Eligibility Criteria


To be eligible, the business must:

  • Proposing to start a new business, expand an existing business or purchase a business
  • not be a business that relies on commissioned sales
  • be a legal business in Ontario
  • not be a franchise
  • operate at arm’s length from family business ventures
  • operate full-time as defined in the business plan
  • maintain its own books and records
  • maintain a separate bank account
  • follow all government rules and regulations and applicable by-laws for the operation of the business
  • be sales-ready at the time of funding

Individual Applicant Eligibility Criteria


The Applicant is:

  • is not currently attending school on a full-time basis nor intending to return to school.
  • is a resident of Ontario.
  • is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
  • is 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
  • does not have full-time employment outside of the Project at the time of funding.
  • is fully responsible for the on-going operations and decisions of the Project and is the majority partner or shareholder.
  • is not enrolled in other provincial employment or self- employment-related initiatives and programs that include or do not include financial assistance
  • is not currently enrolled concurrently in any self-employment programs offered by government-funded organizations.
  • is expected to match the grant amount they are requesting with 25% personal investment (eg $5000 grant will require $1250 personal contribution in the business)
  • cannot have previously received Starter Company or Starter Company Plus funding in Ontario.




While the Starter Company initiative is open to eligible individuals, the training and mentoring are geared towards assisting those in need of business knowledge and support.


Approval into the Starter Company Plus initiative is competitive and eligible applicants may not all be accepted.  As the initiative aims to address local and/or regional economic development needs, and prioritized based on specific industries and sectors. Only businesses operating in Waterloo Region will be considered for the grant.  You must apply in the municipality where you reside and where your business is located