Now that your research and business plan are complete you are ready for the next step in your business venture – financing your business. Whether businesses are starting up or are looking to expand, the most frequently asked questions in our Centre typically revolve around financing:
What types of funding exist and how do I access them?
Are there any grants available?
What programs am I eligible for?
Funding is a critical factor in starting or expanding your business. You need to ensure that you have enough funds to cover your start-up expenses, equipment costs as well as the daily operating expenses incurred in running your business. This section will explore various options available for financing your business.
Most businesses start with money from personal savings or collateral from assets such as property. This surprises many individuals who are considering starting a new business. Before you seek potential sources of outside funding, you need to first consider how much you are willing and able to invest in the business yourself. This is an important question that will asked by outsider investors and financial institutions when evaluating your business idea. Willingness to invest your own money demonstrates conviction and dedication to your business.
Love money is funding obtained from family and/or friends. Many entrepreneurs do borrow from family when starting their business, but this option needs to be considered carefully to ensure that the money does not negatively impact the relationship. If you do borrow from family or friends, it is recommended that you formalize the arrangement with a written agreement and a promissory note that sets out payment terms, interest and payback period.
There are very few grants and subsidies available for small business start-ups. It is a common misconception that the government has money to hand out for small business, however, very few entrepreneurs qualify for grants. Many granting programs are specific to a type of industry, program (such as medical or technical research) or project. Some grants are also in the form of tax credits, such as the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Tax Incentive Program. You can search for potential grants online on the Canada Business Website. You can also contact the Small Business Enterprise Centre and inquire about the Canadian Subsidy Directory – an annual publication providing information on over 3,000 grants and financing programs across Canada.
Half of Canadian small and medium enterprises rely on loans from financial institutions to fund their start-up operations. Two out of three SMEs depend on loans for their ongoing operations. Debt financing is an important component in starting and growing a business. Banks, credit unions and other loan granting organizations provide a number of financing options, including lines of credit, short-term loans, long-term mortgage loans, and even loans against inventory and/or receivables. Loan granting organizations typically require a business plan to support the loan request.
In addition to funding from your local bank, the following organizations also provide business loans:
- Business Development Bank of Canada – www.bdc.ca. The BDC provides various financing programs to help you start and expand your business. The BDC typically funds business seeking at least $20,000 in capital and can provide a financial statement for the first year of operation.
- Centre for Business and Economic Development – www.centreforbusiness.ca. The Centre for Business is an Ontario Community Futures Development Corporation and offers loans up to $150,000 to eligible clients who have been unsuccessful in getting a loan from traditional lending institutions.
- The Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBF). This program is administered through Canadian Financial Institutions and can assist businesses in obtaining loans of up to $500,000.
- The Canada Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) – www.cybf.ca. The CYBF is a national charity providing start-up mentoring and financing for young Canadians ages 18-39. The program provides start-up financing of up to $15,000 with flexible 3-5 year repayment schedules
Angel Investors & Venture Capitalists
Angels are wealthy individuals or groups who invest directly in a business in return for a share in the business or the right to supervise the management practices. Angel investors typically provide financing in excess of $100,000 and target businesses with high growth potential. The Georgian Angel Network is the local Angel group in South Georgian Bay. For more information, visit their website at www.georgianangelnet.ca.
Venture capitalists are similar to angel investors in that they invest in high growth potential business for an equity share in that business. They may offer money, management and expertise with their investment, and typically look for an opportunity that requires in investment of over $500,000. You can obtain more information about venture capitalists through the Canadian Venture Capital Association at www.cvca.ca.
Other resources and links
Financing for Starting a Business Guide from Canada Business Ontario
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Fast Facts from the Canadian Bankers Association
Wall Street Journal Startup Calculator
Business Startup Cost Calculator from Business Know How