So you want to start a business. Or maybe you already have one, but you just need that boost—some extra funding, or advice on how to pivot your business strategy. Starting and running a business comes with a host of questions, many that we might not even be aware of (or want to think about). Is my idea viable? How do I secure the right investors? Do I need legal protection over my cool business idea?
Thankfully, you don’t have to navigate those murky waters alone. B.C is teeming with resources for small business owners, from mentorships to grants, that can give your company that extra edge it needs to succeed.
Resources and Tools
Futurpreneur provides financing and mentorship resources for entrepreneurs looking to start their own business. Their start-up program offers loans of up to $45,000 in partnership with BDC as well as industry-leading mentoring. Other benefits of becoming a Futurpreneur includes networking events, templates and guides, and in-house experts you can chat with.
Note: Their start-up program is only available for business owners aged 18 – 39 years old who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents currently living in Canada.
You can apply for their program here.
Here are some of their free resources:
This handy template helps business owners outline start up costs, sales forecasts and cash flow forecasts for two years. Just download the .xls file and fill in your values.
This interactive tool helps aspiring entrepreneurs organize, write and refine their business plan
New Ventures BC is a non-profit organization that supports startups in B.C’s tech sector through contests, training programs and workshops.
They offer a few programs and workshops.
Online Market Validation Program – Free!
This is a free, self-guided online course that helps you assess your business idea and build the foundation of your business model.
In this program, startups meet with industry mentors weekly to set goals, build strategies and learn the ins-and-outs of launching and scaling a business.
The Virtual Funding Workshop is another self-guided online workshop with videos that teaches post-launch startups how to raise funds, find the right investors and pitch effectively.
Small Business BC is a behemoth hub for entrepreneurial info that every business owner could benefit from checking out. From in-person workshops to programs on developing an exporting system, they have the answers for any entrepreneurial question.
Small Business BC offers an exhaustive list of checklists and guides for getting your business prepped and primed for the real world. From registering for GST/PST to importing goods to Canada, they have it all.
Innovate BC seeks to support the innovative tech startups in BC, create jobs and ensure the benefits of technology and innovation are felt around the province.
They offer various funding opportunities (also mentioned in the next section).
A program that helps businesses looking to commercialize their technology by mentorship with Executives in Residence (EIRs) and a province-wide network of partners and entrepreneurs.
The Innovation Marketplace connects technology buyers (industry and government) with technology innovators through a challenge process designed to solve business problems.
A well-known name in Canadian business community, the Business Development Bank of Canada supports small and medium-sized businesses in all industries through loans and advice.
They also host their own venture capital team for businesses who are starting to look for investors.
BDC offers a variety of loans for different purposes, from start-up financing to purchasing specialized equipment. They know what businesses need money for.
Business Licenses by City
Each municipality has specific steps and processes to register a business. Make sure you go through the checklist of your respective city, and consider Inter-Municipal Business Licenses if you’re looking to expand into multiple cities.
City of Coquitlam – Contains a handy brochure on signage permits, zoning bylaws and other legalities.
City of Vancouver – Lots of great links and articles on market research, financing and more.
Applying for grants can be a lengthy and intimidating process, but it could also pay off big time. The Government of Canada and other third party organizations offers a plethora of grants and awards for businesses in a variety of sectors, check ‘em out!
Government of Canada
SIF runs five streams with various objectives, from research and development to firm expansion and growth.
This fund focuses on businesses in the health science, technology, agriculture and agri-food sectors.
Here’s an extensive guide to each of the streams.
Government of Canada
The NRC IRAP provides funding for small to medium sized companies (fewer than 500 employees) pursuing growth and profit by developing and commercializing innovative, technology-driven products.
If approved, businesses are referred to an industrial technology advisor (ITA) for consultancy.
Government of Canada
This program helps innovators who are pursuing the commercialization of technology through collaborative research and development with international partners.
The program will fund up to 75% of eligible expenses of up to $75,000.
Here’s the program guide.
Government of Canada
CanExport helps fund small and medium size companies to help them develop export opportunities and markets.
This program is open to companies from any sector. More info can be found here.
The Tech Co-Op grants awards $10,800 a year to B.C-based companies with less than 100 employees to hire a co-op student for a tech role.
Innovate BC + New Ventures BC
The ISI program offers up to $10,000 a year for tech companies, startups or nonprofit organizations to hire a business or tech student not currently in a co-op program.
Career Launcher Canada
Career Launcher will cover up to half of a digital technology intern’s salary for a maximum of $12,000 through the Digital Tech Internship.
The ETG is designed to assist employers by providing skills training to new or current employees that will upgrade skills needed due to automation and enhance productivity.
This program has 3 streams:
Supports unemployed, underemployed and low skilled British Columbians develop skills needed to acquire stable jobs.
Supports employers to train current or new employees in technical skills in response to automation and technological advancements, such as new software, technology or machinery.
Supports employers to upgrade their employees’ skills, such as advanced occupational training, leadership, management and soft skills.
Quantum Leap is a pharma-led funding program for drug discovery research that helps small to medium-sized companies or Canadian universities achieve innovative biopharmaceutical research projects.
An overview can be found here.
So you want to start a business. Or maybe you already have one, but you just need that boost—some extra funding, or advice on how to pivot your business strategy. Starting and running a business comes with a host of questions, many that we might not even be aware of (or want to think about). Is my idea viable? How