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Resources and Links

Thinking of or Planning to Start a Business

Every business starts with a dream or idea.  In this section there are links that can help you assess whether you are suited for Entrepreneurship, tools to assess your idea, and basic start up information for businesses in Ontario.  The Business Enterprise Centre also offers free appointments to confidentially discuss start up ideas and specific regulations.  

Step 1 - Evaluating Yourself and Your Idea
Start with step one to determine whether you are suited for entrepreneurship as well as a viability/feasibility check list to help you think about all the different aspects of business and how viable your business idea may be.

Assessment Tool at BDC
Business Development Bank of Canada offers an online quiz to help you determine if you are comfortable taking the exciting step of starting your own business.

One-Source for Business
A provincial government portal that will help guide you to the government services, forms and information you need to start, operate and grow your business.

Canada Business
Canada Business is a great general resource to get reliable, up to date information on starting a business.

OSEB - The Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Program
Provides unemployed people who are or have been recently eligible for Employment Insurance with income and entrepreneurial support while they develop and start their business.

The Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment (MEDTE)
Offers tools to help define and develop your business idea

Starting a Business

After a good idea you need to look at the nuts and bolts of getting your business off the ground.  You need to think of things such as what are the rules or regulations at a municipal, provincial or federal level, how am I going to get money to start up the business, how can I create a business plan, where can I get information to support the viability of my business, where can I find suppliers for my business, what are all the regulations around hiring an employee, and what are some possible community partners I can network within the community.  This section provides links and information to guide you through all of these tough questions.  If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, or have further specific questions book a free, confidential, appointment with a helpful business advisor at the Business Enterprise Centre.  The next section Growing/ Continuing your business offers strategies and ideas for growth, as well as links to sites to help you stay informed and connected to the growing and changing business world.

Specific How to Guides;

The guides below are published to help you with information related to specific types of businesses in Ontario.

How do I assess market viability?

Industry Canada – Has economic and market research statistics

Statistics Canada – Get economic, social and census data

Community Information Database - Canadian demographics searchable by community, county etc

CANSIM - Stats Canada key socioeconomic data is organized here

GD Sourcing  - Providing free Canadian Statistics also offers reports available for purchase.

Benchmarking Tool Offers industry-specific income statement and balance sheet data for small and medium sized businesses.  It can help you to complete the financial component of your business plan by providing an accurate sense of the cost structure of similar businesses in your industry.

Four County Planning Board - Local area Labour Market Information

Small Business Statistics  - Has key small business statistics

Canada Post - Provides household counts and maps.

What rules, regulations and other considerations could affect my business?

