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Finding government grants or loans

Expert: Julie King

Karin asked:

"I have a friend whose business is coming up to the 5 year mark. I have watched her store fill with a little more merchandise every year. She works all the hours she can & treats her customers like royalty (something we in Canada seem to disregard). She is a sole proprietor. While her business credit is excellent, her personal history isn't. Do you know of any government grants, loans, etc that can be applied for business expansion? Or where we can go to search for anything like this?"

Julie King answered:

Government programs are sparse today, but the good news is that there are a number of places where you can search for this information online.

You will find a list of the small handful of programs available in Ontario online at:

Information on national programs specific to Ontario are available at:

One of the best places to start in this situation would be with the Business Development Bank. They actually have a lot of information on their website, and you can even apply for a loan directly through the site. They cost a bit more, but the additional money spent is directed towards training. Their web address is:

As well, if your friends lives close to the Toronto area she may want to look to community loan funds. Calmeadow is one that I know of, which lends up to $15,000 to businesses that have been turned down for a loan by traditional institutions. This is a "peer loan fund", and is becoming a popular alternative to the traditional loan for high risk businesses. The Calmeadow site is located at:

There are not many government grants for loans, and most of the old loan programs have been terminated. What is available will also depend on where you are located in Ontario. The final place you could look into for additional lending sources is the online workshop that was put together by Industry Canada:

About the author

Julie King is the co-founder and managing editor of CanadaOne, Canada's first small business portal.

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