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small business advice

Networked to Foster Success – Canada Business Network

The technology sector is growing at an unprecedented rate in several Canadian cities. From the emergence of new start-ups to the realization that a few of those start-ups will eventually employ hundreds or thousands of staff, it is a good time to be an entrepreneurial Canadian geek. Moreover, all three levels of government in Canada (federal, provincial, and municipal) are primed to help prime the pump with business advice, immigration assistance, and in some cases, even by helping find and provide financing.

Previous articles have covered the grants and other financing schemes for new Canadians. Today, let’s take a quick look at business assistance primarily targeted to Canadian citizens. The types of assistance available are slightly different for naturalized Canadians featuring several lines to direct funding and far deeper mentoring and networking opportunities. Managed economic development is a priority for the federal and provincial governments, especially as Canada’s economy transits through a highly volatile period of global economic instability. If you’re willing to do the hard work, there are thousands of people and programs to help you past the numerable natural hurdles faced by business.

A smart place to look is the Canada Business Network, “… a collaborative arrangement among federal departments and agencies, provincial and territorial governments and not-for-profit entities,” to provide material and mentoring assistance to new and established businesses.  (https://canadabusiness.ca/)

Managed by the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Canada Business Network is run regionally by the following federal agencies: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Canada Northern Economic Development Agency, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, and Western Economic Diversification Canada.

If you have a brand new business, you should start by answering a number of basic questions like; do you have a business plan? If not, the Canada Business Network’s website can guide you through the process of studying, learning, and planning for your business. (https://canadabusiness.ca/starting/) This resource also helps guide new businesses through the proper registration channels and offers a guide to help businesses register for and pay their federal and provincial taxes. Once you’ve got the basic ground work covered, you’ll be in a better position to move forward.

Most businesses fail, not because the market didn’t want or need their product but because the business itself was not structured to succeed in the first place. Managing growth is essential for business survival. This is where most businesses go bad. While a government run website can’t guarantee your business will do better than any other, it can help you learn how to grow your business from the start-up to scale-up to success.

For established businesses, the best place to start would be the Canada Business Network program search. Listing 837 federal programs designed to promote different types of business across Canada’s five major regions, the programs are broken down into the following types:

  • Equity investments
  • Grants, contributions, and financial assistance
  • Loan guarantees
  • Loans and cash advances
  • Tax refunds and credits
  • Wage subsidies
  • Non-Financing programs

Virtually all businesses in Canada will find themselves or their sector described in one or more of these programs. The purposes of providing such assistance can include acquiring property or equipment, conducting research and development, obtaining a patent, applying a new technology, hiring or training employees, increasing productivity, or to fulfil other business needs.

Taking advantage of government sponsored programs and financing opportunities is just smart business for both business and government. The better businesses in Canada perform, the better life is for Canadians in general. If you’re starting a business or looking to get your existing business over a hump or hurdle, you should check out the Canada Business Network.

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