Dress for Success is a nonprofit organization that provides resources to women to thrive in the workplace and at home. This includes Dress for Success boutiques, where women can meet with a professional stylist to receive business attire, access jobsearch support, and learn about leadership opportunities.

Originally founded in New York and established in Canada in 1999, Dress for Success has 13 locations from coast to coast, including in southern Ontario, such as in Toronto, Kingston and Barrie.

Futurpreneur is a nonprofit organization that provides financing, mentorship and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 1839. Their mentorship programs match young entrepreneurs with business experts from a network of more than 2,600 volunteer mentors.

They partner with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to provide entrepreneurs with up to $60,000 in financing. The organization has helped launch the businesses of over 15,000 Canadian entrepreneurs in their 25 years of operations.

Telus Business is hosting a contest for Canadian small business owners for the chance to win
money to go towards business growth, such as in funding and technology.

Five grand prize winners will receive C$125,000, while 15 finalists will receive $20,000.
The deadline to apply is September 6, 2023.

You can apply here.

CanExport SMEs is a program that provides up to $50,000 in funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) break into new international markets. The program also covers up to 50% of costs for export marketing of your products and services in international markets where your business has little or no sales.

The program funds various business activities, including gathering market intelligence, applying for intellectual property protection in international markets and translating marketing materials.

The Black Entrepreneurship and Skilled Trades Program is designed to provide Black-identified individuals aged 16 to 39 with modules and training that help them understand entrepreneurship in the trades industry.

The program is partnered with Ontario Tech University and is funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. It includes three main modules concerning building, managing, and scaling a business. By enrolling in the program, Black-identified individuals will learn about design, certification, quality assurance and customer satisfaction.

The Forum Mentor Program is part of the Scotiabank Women Initiative that pairs women identifying entrepreneurs with successful mentors that provide guidance and support.

The program aims to help women-owned businesses at various stages with handling potential challenges or opportunities. The Forum Mentor program has been funded in part through the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy administered by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

The Growth Peer Mentorship for Women Business Owners Program is funded by the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy and offers peer mentoring groups to women identifying business owners across Canada in English and French.

These peer groups help women business owners gain input and fresh perspectives to be better equipped for potential challenges. Each session is guided by an experienced entrepreneur and business owners learn alternative solutions and approaches, how to manage feeling overwhelmed and how to increase a business’s social network. 

The RBC Alliance of Young Women Entrepreneurs program (AYWE) gives women the opportunity to become successful entrepreneurs by learning useful information for free from other successful business individuals.

Once enrolled in the program, young women-identifying entrepreneurs receive leadership coaching and business training through workshops, attend business conferences, have one-on-one business advisory sessions and receive guidance and they create a business plan.

The Toronto Public Library (TPL)’s Arts Mentor in Residence (ArtIR) program is for artists that want to learn about how they can use their art for entrepreneurial opportunities.

It involves an eight-week residency where applicants are enrolled based on their arts based business ideas, artist statements, portfolios and one-on-one meetings. In the program, artists go through workshops, lectures and meetups to receive feedback, recommendations and useful sources that would benefit an art-based business.

The Youth Business Acceleration Program supports young aspiring entrepreneurs aged 18-29 in Ontario. This program is best for youths in Ontario wanting to become an entrepreneur in the tech business and are not currently running a business.

This program is an extension of the Business Acceleration Program and partnered with Regional Innovation Centres and Campus-Linked Accelerators. The program provides skills, tools and feedback to inform youth about the tech industry and give them the confidence to start one themselves.

The Government of Canada provides the Canadian International Innovation Program (CIIP) to support Canadian companies pursuing international research and development (R&D) collaborations with foreign partners. CIIP can help business owners find credible partnerships in Brazil, China, India, Israel and South Korea.

CIIP funding also helps reduce market entry risks and the costs associated with technology adaptation, co-development and validation. This way, entrepreneurs can expand their companies into new markets without jeopardizing the overall health of their businesses.

The OUT For Business Youth Entrepreneur program is funded by the Government of Canada and provides 2SLGBTQI+ youth entrepreneurs with one-on-one team mentoring and networking opportunities.

The team mentoring sessions are guided by mentors and create a space where 2SLGBTQI+ youth entrepreneurs learn about tools and skills that will help grow their business. To be eligible for the program, youth entrepreneurs must identify as a member of the 2SLGBTQI+ community, be aged 18 to 39 and have a registered business in Canada.

The Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) helps Canadian entrepreneurs accelerate the development of their businesses and expand in international markets. The program uses case studies, workshops and team negotiations to provide an interactive learning experience and is available in virtual and in-person formats.

The program also connects participants with industry experts to receive direct mentorship and personalized coaching on a one-on-one basis. Participants have been found to grow their business’s revenue by 18 per cent after just one year.

Eureka is an international network for industrial research and development (R&D) collaboration that includes over 45 countries. Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises can use the Eureka platform to access global value chains and collaborations with international partners.

Eureka also encourages small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), large companies, research centres, universities, and other innovators to collaborate on market-driven industrial research and development (R&D). Some benefits of joining an Eureka project include access to funding, expert advice and global value chains.

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is Canada’s National Office for Eureka. It acts as a first point of contact for Canadian companies, researchers and academics and facilitates access to the expansive global network.

The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service provides the Business Women in International Trade program to help Canadian women-owned and women-led businesses expand into global markets.

The program connects participants to various services, including international business delegations and events, funding opportunities and contacts with suppliers.

The Velocity Incubator supports early-stage businesses with connections, expertise, community, space and access to capital.

Founded by the University of Waterloo, Velocity helps founders build scalable companies during the earliest and riskiest time of building a business.

Banner Image by katemangostar on Freepik