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The Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre is funded through a partnership between the Province of Ontario and the City of Thunder Bay. We help you determine what you need to do before, during and after launching your business.

The Entrepreneur Centre provides:

  • Free consultations with a qualified business consultant
  • Internet and computer access for business research and planning
  • Review of business plans
  • Consultations through a lawyer/accountant referral service
  • Up-to-date, leading-edge information geared to the needs of the entrepreneur
  • Access to current resource materials, including directories, trade indexes and books that entrepreneurs can peruse on-site
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Guidance on licenses, permits, registration, regulations and other forms and documents required to start and build a business
  • Import and export information
  • Information on patents, copyright and trademarks
  • Mentoring and networking opportunities 

To actively support and engage the dynamic success, growth, and diversification of small business in Thunder Bay and District by providing cutting-edge, accurate and clear information through workshops, consultations and business plan reviews rooted in a strong customer service approach.

To become the premier small business enterprise centre in Ontario.

Guides, programs, services and resourceful links

Business during COVID-19

The following are a few tips and tricks to stay busy and keep your business moving forward during self-isolation.


1. The biggest thing would be to really plan for how things will look once this is over. How will you respond to the upturn and not do so in a hectic or frenzied manner.  Take the time now to plan.


2. Time to explore product ventures.  Remember that side project that you never had time to experiment on or that new recipe?  


3. Website enhancements.  Go through your website with a fine toothed comb. Are the product photos up to date? Is your contact information current? Is it time to simplify or condense?

BDC has a great tool to assess your website:


4. Put together some marketing materials.  Whether it’s your Google AdWords blurbs, posters for Canada Post Smart Mail or new menus.  Tools like Canva and Pixlr let you play and create.  Talk with the marketing outlets about rates and seeing if you can pre-book for when things are back to some normalcy. Make sure you are prepared and that you’re good to go at the flick of a switch.


5. Stay connected with your customers, staff, landlord, finanial advisors and stay informed. There are resources like the government websites ( | | ) Keep your staff up to date on what’s happening, what’s changing and do what you can to help ease their minds.  Check in on them, ask them how their family is coping.  People will remember kindness.  Post on your social media, or newsletters your updates.  Even if it’s something light hearted and funny, I think we can all use a good smile at all times.


Additionally, stay connected with your landlord, financers, etc… check with them.  What are the options available?  Check with your accountant to get the most up to date financial snapshot of your business.  How does your financial health check look?  Continuing your business, is it possible, are there delivery or pick up options that limit interactions?  Is it possible to sell gift certificates now for later?


6. Stay in touch with your colleagues, whether that’s your business neighbour, your Chamber of Commerce or industry associations they can also have resources on how they’re suggesting you weather the storm. They can also provide specific information on your industry or supply chains.


7. Can you work remotely?  Meetings via SkypeWebex or Zoom. There are plenty of options to meet with clients/customers that are not face to face.


8. Business Plan – when was the last time you read yours?  Is it still up to date?  A plan should be a living document.  If you haven’t even started one yet, now’s a good time.  Futurpreneur has a really good online template to look through:


9. Cleaning.  Yes, we’re all doing some deep cleaning of surfaces and washing our hands often.  But what about files and folders that are over 7 years old?  What about that shelf that really has just collected the knick-knacks.


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.

Visit the Futurpreneur Canada Business Plan Writer for help with your business plan.

Register Your Business

Register a business name or limited partnership with the Ontario government. The registration is effective for 5 years. Then it must be renewed.

Canada Revenue Agency

Visit the Canada Revenue Agency website to learn about payroll accounts, deductions and contributions, summaries and slips. As well as information on HST and Import/Export.

Business Events

Find out about workshops, seminars, and networking events happening in Thunder Bay.

Entrepreneur Centre Library

Borrow one of our business books free of charge! Books currently available include:

Profit First                                                   

Mike Michalowicz


Get Growing

Keys to Unlocking the Potential of Your Small Business  

David Wilton & Kyle McNamara


Customer Satisfaction is WORTHLESS, Customer Loyalty is Priceless         

Jeffrey Gitomer


Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us       

Seth Godin


Relationship ROI: How Associations, Charities, and Entrepreneurs Hit Financial Targets  

Nikki Pett


Grapevine: The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Dave Balter & John Butman


Duct Tape Marketing                              

John Jantsch


Small Business Marketing for Dummies

Barbara Findlay Schenck with Linda English


Advertising for Dummies                      

Gary R. Dahl


The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

How to Build a Product or Service into a World-Class Brand         

Al Ries and Laura Ries


The Beermat Entrepreneur

Turn your good idea into a great business

Mike Southon & Chris West


You Need to be a Little Crazy

The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business

Barry J. Moltz


The Lean Startup

How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Eric Ries


The Mom Test

How to talk to customers and learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you.

