Frequently Asked Questions


Startup Canada is an independent non-profit organization that works with private sector and government partners to build an environment  for entrepreneurial success and deliver programs to support Canada’s 3.5 million entrepreneurs to start and grow. Startup Canada maintains its independence from government so as to be an effective vehicle for lobbying and advocacy on behalf of the sector. Our mission is to make Canada the best place to start and own a business.

There are several definitions of a startup. We like to think about it as a newly established business that intends to grow rapidly through providing an innovative solution that addresses a particular target audience. You can find some other definitions from Investopedia and Render Forest.


If you have experience and insights to share with Canada’s entrepreneurial audience, we would love to hear it! Please fill out this form and if you’re a great fit, the team will contact you shortly.

Newcomers to Canada

Canada is a great place to launch a business! Our multicultural society is home to a melting pot of cultures. The Canadian Startup Visa Program is just one program to assist immigrants, the Government of Canada web page explains the Startup Visa in great detail.

You should also consider exploring the list of designated organizations and help centre, also supported by the Government of Canada, regarding designated organizations and how to go about reaching out for support.

New Canadians are among the most innovative, entrepreneurial, export savvy, and digitally-literate business owners. They are more likely than those born in Canada to start companies, and are more likely to pursue markets beyond Canada and the United States according to Statistics Canada. Check out this list of resources for newcomers to Canada:

FedDev Ontario – Small Business Services

FedDev Ontario Business Guide for Newcomers

BDC Newcomer Entrepreneur Program

ACCES Employment Resources

Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) Talent Programs

Resources and support

Startup Canada does not fund startups directly, however we’re happy to point you in the right direction to get funding. Check these resources below:

Fundica: Fundica accelerates the funding search and connects entrepreneurs directly to funders and advisors. Via their website, you can quickly identify grants, loans, tax credits, and equity funding from private, municipal, provincial, and federal funders.

National Crowdfunding Association: NCFA Canada is a non-profit financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners, and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada.

MaRS Discovery District: MaRS offers a range of products and services to help you find the funding you need to grow your business.

Ontario Centre of Innovation: OCI accelerates innovation through game-changing research leading to successful commercialization and vibrant collaboration between industry and academia helping to launch the next generation of products and jobs.

Real Ventures: Real Ventures supports game-changing Canadian founders from day one, helping them scale themselves as they scale their businesses.

FounderFuel: FounderFuel works to develop both the skillsets and mindsets of the founders shaping our future through game-changing technology. New founders learn and grow, hone their business models and stories and take their companies to the next level.

Inovia Capital: A venture capital firm that partners up with audacious founders ready to build enduring global technology companies. They serve founders with dedicated long-term mentorship, a talent network, and strategic support for scale.

Business Development Bank of Canada: BDC supports Canadian businesses with business loans and financing solutions for entrepreneurs, check to see if you’re eligible.

Canadian Grants and Business Centre: Find grants to sector-specific businesses and support for when you already have funding.

Startup Canada creates a report based on a yearly census about entrepreneurship in the country with the goal of providing further insights on our nation’s entrepreneurial status. 

Customer discovery is an important part of the business validation process. One tool for evaluating customer needs is the Value Proposition Canvas.

The Value Proposition Canvas should be used in conjunction with the Business Model Canvas to fully understand your customers needs and the products or services that will support the same. More information can be found on Strategyzer.

Startup Canada has communities located across Canada. Each community is self-led and is the perfect starting point for finding local support. 

Don’t see a community in your vicinity? Start your own.

Starting and scaling up

There are several resources you can use as guides to starting up. We recommend checking out the following:

Lean Startup 101

Lean Startup Methodology

MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 

Futurpreneur How To Resources & Templates

Design Thinking

When incorporating your business, it is important to obtain legal advice as to the best structure for your business as well as whether it should be a federal or provincial corporation.

For provincial incorporations: 

Full list of provincial incorporations


British Columbia


New Brunswick

Newfoundland & Labrador

Northwest Territories

Nova Scotia



Prince Edward Island





For federal incorporations: 

Industry Canada

The Government of Canada’s Concierge Service

The Government of Canada’s Starting a Business Guide 

Incorporating Federally In Canada

When developing your business, one thing you will need is a business plan. Business plans consist of numerous sections, appendices and financial statements about your business. Each funding organization or bank may require you to adapt your plan to their format however, a basic business plan can be generated using a template for example Futurpreneur’s Business Plan Template or BDC’s Business Plan Template.

The Business Model Canvas by Alex Osterwalder at Strategyzer is designed to map existing business models and explore new business ideas. It requires more detail than the Lean Canvas and may be more difficult to use for some business types.

The Value Proposition Canvas should be used in conjunction with the Business Model Canvas to fully understand your customer’s needs and the products or services that you will offer.

The Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC) is your resource for managing your intellectual property (IP). 

In terms of patents, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) has everything you could possibly need to know about patenting your product.

Thinking of going global? Make sure you protect your IP internationally. Check out Export Development Canada’s (EDC) resources and find out how they can help you with patents and copyright.

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