New Canada Starts grant aims to support entrepreneurs

Launching a new business can be a difficult task, but with help it can also be a very rewarding experience. In the midst of COVID-19, new business owners are facing many more challenges than ever before. Though it can be a struggle, opening a business during a pandemic is not impossible. By addressing the needs of your local community, a young business can become highly successful, especially with the support of those in the industry. That’s where the Canada Starts comes in with help for up and coming businesses.

“Canada Starts is the successor of an earlier (albeit smaller) initiative called Ownr Grants. Once the pandemic took hold in March, small businesses from across the country needed support. We launched a grant program shortly after, focused on supporting businesses that had pivoted in light of the economic challenges presented by COVID-19,” says Ownr co-founder Shadi McIsaac.

Canada Starts is a brand new $200,000 grant, jointly funded by Ownr by RBC Ventures, Staples, Shopify, and Moneris, marking the first time these four household Canadian brands have come together to support entrepreneurs. As notable members of the business community, they understand and recognize that building a company from scratch is no easy feat and strive to lend a helping hand.

“The response was amazing, but we realized that the pandemic was having an effect on aspiring entrepreneurs just as much as existing businesses. We decided to engage other large corporate partners across Canada in a charitable pursuit to support new business in Canada. We were so fortunate to work with Staples, Shopify, and Moneris as each partner has a unique perspective on how to best support entrepreneurs in Canada. Aspiring and existing business owners have already signaled a lot of interest in future grants, and it’s definitely something we’re exploring. We’ll also be following up with all the grant recipients and sharing their businesses at in the new year,” says McIsaac.

Forty applicants with standout business plans will be awarded $5,000 to help support their start-up.

The fund is open to aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners across Canada between September 15 and October 15. In addition, applicants must not be a director of an incorporated company or be operating their own business in Canada as of September 1, 2020. Priority will also be given to applicants that identify as a visible minority.

Applicants will be processed through two phases and to receive the grant, they must meet the evaluation criteria of both phases. In the initial phase, applicants are required to provide contact information, their business idea/concept, how they plan to use the funding as well as a copy of their business plan. Successful applicants of phase one will be rewarded with $2,500. In order to be eligible for the remaining $2,500, applicants must have proof that they are registered as an official business, either provincially or federally, and demonstrate that they have an online presence such as; a website or a social media page.

All funding will be administered by RBC Ventures Inc.

With the help of Canada Starts, aspiring business owners and entrepreneurs can start to establish themselves and their start-ups in Canada and their local community.

Apply today at