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Starter Company Plus Program

Starter Company Plus

Starter Company Plus is a training program for people who want to start a new business, purchase an existing business, or expand their existing business.

Program participants have the option to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 upon the completion of a business plan.

How it Works

Starter Company plus provides training sessions on important business topics. Program participants work with the Programs Coordinator to complete a business plan for their new start up, business purchase, or expansion.

Upon completion of a business plan, participants may apply for a grant of up to $5,000. Grant recipients also receive mentorship as part of the program.

Eligibility Requirements

You are eligible for Starter Company Plus if you are:

  • Running a new business that was launched within the last year
  • Proposing a new business
  • Purchasing an existing business
  • Expanding your existing business
  • Not currently a full-time student
  • An Ontario resident and Canadian citizen (or permanent resident)
  • Prepared to commit to your business full-time by dedicating full-time hours (at least 35 hours per week) to running the business
  • Prepared to complete a business plan
  • Prepared to work with a mentor by participating in monthly meetings for a period of three months following the program
  • Ready for investment


People who are currently enrolled in another provincial entrepreneurial program (such as Social Enterprise Northern Ontario (SENO) or Futurpreneur) are not eligible for Starter Company Plus.

Your business is eligible for Starter Company Plus as long as it:

  • Is a sole proprietorship or either a partnership or corporation where the applicant will be the majority shareholder (has at least 51% decision-making power in the business)
  • Is an independent business venture
  • Fits the Canada Revenue Agency definition of being self-employed
  • Operates at arm’s length from family business ventures
  • Operates in Ontario
  • Operates full-time as defined in the business plan
  • Maintains its own books and records
  • Maintains a separate business bank account
  • Follows government rules and regulations for operating a business

      Businesses not eligible for Starter Company Plus include:

      • Franchises
      • Distributorships
      • Business ventures that are continuations of existing commercial endeavours
      • Commissioned sales
      • Not-for-profit or charitable enterprises
      • Multi-level marketing ventures
      • Single events such as musical ventures bands, DJs, or dance/party event organizations
      • Businesses that are strictly pay-per-click
      • 1-900 businesses


      Application Process

      1. Fill out the online application form
      2. Complete a business model canvas and submit to the Programs Coordinator before the specified deadline.
      3. Respond to any questions and confirm any details asked by the Entrepreneur Centre.
      4. You will be notified of your acceptance into the program.


      Apply now for Starter Company Plus

      Application Deadline Start Date First Draft of Business Plan Due Grant Review Meeting
      September 22, 2017 October 9, 2017 November 13, 2017 December 7, 2017
      December 1, 2017 January 8, 2018 February 12, 2018 March 8, 2018
      March 2, 2018 April 9, 2018 May 14, 2018 June 7, 2018
      June 1, 2018 July 9, 2018 August 13, 2018 September 6, 2018
      September 1, 2018 October 8, 2018 November 12, 2018 December 6, 2018

      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

      Are businesses owned in partnership with two or more people eligible for Starter Company Plus?
      Yes. There can only be one applicant to the program and upon submitting the business plan to the Grant Committee. A partnership agreement must be in place that states that the grant applicant has at least 51% decision-making power in the business.

      Are the training sessions mandatory?
      No. Working with the Programs Coordinator to complete a business plan is mandatory. For grant recipients, the mentorship component is also mandatory.

      What is a business plan?
      A business plan is a formal document that explains a business’s viability and plans for success. The business plan sets out a business’s objectives as well as strategies for achieving them.

      Download a business plan template

      Am I ready for Starter Company Plus?
      Businesses that are past the idea stage, ready for investment, and led by committed and focused entrepreneurs are the right fit for this program.

      What is the Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre?
      We are one of 56 small business enterprise centres (SBECs) in Ontario. Funded through a partnership between the Province of Ontario and the City of Thunder Bay, The Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre helps small businesses start up, expand, and succeed. Our one-to-one business counseling, comprehensive referrals, and leading-edge information make us a great first stop if you’re starting a business, or even thinking of starting a business.

      The Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre is housed within the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC).