Starting a Small Business in Canada

Worldwide, many entrepreneurs find ways to succeed. These success stories arise despite challenging economic conditions, cultural restrictions, governmental hindrances and a host of other obstacles. Refreshingly, Ontario offers entrepreneurs an inviting, and potentially profitable market, with a support network that makes it affordable to get small businesses off the ground.

Not surprisingly, over one-third of small to medium sized businesses set up in Canada are in the province of Ontario. There are many reasons why Ontario is favoured as a great place to start. Not only is the process for business registration and licensing streamlined, but also the tax rates are favourable. In addition, there is an abundance of resources for newcomers to Canada, youth entrepreneurs and many unique programs for those in need of various types of assistance. For those seeking information on the best methods to achieve success with a small to medium sized Canadian business, again, Ontario has many programs that offer training from experienced professionals eager to help.

The hurdle faced by many who dream of starting their own business, is the initial upfront operational and funding cost. Outside of Ontario, in many cases, this sadly puts ideas, new technologies and marketable products out of reach for potentially successful business owners. However, in Ontario, there are options for loans, grants, tax incentives and even programs that connect entrepreneurs with high potential to ‘angel investors’ willing to assist with start up costs. The Ontario Immigration website has a wealth of information for those new to operating a business in Ontario. For youths ages 18 – 39 there are start up loans for eligible candidates from The Canadian Youth Business Foundation. Information on funding available specific to the area of Ontario the business will operate from can also be found at the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, the Eastern Ontario Development Fund and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. Partnering with the right organizations to assist with financing the initial stages of business development can set a business on track for continued growth, development and profitability.

In addition to the financials, there are provincial and federal criteria that need be met to legally operate a business in Ontario. The province requires all businesses to be registered, either as operating under a sole proprietor, a partnership, or as a corporation. All business must register with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for a Business Number used to file business income tax returns. Registering for an HST (Harmonized Sales Tax) number may also be necessary depending on the type of business and the estimated annual revenue. If your business will be directly importing or exporting goods, or if you plan to hire employees then additional registrations may be required. A Chartered Professional Account (CPA) will be able to provide specific advice for your business. Though this list may at first seem intimidating, it is in actual fact, relatively simple. Most forms for registration and payment for permits and licensing can be completed online and a new corporation can be established within four to five days. When further information is needed, toll free numbers are provided by the CRA to speak to agents that can assist with the advice and support needed.

Most entrepreneurs dream of having a successful, satisfying and sustainable business. They want to share their ideas with the world, and reach their business profit potential. In Ontario, the advice, information and support offered to entrepreneurs makes this possible. Identify key markets, find the right business solutions, and harness the power of small business in Ontario!

Header photo: some rights reserved by Heisenberg Media