Starter Company Plus

The Starter Company Plus program provides mentoring, training and the opportunity of a grant up to $5,000 to start, grow or buy a small business.  The program provides: training and business skills development to help prepare participants in running their own business; advice and mentorship from local industry leaders; assistance in writing a comprehensive business plan to better position participants in obtaining financing; and a micro-grant to kick off a new or expanding business. 

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

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 attend weekly meetings for the entire length of the program (approximately 4 months).

WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE?

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

TRAINING

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 path;
  • 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 with reasonable milestones and targets; financial statements with 3 years of projected income and cash-flow are required;
  • 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.

FUNDING

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 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
  • Training
  • Marketing
  • Renovations
  • One-time Supplies

Non-Eligible Expenses:

  • Any Operational Costs such as:
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Inventory
  • Wages
  • Travel
  • Rolling Stock (vehicles)
  • Cell Phones

TIMELINE & APPLICATION PROCESS

Step 1 - Application: January 14th to February 22nd, 2019

  • Application is open from January 14th to February 22nd, 2019
  • Application form to be filled out entirely before submitting

Step 2 - Business Model Canvas:

  • 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 within 2 weeks of receiving confirmation of eligibility. Details on this step will be e-mailed to applicants directly.

Step 3 - One-on-One Interviews: March 4th - March 15th, 2019

  • 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. Limited spots are available.

Step 4 - Program start date: March 28th, 2019