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Crushing the Grants and Funding Maze for Local Small Businesses

Picture of Deborah Clarke

Deborah Clarke

Crushing the Grants and Funding Maze for Local Small Businesses

[first bookmark, then share this valuable resource - it's a handy summary, a quick guide for financial loans, grants and networking connections in your area]

Without doubt we are working our way through some of this generations toughest financial times for local small businesses. Combine that with trying to raise a family, meet personal financial obligations and grow a business all at the same time and it often felt an unsurmountable task.

Work-life balance has always been a struggle for new business start-ups and entrepreneurs, but since 2020 work-life balance has become an issue for everyone.  About one in five people in Canada work from home all of the time.*
From October to December 2021, 26% of working Ontario residents reported working from home all of the time, while an additional 18% worked from home some of the time.* Many people found it easier to leave their jobs to better manage having their entire family at home (home-schooling, elder care).  In contrast, in 2016, before the pandemic, about 1 in 20 (5%) employees worked most of their hours from home.

1-out-of-3 Canadians are managing a sideline business of their own. (according to a study by Angus Reid) 

Clearly freedom is on the mind of many of us.  Financial freedom is one of the freedoms we all seek.

The challenges of these past few years have been very diverse. We are making changes to our ‘norms’.  And I recognize the playing field has not been level for all.    The purpose of this article is to help local small business owners connect with some of the reliable financial resources that are out there for you.    


Reliable, Legitimate Funding Resources

In my position at Owner of 519Web, PinPoint Local, I meet online with local business owners, business development and sales staff, and entrepreneurs on a regular basis.   Most of our discussions are based on business growth strategies for their businesses online.   Often discussions move to financial need, and it is difficult to identify what are real legitimate funding grants, loans and opportunities (especially when spammy types of offers for funding and grants come into our email on a daily basis).  It’s also difficult to stay on top of new grant releases and deadlines to apply

So, I’ve prepared a list of financial and small business resources to CRUSH the grant and funding maze for local small businesses.   Here you have many resources to check in on, on a regular basis for new developments.  Follow closely those that are most applicable to your needs.  

Start With Trusted Resources, Connections Close to You

It has been my experience, throughout my 30+ year career, that nothing replaces the benefit of networking with other businesses and people in your local area, or industry.  Now you can reach out to online networking groups for a monthly coffee (like this local Wednesday Warm Up small business group) … nothing gets easier.  I’ve met some great people and new clients through these new pop-up online networking meetings.  Ask about them in your region. 

Here are just a few local area groups you can reach out to for more information about growing your business or getting your business back on its’ feet post-pandemic.

June 1, 2022 UPDATE:    Digital Transformation Grant 4.0 is open now!  It started again June 1st, 2022 and will be accepted through October 31, 2022.   Digital Main Street is managing this Grant SIGN UP HERE to have them send you an application when it becomes available.
Download our FREE PDF “Six Month Digital Transformation Starter Package”

At 519Web we’ve helped several local businesses with custom ‘brand’ websites that tell your story.  Not all websites need to be eCommerce websites to benefit and grow your business online. 

BUT everyone does “Google a business name just to get a phone number anymore.  Having your own ‘brand’ website is like owning space online.” 

The evolution of searches online has come to full maturity, you need to own your space online.

Local brick-and-mortar small businesses (retail and service businesses) looking to improve their online presence can apply for a one-time $2,400 Digital Transformation Grant to set-up and maintain:
• Social media presence;
• A new or improved website;
• Basic e-commerce enabled on a website;
• Other applications to increase online presence.
Grant application portal will open in June 2022 and be accepted until October 31, 2022.

Learn more here from Digital Main Street.  

Or, reach out to any of the local business development teams in your area (see links below) … any of them can help direct you to a Digital Service Squad member to determine the best use of a Digital Grant for your business.      Or, reach out to me,  Deborah Clarke, 519Web, directly.  I’m always happy to chat business opportunities with you.

Kincardine, ON

Local grants and incentives are available for non-profit organizations, registered charities or new or expanding businesses. Sign up for their Business to Bruce newsletters and updates.

Bruce County

We connect entrepreneurially-minded visitors, former residents and Bruce first-timers alike to business opportunities and networks on a community-by-community basis. Connect here.

Bruce County

For new business owners, or those expanding an existing business, exploring new ways to adapt to the new realities left behind by the pandemic, a wide range of support is available to you.

the Hub Huron Kinloss LOGO


If you are in Huron-Kinloss, you need to reach out to the folks at The Hub. They are connected! They are 'in the know' about grants and they can point you in the direction of some great resources. Connect Here.

Grey Bruce

We have joined Startup Canada Communities as Startup Grey Bruce! Our goal is to increase the recognition of the economic contributions of entrepreneurs and startups across Grey Bruce.

Catapult Grey Bruce Logo

Grey Bruce

Catapult Grey Bruce is propelling opportunities at home by empowering established entrepreneurs. Their core group of founders are successful local entrepreneurs who come with true expertise.

Grey County

The Business Enterprise Centre provides entrepreneurs throughout Grey County with the information, tools, and guidance needed to successfully operate their small business.

Grey County

Connect with staff. Our economic development team is truly regional. Below is the contact information for Grey County, member municipality and partner staff.

Huron County

Huron County Economic Development offers assistance with funding programs that can help you in achieving your business goals: They're always excited to support new ideas and businesses.

