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.
- Government Grants & Financing
- Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Funding
- Private Sector
- Social Enterprise & Non-profits
- 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.
- Concierge Services - this service will have you answer several questions and make suggestions for funding opportunities. You can also access Innovation Advisors for additional support.
- Canada Small Business Financing Program - a program to help small businesses to obtain loans from financial institutions and includes government and NGO programs.
- National Research Council- Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) - provides financial support to qualified small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada to help them undertake technology innovation.
- Pacific Economic Diversification Canada (PacifiCan) - PacifiCan promotes the development and diversification of the economy of British Columbia through grants and contributions programs.
- First Citizens Fund Aboriginal Business Loans Program - business loans for Aboriginal entrepreneurs in British Columbia.
- Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) - BDC offers financing solutions for entrepreneurs for projects and working capital. See also their services for Women Entrepreneurs, Young Entrepreneurs, and Indigenous Entrepreneurs.
- Aboriginal Business and Entrepreneurship Development - ABED works with Aboriginal entrepreneurs and its partners to provide services and support for the Aboriginal business sector.
- Trade and Invest BC - provides comprehensive information for anyone looking to invest in BC, purchase BC products or expand their BC business to global markets.
- SFU VentureLabs - accelerator helping science and technology ventures commercialize their innovations and scale up their businesses.
- Launch Online BC - A BC-specific grant program aimed at helping small and medium-sized businesses move their business models online.
- Nechako-Kitimaat Development Fund Society - NKDFS assists the people of North West British Columbia, and in particular the Nechako region and Kitamaat Village, by investing in sustainable economic and community stability projects.
- National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association - NACCA is a national association for a network of Aboriginal Financial Institutions, or AFIs. NACCA supports the AFI network, which offers financing to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit businesses and communities.
- Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations - the CFDC of CIFN promotes and provides community economic development support services to First Nations people within the Central Interior area.
- Burns Lake Native Development Corporation - the BLNDC provides assistance with business plan development, government grant applications, and general advisory services.
- Coast Economic Development Society (Coast Funds) - Coast Funds supports First Nations in achieving their goals for sustainable economic development and conservation management in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.
- All Nations Trust Company - ANTCO is an Aboriginal owned financial institution, providing developmental business loans.
- Nuu-chah-nulth Economic Development Corporation - NEDC promotes and assists in the development and establishment of new and existing business enterprises on Vancouver Island
- Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation - TACC provides Small Business Financing and support services to Aboriginals within traditional Coast Salish Territory, as well as Campbell River, Comox, and Lil’wat.
- Tribal Resource Investment Corporation - Tricorp provides financial services to First Nations entrepreneurs in Northwestern British Columbia.
- 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's Enterprise Centre - Business Loans - offers small business loans to women-owned businesses in BC.
- Startup Canada - regularly collaborates with investors to provide funding for women entrepreneurs. Check for current opportunities.
- Island Coastal Economic Trust - supports economic development initiatives on central and northern Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.
- Columbia Basin Trust - the CBT offers funding and support programs to residents, businesses, and communities in the Columbia Basin.
- Northern Development Initiative Trust - offers funding programs to support economic development priorities in central and northern British Columbia.
- Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust - SIDT supports strategic investments in economic development projects in the Southern Interior of BC.
- 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.
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 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.
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.
These articles provide additional information about the different ways you can finance your business.
- How to Finance Your Start-Up Business - Small Business BC
- Five Ways to Finance Your New Start-Up - Small Business BC
- Small Business Financing: Three Alternatives to Traditional Bank Loans - Small Business BC
- 10 Ways to Finance Your Business - Inc.
- Sources of private sector financing - Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (Government of Canada)