Starter Company Plus – Regional Business Starter Company Plus – Regional Business

Starter Company Plus

Starter Company Plus is an Ontario government program facilitated by the Regional Business Centre to provide entrepreneurs with the resources and knowledge they need to start, purchase or grow their own business.  The program provides: training and business skills development to further coach participants in running their own business; advice and mentorship from local business leaders; assistance in writing a comprehensive business plan to better position participants in obtaining financing; and an opportunity for a $5,000 grant to kick off a new or expanding business.


Eligible participants for the Starter Company Plus program are:

  • Over the age of 18
  • Proposing a new company, expansion of an existing company or buying a business
  • A Canadian citizen (or permanent resident) and resident of Ontario
  • Not a student and not returning to school
  • Not enrolled in any government employment or self-employment related program that include or do not include financial assistance
  • Prepared to attend weekly meetings for the entire length of the training period (approximately 4 months)
  • Prepared to commit to a minimum average of 35 hours a week running the business
  • Can demonstrate 25% matching funds in cash or in-kind assets
  • Have not received the Starter Company Plus grant in the past or the Summer Company grant in the last 6 months
  • Business must operate in Greater Sudbury, Espanola and/or Manitoulin Island area
  • Business is not in the research & development stage

Don't meet the eligibility criteria?

Consider applying for the 6-month business incubation program at the Innovation Quarters.

Ineligible businesses for the Starter Company Plus program include:
  • Distributorship/franchise
  • Non-profit or charity
  • Pay-per-click business
  • Commissioned sales
  • Multi-level marketing
  • Single events
  • Part-time/seasonal business
  • Property investment and/or short-term rental investments


Entrepreneurs interested in Starter Company Plus will actively participate in live weekly training webinars and networking events.  They will work with the Regional Business Centre team to create a comprehensive business plan complete with the operational plan, market research and financial statements.  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 when they have:

  • Completed all of the elements in their training phase;
  • Willing to commit an average of 35 hours a week to the development and/or operation of their business upon receiving funding;
  • Set a minimum of three S.M.A.R.T. goals that they aim to achieve within 3 months following approval by the Grant Committee;
  • Produced a viable business plan which will include 3 years of projected income statements;
  • Prepared a 5 minute pitch that they will deliver to the Grant Committee; and
  • Demonstrated their commitment to the Program to the satisfaction of their service provider.

2024 Sample Calendar Elective seminar topics are subject to change.


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
  • Have the ability to create sufficient economic impact, including possibility for job creation
  • Start-up budget and/or financing needs of the business
  • Ability to fulfil a market demand

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

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 and can show receipts from Starter Company Plus funds spent.

Eligible Expenses:

  • Equipment
  • Tools
  • Training
  • Marketing
  • Leasehold Improvements
  • One-time Supplies

Non-Eligible Expenses:

Any Operational Costs such as:

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Inventory
  • Wages
  • Travel
  • Rolling Stock (vehicles)
  • Cell Phones
  • Office Supplies


Step 1 – Applications: 

  • The application period for the 2024 intake is open from January 23rd to February 25th, 2024.

Step 2 – Business Model Canvas:

  • All applicants deemed eligible to participate in the program will be asked to complete a Business Model Canvas, which will have a due date of 2 weeks after receiving an email confirmation of eligibility and instructions. Details on this step will be emailed to each applicant directly.

Step 3 – Interviews:

  • Applicants who have submitted the top scoring Business Model Canvas will be invited to meet with members of the interview panel to further discuss their business and interest in the program. Program requirements and expectations will be clearly defined.  Limited spaces are available.

Step 4 – Program Start Date:

  • Training begins April 24th, 2024.

Questions?  Contact the Regional Business Centre at 705-674-4455 x4636 or [email protected]