Have you been sitting on a brilliant business idea but do not have the resources to follow through? Gaining access to the right self-employment benefit program can send you on your way to being self-employed sooner than you think.

In any case, employment security is not at its strongest with the ongoing global pandemic. Starting on your own with the right business plan could be a more viable option at this point. There are several self-employment grants Ontario residents like you could take advantage of. Although some of them can be very specific, it is best to know what opportunities are available by familiarizing yourself with some of them.

The Starter Company Program

Through this program, you can get up to $5,000 worth of financial assistance, which you can use to start a new business, buy an existing company, or expand your current business in Canada. It can also help expand your knowledge about the business you are in by giving you access to one-on-one advice, assigning a mentor to guide you, or holding workshops and seminars on a wide range of topics.

The Starter Company Plus is open to budding entrepreneurs who are 18 to 29 years old, hold Canadian citizenship, permanent residents of Ontario, and currently not attending full-time school. If you qualify, you will be asked to contribute 25% of the total grant.

The Business Acceleration Program

This Ontario self-employment program is designed to stimulate growth, development, and innovation in Ontario’s local industries. It draws funding from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Under this grant is the Youth Business Acceleration Program, which is open to young entrepreneurs aged 18 to 29. It offers to arm young individuals with the tools and skills needed to start and successfully run a business in the technology sector.

On top of financial support worth $5,000 to $20,000, qualified individuals will be given access to a business support network and a wealth of valuable market intelligence, putting them in the best position to succeed.

The Northern Business Opportunity Program – Small Business Startup Projects

This program aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs start a new business in northern Ontario, focusing on emerging sectors prioritized by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. Qualified businesses will receive a grant amounting to 50% of all eligible costs with a limit of $200,000 in conditional contributions. This fund can be used to improve leaseholds, integrate old or new equipment, obtain third-party training programs, or for marketing activities.

The Eastern Ontario Development Fund

Entrepreneurs in eastern Ontario who want to expand or bring in more businesses to their communities can apply for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund. Qualified businesses will be given funds amounting to 15% of all eligible costs. Companies in rural Ontario with less than 500 employees are allowed up to $500,000 in grant funds, while foreign direct investments have a limit of $1.5 million.

The program also offers loans to cover 15% of eligible costs to a maximum of $5 million. If the qualified business meets its investment and employment targets, up to 30% of the business loan (not exceeding $500,000) may be forgiven.

The Ontario Works Self Employment Benefit Program

Ontario Works is the ideal self-employment program Ontario entrepreneurs should apply for. Through this program, qualified individuals will receive assistance in creating a sound business plan. They will also be given access to useful resources such as business contacts and 60 weeks of ongoing support, everything that an up-and-coming entrepreneur needs to start and grow a business.

The Employment Insurance Program – Special Benefits

The EI special benefits are accessible to self-employed people who own a business or control more than 40% of a corporation’s voting shares. It offers financial support amounting to 55% of your total earnings up to a maximum of $573 per week.
This stream of the EI program is intended for qualified individuals who are away on maternity leave, caring for a newborn, could not attend to business activities due to medical reasons, or caring for a critically injured or ill person.

Employed people should apply for the regular benefits as the EI special benefits are targeted at the self-employed.

Microlending for Women in Ontario Program

This program is committed to supporting women with low income who want to start a business instead. The support initially comes in the form of financial literacy training, business mentoring, and skills development. Once they are deemed business-ready, they qualify for small business loans, which can be used for a start-up.

The SmartStart Seed Fund

This program is designed to support startup businesses in Ontario’s technology and innovation sectors, including those with links to a university or college in the area. Eligible businesses will be given up to $30,000 in funding for early-stage development, provided that they find at least one other source willing to give them the same amount. Qualified businesses with no matching fund are still entitled to $5,000 in financial assistance, which can be used on skills training and support activities such as peer networks, mentoring, and other business learning opportunities.

Business Incubators Across Canada

Canada has several organizations and programs that target companies still in their infancy. With a comprehensive support system, these business incubators help ensure that start-ups survive the common pitfalls that contribute to a business’s failure.
Support from business incubators may include start-up funding, introduction to an investor, technical resources, mentorship, or anything that may help a young entrepreneur get established. On top of all the peripheral benefits, incubators can help reduce the cost of starting a small business and operating it successfully by 40% to 50%.

Find the Best Option for You

Ontario has many programs and grants that can help small and medium businesses, and some of them are geared specifically for entrepreneurs and young start-ups. If you have plans of becoming self-employed, one of these grants could be your ticket to success.

However, each self-employment benefit program can be very specific. You would need all the information you can get to boost your chances of qualifying. This is where we can help.

To learn more about your options and how to best qualify, contact us now at EVAMAX.

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