  • Step 2 Points of Consideration Covers forms of business ownership, and other considerations for specific types of businesses
  • Step 3 Municipal Regulations Is an overview of the City of Owen Sound’s Municipal Business licence, as well as contact information for all of the municipalities in the Grey/ Bruce area. 
  • Step 4 Provincial Regulations Information on the Province of Ontario’s Master Business Licence and other provincial regulations
  • Step 5 Federal Regulations General overview of the Federal Government’s BN number with specific information on the four situations where you need a BN number, the Small Supplier HST exemption, and Input Tax credits.
  • City of Owen Sound Business Licence Specific information on the City of Owen Sound’s Business licence including inspections and fees.
  • ONeSource The ONe-Source for Business portal will help guide you to the permits and licenses that might be necessary based on the type of business you are starting and your business location.
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • The Canada Revenue Agency website offers great general information and all necessary forms relating to your business.
    • Allowable Expenses  It is great to review the allowable expenses you can "write-off" on your annual tax return as well as the method of proof you must provide to support the claim.
    • Business Number (BN) Information on the Federal Government’s BN number and an online application to apply.
  • Service Ontario Master Business License The Province of Ontario’s online application for a Master Business Licence or Business Name Registration as well as a Business Name Search. 
  • Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) a Special Operating Agency (SOA) associated with Industry Canada, is responsible for the administration and processing of the greater part of intellectual property in Canada. CIPO's areas of activity include: Patents, trade-marks, copyrights, Industrial designs, and Integrated circuit products. Find information on these topics, search databases, and find applications.
  • Incorporating Provincially Provincial information on methods of Incorporation, corporate names, a name search, directors, shareholders, and fees
  • Incorporating Federally Corporations Canada helps Canadians incorporate businesses, not-for-profit corporations and other corporate entities according to Canada's laws and regulations.
  • Liquor License The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is responsible for administering the Liquor Licence Act (LLA) that covers most aspects of Ontario's beverage alcohol laws. These laws provide the regulatory requirements for responsible sale and service of beverage alcohol in the province.  Find out about regulatory requirements and liquor licence applications.
  • Garage Licensing
  • Day Care Licensing
  • Importing/ Exporting Tailored to meet the border and trade information needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), these resources will help SMEs comply with CBSA requirements for importing & exporting with links to forms and publications, a glossary and acronyms, and seminar registration
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency The Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) plans and priorities link directly to the Government of Canada's priorities for bolstering economic prosperity, strengthening security at the border and of the safety of the food supply, protecting the environment and contributing to the health of Canadians
  • Food Labelling Guide The Guide provides information on food labelling and advertising requirements as well as policies which apply to statements and claims made for foods, including alcoholic beverages. As such, it is a tool to assist industry in compliance with legislation and consumer protection
  • Non- Food Labelling Guide This guide provides an outline to the packaging and labelling requirements for prepackaged non-food consumer products subject to the federal Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Regulations.
  • Grey Bruce Health Unit Preventing food-borne illness and ensuring food safety requires a joint effort between the consumer, industry and government agencies.  The Grey Bruce Health Unit is responsible for activities such as conducting compliance inspections of food premises (e.g. restaurants, long-term care facilities, community centres); investigating food-borne illnesses and complaints regarding food premises; assisting other agencies in food recalls; and, providing educational sessions to food handlers.
  • Grey County
  • Bruce County
  • MERX MERX Canadian Public Tenders to connect to buyers in the federal, provincial and MASH sectors to get the information you need to bid on Canadian public-sector contracts.
  • Technical Standards and Safety Authority TSSA is a not-for-profit, self funded “delegated administrative authority” that administers and enforces public safety laws in various sectors under Ontario’s Technical Standard’s and Safety Act.  There is a list of compliance information categorized by industry.

What resources can I consult before I hire?

  • Step 6 - Employee Regulations - An overview of your obligations and responsibilities as an employer.
  • Step 7 - Hiring Subsidies - Contains information on different programs and subsidies to assist with the cost of hiring new staff.
  • Canada Revenue Agency Payroll Account Number - One of the first things to do when hiring your first employee is to get a BN number for source deductions.
  • Canada Revenue Agency (T4’s, Source Deductions)-   As an employer, trustee, or payer, you are responsible for deducting Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributions, Employment Insurance (EI) premiums and income tax from remuneration or other types of income you pay, remitting them to the CRA and reporting them on the applicable slips.  This link has payment calculators as well as access to the forms you may need.
  • Canada Business Hiring an Employee - A great general page that helps you know your obligations and opportunities when it comes to hiring employees — from recruitment to payroll to tax returns — and familiarize yourself with current labour market conditions.
  • WSIB - Most businesses in Ontario must register with the WSIB within 10 days of hiring their first worker. Registering provides workplace insurance coverage for all of your workers, gives you peace of mind, and lets you access experts in health and safety. Under new legislation, independent operators, sole proprietors, some partners in a partnership and some executive officers in a corporation carrying on a business in construction are also required to have WSIB coverage starting January 1, 2013.
  • Ministry of Labour - Through the Ministry's key areas of occupational health and safety, employment rights and responsibilities, and labour relations, the ministry's mandate is to set, communicate and enforce workplace standards while encouraging greater workplace self-reliance. The Ministry also develops, coordinates and implements strategies to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses and can set standards for health and safety training.
  • Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities  Find out about MTCU apprenticeship tax credits and other valuable information.
  • Service Canada
    • Hiring an Employee - This page has tools to help hire employees, as well as funding programs.
    • Record of Employment (ROE) - For any disruption in work or ending of employment you must fill out an ROE and submit it to Service Canada.
    • Social Insurance Number - Your employees' Social Insurance Number (SIN) is confidential and should only be used for income-related information. As an employer you play a leading role in protecting your employees' personal information and preventing fraudulent activities.  In Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act sets out ground rules about how private sector organizations may collect, use or disclose personal information?

