Are You a Canadian Minority? Here Are Small Business Grants For You

Apr 6, 2018

As a minority-business owner in Canada, you are entitled to certain grants created by the government to foster minority business growth. If you’re having trouble securing funding for your business venture, we’ve put together a list of small business grants in Ontario for you. Check them out.

What Is the Difference Between a Grant and a Loan?

Grants and loans have the same function: to provide business capital. However, there are key differences in how grants and loans are structured.

A small business loan is funding secured by a financial institution to cover business expenses. These are the four most popular loan options:

  • Personal Loan
  • Credit Card
  • Equipment Financing
  • Credit line builder

A personal loan is one you take out in your name using your credit and financial information. This option can be a bit risky because it doesn’t protect you from bankruptcy, and you can ruin your own credit if you default on the loan.

But, interest rates for these loans are much lower than traditional business rates. You may be able to borrow up to $40,000 if you have a credit score of 680 or higher.

A business credit card is another loan option for business owners. Many credit cards offer low introductory APR rates and a large line of credit. They also offer other perks such as a rewards program.

Equipment financing is great for business owners that need lots of equipment to get their business up and running.

They can either lease or finance the equipment. Leasing requires no money down, while financing requires owners to use the machines as collateral.

Credit line building is a system that allows small businesses to apply for credit lines through a financing company. The company will help you qualify for a variety of credit cards. Once approved, you’ll get access to multiple lines of credit.

Although the lines of credit are for your business, the card activity affects your credit score. Late payments and high credit utilization will lower your credit rating.

Building a credit line is best for business owners with high credit scores and meticulous spending habits. But don’t use the cards as the main way to fund your business.


A grant is business capital that you DO NOT have to pay back. They are intended for business owners that may have trouble securing financing or investments. To qualify for grants, you must meet certain requirements and submit an application.

Grants are distributed by

  • Federal Government
  • Regional Agencies
  • Corporations

Federal government grants usually have the strictest guidelines. The government allocates a certain amount of money each year to help underrepresented business owners like women and people of color.

The government also has certain initiatives geared towards funding certain industries such as the STEM field.

Regional government agencies are an extension of the federal government. They serve a specific province or region of the country. They can help business owners find national or local grants geared towards members of the community.

When you’re looking for small business grants in Ontario, look for regional agencies that serve the Ontario province.

Many corporations decide to pay it forward by using some of their revenue to help entrepreneurs. Typically, the grants are worth thousands of dollars. There may be certain qualifications you must meet to receive a corporate grant.

How Do You Contact These Agencies?

The best way to contact any government agency is through their website. The government created websites specifically for grants and grant-seekers.

The website will give you important information such as application deadlines and a link to download necessary forms.

Sometimes, the website will require you to sign up through an online form to receive funding information. You can also contact them using their telephone number or email address.

For corporate grants, go directly to the company’s website. You can usually find more information by typing “grants” into the search bar.

A lot of the grant information will be available under the philanthropic section of the site.

Small Business Grants in Ontario

The Canadian government may offer grants with a subsidy or contribution stipulation. This means you must invest a certain amount of money before the government gives you a grant.

This isn’t the case for all grants, but it’s important to be aware of this stipulation. You will know if you are required to offer certain contributions when you receive the funding information packet.

Regional grants can be a bit laxer. For instance, the Canadian government offers a plethora of grants to business owners in the Northwest Territories.

The Canada Job Grant pays for the training costs of employees in the area. It will cover training materials and other necessities up to $15,000. This grant is ideal for business owners that need highly-skilled staff.

Entrepreneurs seeking small business grants in Ontario should look for certain terminology when searching for a grant. Words like rebates and tax credits signify federal aid.

Oftentimes, the government provides tax breaks and credits to businesses in certain areas. The government also favours technology and research-based businesses.

The government grant agency may require you to submit a business plan, marketing strategy, or other materials to validate your business.

Popular Grants

The Canada Small Business Financing Program is a grant distributed under the Canada Small Business Financing Act. Eligible applicants may receive up to $1 million for real estate acquisitions, equipment, and computer software.

The Eastern Ontario Development Fund provides a $5 million loan or a $1.5 million grant to Ontario businesses trying to expand their operations. The government will forgive interest on the loan if the company meets their financial targets.

To be eligible for this grant, the business should have 10 or more employees, must be in operation for at least three years and must be located in Eastern Ontario.

Greenbelt Fund: Local Food Investment– This grant offers up to 50% of grant coverage for non-profit and for-profit agricultural-based and food processing businesses.

The grant is open to Ontario farmers, food processors, distributors, and food retailers.


These are just a few of the small business grants in Ontario. Hopefully, our guide has taught you more about securing funding for your operation. If you need more business tips or advice, explore our blog.



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