SLED Funds

The 2022 SLED (Supporting Local Economic Development) program funds projects that address Huron County's strategic priorities for municipalities and/or not-for-profits.

Community Futures

CFH helps businesses get off the ground. Emerging business opportunities include agriculture, renewable energy, manufacturing, tourism, retail, & creative economy.

Digital Service Squad

The Digital Service Squad members provide one-on-one assistance to small businesses in Huron County, at no cost, to enhance your business's online presence.

Canada's Regional Development Agencies

FROM:  Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (Link to all regions)

In our region, the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario  [FedDev Ontario] delivers programs and services to support innovation and economic growth in southern Ontario—Canada’s most populous region.   The programs are ever changing and I recommend you visit their website regularly to see what new programs may be applicable to your business or region. 


Check here for the most up-to-date funding available for Southern Ontario Organizations.   At the time of writing the list of open funding opportunities in our Southern Ontario region includes:

FedDev Ontario delivers programming to help grow businesses, cultivate partnerships and build stronger communities.  Keep them on your radar, check back here often.

Canada Digital Adoption Program

How Canadians do business has changed. To stay competitive and grow, small and medium-sized businesses need to adopt new digital tools.

In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada announced the $4 billion Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) to help get your business online, give your e-commerce presence a boost or help digitalize your business’s operations.

CDAP provides funding and support to businesses, as well as training and work opportunities for young Canadians.


Which Grant is Your Business Eligible for?

Canada Digital Adoption Program | Grow Your Business Online

As part of the Canada Digital Adoption Program, the Government of Canada has partnered with The Ontario Chamber of Commerce to deliver the Grow Your Business Online grant to small businesses across the country.

Eligible businesses will receive a micro-grant of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting e-commerce and supported by a network of e-commerce advisors.

They are currently putting in place the final touches on the program – in the meantime, start your application process by leaving them your name and contact information, and they will follow-up with you directly.

If you have any questions about the Grow Your Business Online, please contact us at cdap@occ.ca


COVID-19: Financial support for people, businesses and organizations

The Government of Canada ‘s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan is here to support people, businesses and organizations facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

You will find:

Ontario Providing Supports for Small Businesses, Workers and Families

Province’s plan includes $10,000 grant for eligible small businesses and additional electricity-rate relief

As part of a comprehensive plan to support workers and businesses, the government is announcing an Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant for small businesses that are subject to closure under the modified Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen. It will provide eligible small businesses with a grant payment of $10,000.

Eligible small businesses include:

  • Restaurants and bars;
  • Facilities for indoor sports and recreational fitness activities (including fitness centres and gyms);
  • Performing arts and cinemas;
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
  • Meeting or event spaces;
  • Tour and guide services;
  • Conference centres and convention centres;
  • Driving instruction for individuals; and
  • Before- and after- school programs.


Financial relief for entrepreneurs.

Learn more about options for accessing credit to support you through to a more stable time.

Access to credit.

Small Business Loan
Up to $100,000 online for businesses who have been in operation for at least 24 months and are generating revenues. <Learn More>

Other financial relief programs

Tourism and Hospitality Recovery Program
This program provides support through the wage and rent subsidy programs, to hotels, tour operators, travel agencies, and restaurants, with a subsidy rate of up to 75 per cent.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund
Additional funds for businesses and organizations unable to access other support measures and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in sectors key to the regions and to local economies.

Plus more information on the BDC Finance Page.


BDC Capital offers a full spectrum of specialized financing

BDC Capital exists to help turn great ideas into great companies. And great companies into engines of jobs, growth and wealth creation.

  • Venture Capital
  • Growth and Transition Capital
  • Growth Equity Partners
  • IP-Backed Financing

What is Futurpreneur Canada?

Futurpreneur has been fueling the entrepreneurial passions of Canada’s young enterprise for over two decades. They are the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39.  Their internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 2,400 volunteer mentors.

When you speak with some of our regional business development specialists in Huron, Grey, Bruce Counties ask them about Futurpreneur Canada … they can help you connect.   Or reach out directly here! 

Did you know ... ONE in THREE Canadians are managing their own side business?
1. The “Gig” Picture: One-in-three Canadians have done some kind of informal work in the past five years, November 26, 2019. Angus Reid Institute.

Bookmark and then share this page and use it as an ongoing reference to programs, services, financing and grants for small businesses in Huron, Grey or Bruce Counties.

There is a lot of help out there – we want you to succeed.

If growing your brand or business online is next up in your business growth strategy, reach out to me.   I’ve helped several local area business owners with proposals, quotes for website and digital marketing proposals.  Reach out to me, I’m here to help too!


Deborah Clarke, CPA, MBA

Owner, 519Web, Pinpoint Local


Local Expertise, Global Standards


* Statistics Canada “Canadian Social Survey – Well-Being, Unpaid Work, Family Time https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220221/dq220221a-eng.htm

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Picture of Deborah Clarke

Deborah Clarke

Deborah has spent her entire career managing change. She was either growing a business from nothing or managing change within larger organizations to make a major shift in a new direction. As a small business leader, with a strong foundation of knowledge and experience in marketing, business development and accounting, Deborah Clarke brings 30+ years of hands-on experience to 519web, a full service digital marketing agency located in Kincardine, Ontario.

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