Where do I go for financing?

  • Step 8 - Financing Options Step 8 offers a great over view of all of the different sources you may be able to obtain financing from.
  • Canada Business --Canada Business is a credible site that offers a complete list of all provincial and federal grants, as well as other financing opportunities.
  • Community Futures Development Corporations administer local investment funds to help finance new or existing small business for start-up, expansion or stabilization plans that help maintain or create jobs.  Repayable financing of up to $150,000 is available through federal support.  There are three CFDC’s that serve the Grey/ Bruce area.
  • Canada Business Ontario- Financing a Business - A general overview of funding that may be available for you to start your business.
  • ONE Source- A provincial website that provides information on start up funding, grants, loans, hiring subsidies, green energy project funding, and tax credits that could be available for you.
  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) - BDC is the Business Development Bank of Canada. From over 100 offices across the country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs
  • Canada Small Business Financing Program - The Canadian Small Business Financing Program under the Canada Small Business Financing Act, can help businesses obtain term loans of up to $500,000 to help finance fixed assets.
  • MEDTE Ontario Business Program Guide The Ontario Business Program Guide, the Ontario government’s free, online directory of tax incentives, tax credits and government support programs for business.
  • Invest Ontario - Invest Ontario is a program of the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment.  They connect businesses in Ontario and throughout the world with the people, products and ideas that make Ontario "Canada's Economic Powerhouse."
  • OSEB Program - The Ontario Self-Employment Benefit provides unemployed people who are or have been recently eligible for Employment Insurance with income and entrepreneurial support while they develop and start their business.
  • Georgian Angel Network - Georgian Angel Network has been established to connect angel investors in the Georgian Triangle+ region with entrepreneurs needing equity capital to commercialize their innovations.
  • Export Development Canada - EDC is Canada’s export credit agency. It supports and develop Canada’s export trade by helping Canadian companies respond to international business opportunities.
  • National Research Council - The National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) is Canada's premier innovation assistance program for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


Where can I find help with my business plan?

Where can I find suppliers?

  • Canadian Company Capabilities - Is a centrally maintained current searchable database of 60,000 Canadian businesses.  It includes hundreds of specialized manufacturing, service and product specific business directories
  • Fraser`s - Frasers is a comprehensive directory and search tool, providing information on Canadian industrial wholesalers, manufacturers, distributors and their products and services. In addition, we list international companies that supply goods and services to the Canadian marketplace.

What are some other business supports?

Growing/ Continuing in Business

When you are running your business it can be very time consuming.  This section offers information if you want to grow your business, as well as helpful links to online business resources.  This will help you spend time on your business as well as in it.  If you want to talk to someone about your business we recommend booking a free consultation with a business advisor at the Business Enterprise Centre today!

What can I do to grow my business?

What are some other great resources for me to keep up my business information/ skill sets?

  • Business Workshops - The Business Enterprise offers exciting seminars throughout the year.  Upgrade your skills         with sessions that address topics such as bookkeeping, marketing, ebusiness, and many more.
  • EMyth - An institution in entrepreneurial writing the E-Myth website offers resources as well as an amazing blog to keep you focused on working “on” your business.
  • Entrepreneur magazine - An online magazine with great up to date articles on all areas of entrepreneurship.
  • Workopolis - Information on hiring the right employee, motivating them, and helping create corporate culture.
  • Retail Council of Canada - RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more than 43,000 store fronts  and works with all levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness.  RCC also provides its members with a full range of services and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information.
  • Canada Restaurant and Food Services Association - Since its founding in 1944, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association has grown to more than 30,000 members across the country.  Through advocacy, research, member savings and industry events, we help our members in every Canadian community grow and prosper.   CRFA members represent every sector of Canada’s vibrant and innovative foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, cafeterias, coffee shops, and contract and social caterers
  • Financial Post
  • Biz Launch
  • Canada One
  • Profit

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Business Enterprise Centre

The Business Enterprise Centre173 8th Street East
Owen Sound, Ontario
N4K 1K9
Tel: 519-371-3232
Fax: 519-371-2060

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