Starter Company Plus Grant Program

Applications for the  2024 Starter Company Plus program are NOW OPEN!

Apply by clicking the button below.


If you’re an entrepreneur in Thunder Bay or Northwestern Ontario looking to start up, expand or buy an existing business, apply for the Starter Company Plus program. 

How It Works

The Starter Company Plus program provides training sessions on important business topics. During the training delivery, program participants will work with the Program Coordinator to complete a business plan and financial projections for their start up, business purchase, or expansion.

Upon completion of a business plan, participants may apply for a grant of up to $5,000. A grant committee will evaluate and provide feedback to the participants while deciding who receives funding. Grant recipients also receive a three-month mentorship as part of the program.

Eligible and Ineligible Expenses

Eligible Expenses
  • Equipment (new and used with documentation)
  • Tools
  • Fixtures
  • Leasehold improvements
  • 3rd party training to owner (cap of 15% of grant)
  • Marketing
  • Software
  • Furniture with a demonstrated connection to business deliverables
  • IT hardware (such as a POS)
  • Signage
  • Professional Services (on a case-by-case basis)
Ineligible Expenses
  • Salaries/wages
  • Rent
  • Utilities/operating expenses (month-to-month)
  • Insurance
  • Security
  • Professional development, certifications, schooling
  • Inventory/consumables
  • Permitting
  • Business plan development costs
  • Refinancing
  • Rolling stock
  • Travel/accommodations

Eligibility Requirements

You are eligible for Starter Company Plus if you are:

People who are currently enrolled in another provincial entrepreneurial program are not eligible for Starter Company Plus.

Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre has opened a new Indigenous funding stream for the Starter Company Plus Program called:  Miinikaanan Badakidoon – which means “to plant the seeds” in Anishnaawbe from the Lake Nipigon dialect.

Your business is eligible as long as it:

Businesses not eligible include:

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Are businesses owned in partnership with two or more people eligible for Starter Company Plus?

Yes, a partnership agreement is strongly encouraged and all partners must agree to the terms of the program if accepted into the program.

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 as well as the submission of a short report at the end of the three-month period following the grant committee meeting.

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.

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 in Thunder Bay and region. 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.

Program Participants





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