Funding & Financing

There are numerous grant, funding, and financing opportunities that are available to help overcome the financial challenges of starting a new business. We've created this list of opportunities to help you to get started.

Not sure what is the right financial strategy for your business idea? Check out this overview of different financing approaches by MaRS or refer to another article in the Resources section.

Navigation:

Directories

  • Canada Business - a Government of Canada website that provides business information on starting a business, grants and financing, regulations and permits, management and marketing.
  • Crunchbase - a platform for finding business information about private and public companies, with company insights from early-stage startups to the Fortune 1000.
  • MaRS Funding Sources Directory - this database compiles provincial, national and international funding sources suitable for technology or science companies. It draws from both the public and private sectors. Many of the sources are directed at Ontario-based companies, but other opportunities listed are eligible for companies from across Canada.
  • Funding and Grants Database - Government of British Columbia's grant search tool to help you to connect with a wide range of funding opportunities. You can narrow the search by grant description, name, subject area or the application deadline.
  • Fundica - a free funding search tool that is regularly updated with the most up-to-date information possible. It helps entrepreneurs find grants, tax credits, loans and equity; while helping funders find entrepreneurs for their funding solutions.

Government Grants & Financing

Financing from Non-Government Organizations

First Nations

Youth

  • League of Innovators - national Canadian charity with a goal of building entrepreneurial acumen for youth, at scale.
  • Futurpreneur - provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39.
  • YMCA - Self Employment - in conjunction with the new Employment Program of BC and the YWCA, the Self Employment program is designed to help small businesses through training, financial support and connections to other networks and agencies.
  • Youth Social Innovation Capital Fund - impact investing fund that supports young entrepreneurs.
  • Aviva Community Fund - open to entrepreneurs between 18 and 25 who can offer a unique solution to the problems of climate change or an idea benefiting Canada's environmental legacy.

Women

Region

Other

  • BC Community Futures - provides business support services, business planning advice, loans and self employment assistance in rural BC communities, including specific loans for persons with disabilities and young people.
  • British Columbia credit unions - credit unions often have small business or startup loans available to their members and may be an alternative to a bank loan.
  • British Columbia Innovation Council - provides funding sources for businesses in the tech sector.

Private Sector Financing

Funds from the private sector are diverse in their approach and investment level. See this overview by Canada Business to see if private investment in your company is the right approach.

  • National Angel Capital Organization - NACO connects investors and stakeholders through industry events and professional development.
  • First Angel Network Association - member based not-for-profit focusing on businesses in Atlantic Canada.
  • BC Angel Forum - holds semi-annual one day event where pre-screened companies can seek private equity funding.
  • Boogar - publishes a business listing and directory of venture capital resources, financial services, business services, operations services, marketing services.
  • Canada’s Venture Capital and Private Equity Association - CVCA promotes industry awareness through market research and networking opportunities for its members (private and public sector firms).
  • BDC Venture Capital - BDC Capital offers venture capital investment to Canadian companies.
  • Launch Academy - early-stage tech incubator provides entrepreneurs with the mentorship, resources, network and environment they need to launch, fund and grow their startups.
  • Vancouver Angel Technology Network - VANTEC is a group of angel investors who support promising BC-based entrepreneurs in technology ventures with angel investment, advice and connections.
  • Western Universities Technology Innovation Fund (WUTIF) - WUTIF Capital (VCC) Inc. is an angel fund that co-invests with angel investors in promising new technology ventures in British Columbia. WUTIF offers substantial tax incentives available only to residents of BC.
  • Timia Capital - Timia provides upfront investment in a similar way to an angel investor, without equity dilution. They focus on scalable technology businesses that are growing.

Crowdfunding, Microlending, Peer-to-Peer

Crowdfunding is a way to raise money in small contributions from a large pool of investors from the general public. See more details about the nuts and bolts of this approach to financing your business from the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCAC), and from SeedUps Canada's Equity Crowdfunding 101 ebook.

  • Community Micro Lending - a non-profit society that connects local lenders to local borrowers in the Southwest BC region.
  • FinanceIt - helps businesses create financing plans for their customers.
  • IndieGoGo - launch platform based on crowdfunding in technology, art, architecture, films, and more.
  • Kiva - an international nonprofit, founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco, with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.
  • GoFundMe - World’s largest social fundraising platform with a section specific to business and entrepreneurs.
  • Kickstarter - a crowdfunding platform focused on creative projects.
  • Prosper - personal loans based on your credit score, and issued to individuals.
  • SeedUps Canada - helps guide companies review their business plan and prepare to pitch to investors.
  • StartSomeGood - crowdfunding platform exclusively for social change initiatives.

Social Enterprises & Non-Profits

Many businesses have a social component to building community in their mission, and conversely, many nonprofits have a business component to help generate income for operating costs. No matter which perspective you're coming from, there are great funding opportunities out there. Be sure to check the NGO list as many of the NGOs have a social enterprise component to their financing.

  • CharityVillage - links to online databases and directories of funding agencies and foundations.
  • Vancity Small Business Loans - Vancity credit union offers financial and technical support for small businesses, including funding specifically for Aboriginal entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs with a disability, and social enterprises.
  • MaRS Center for Impact Investing - creates innovative ways for investors to fund social enterprises and charities.

Resources

These articles provide additional information about the different ways you can finance your business.