Rob Fitzpatrick


Wise Words

Lessons in Entrepreneurship & Venture Capital

Sean Evan Wise


Starting From Scratch

Secrets from 21 Ordinary People Who Made the Entrepreneurial Leap

Wes Moss


Business @ the Speed of Thought

Using a Digital Nervous System

Bill Gates


Social Enterprise

How to Successfully Set Up and Grow a Social Enterprise

Heidi L. Fisher


Financial Statements
A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding and Creating Financial Reports

Thomas Ittelson

Starting a Business Guide

Entrepreneurship can be very rewarding, but also time consuming and labour-intensive. Our starting a business guide will show you how to evaluate your business ideas, assess the market, and navigate the regulatory environment. It also includes a listing of local business organizations and resources.

Starting a Business Guide 
Démarrage d'une enterprise guide 

Starter Company Plus

Applications to Starter Company Plus are now open. Visit: for program information & to start the application process. 

Summer Company

Summer Company is the Government of Ontario's flagship youth entrepreneurship program. It provides enterprising young people, aged 15 to 29, with the opportunity to start and run their own summer businesses.

If you are accepted into the program, you will receive an award of up to $3,000, hands-on business coaching, and mentoring from local community business leaders who will work with you to make your Summer Company a reality.

Futurpreneur Canada

Futurpreneur Canada has been fueling the entrepreneurial passions of Canada's young enterprise for 20 years. We are the only national non-profit organization that provides support tools, mentoring and financing of up to $45,000 to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Our internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 2,800 volunteer mentors. Futurpreneur Canada is a founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance, the Canadian member of Youth Business International, and the Canadian host of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch! And Win!

Make Your Pitch, a high school entrepreneurship competition presented by the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure and the Ontario Centres of Excellence as part of the Youth Jobs Strategy. The contest challenges students in grades 9 to 12 to pitch their business idea in a two-minute video that will be voted on by the public and expert judges. Finalists will be awarded a trip to Toronto to pitch their ideas to an expert panel for a chance to receive prizes.

Small Business Access

Get support, information and advice to run your small business.

Canadian Business Network

The Canadian Business Network promotes entrepreneurship and innovation, and provides assistance through an organized network of service centres across Canada.

The Canada Business Network's goal is to provide your business with the resources it needs to grow and prosper, including a wide range of information on government services, programs and regulations. Visit our Canadian Business Network page for more information.

Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE)

The goal of Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) is for Ontario businesses to benefit from the excellence delivered by the new expanded, collaborative network of entrepreneurship and innovation expertise. 

ONE has resources available for startinggrowing, and financing your business. 

Business and Economy 

The business and economy site Includes economic development opportunities, research funding, tax credits for business and the Ontario Budget.

Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Small Business Resource Guide     

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce small business resource guide  has been developed to assist Chamber members with information and resources that they may find useful in starting and managing their business.

Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure    

The Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure encourages and supports businesses of all sizes, and help them innovate and compete in today's fast-changing global economy.

The Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC)   

The NOHFC young entrepreneur program aims to mobilize a new generation of entrepreneurs and community builders in the North, securing a more prosperous future for tomorrow's northern families and workers.

The Thunder Bay Public Library     

The Thunder Bay Public Library is here for you as a business person! Their mission is to strengthen the
community, and that includes local businesses. Writing a business plan? Let TBPL help you in your business’s market research.

Northern Ontario Angels (NOA)

The Northern Ontario Angels (NOA) is the premier organization in the North created to stimulate increased investment by Northern Ontario investors into Northern Ontario companies. This is accomplished by improving the flow of investment capital and management expertise into high-growth-potential northern companies through the creation of angel investor groups.

L'association des francophones du Nord-Ouest de l'Ontario (l'AFNOO)      

The association des francophones du Nord-Ouest de l'Ontario (AFNOO) has developed a directory of French-language services to promote bilingualism and the French language as an asset in business. 

Step by Step Guide to Exporting

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service's (TCS) Step by Step Guide to Exporting contains practical insight gathered from Trade Commissioners around the world who each year support thousands of Canadian companies to export successfully. Whether you are a novice, intermediate advanced exporter, the 90 page Guide provides the resources you need to close more deals, enter more markets and be more competitive.

Industry Canada's Key Small Business Statistics

Key Small Business Statistics is an annual publication that provides baseline data on the small business sector in Canada.

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