually within 3-5 years.   

In addition to funding opportunities, other tax credits and business relocation incentives are also offered by various levels of government in Canada. For example, the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program is a federal tax incentive program to encourage businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development in Canada. 

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