Are you a small business owner? Are you looking to grow an existing business? Or are you an entrepreneurial mind looking to start a new one? Then Starter Company Plus is for you!
What is Starter Company Plus
Running your own business is one of the most valuable life experiences you can have. Experienced entrepreneurs know that they need to surround themselves with people who inspire and challenge them. Starter Company Plus is a program designed to support entrepreneurs by combining grant funding with coaching, mentorship and community. Whether you are growing an existing business or starting a new venture, our experienced business counselors will walk you through the business planning process, help you identify your goals and teach you how to measure your progress. You will have the opportunity to learn and share your journey with a group of like-minded entrepreneurs. The Starter Company cohort will meet monthly (for 12 months) in a social setting to network and keep each other accountable.
Starter Company Plus is administered by the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership’s Business Enterprise Centre and is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
How it works
Through Starter Company Plus, you can get:
- Start-up money (up to $5000) to kick-off a new business or GROW and scale an existing business!
- Personalized coaching and mentorship from local business leaders and fellow entrepreneurs to help you reach your goals.
- Access to monthly (for 12 months) peer-led meetups.
How to Qualify
To qualify for Starter Company Plus, you must:
- Have well-developed business idea for a new or growing business
- Have 25% equity – (If you are requesting the full $5000 grant you will need $1250 cash or a combination of assets to contribute to your business)
- Be over 18 years of age at the time of application and not currently enrolled at a Post Secondary Institution
- Be a resident of Ontario
- Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- Be committed, ambitious and passionate about entrepreneurship
- Have not received a Starter Company Grant in the past
You can choose to start almost any type of business, as long as it:
- Is a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation (where you are the majority shareholder) *Partnerships will only be considered if both partners qualify and will participate in programming
- Is an independent business venture
- Qualifies as “self-employed” for income tax purposes
- Operates on a full-time basis
- Follows government rules for operating a business
The following businesses are NOT eligible for Starter Company Plus:
- Non-profit or charity
- Pay-per-click business
- Commissioned sales
- Multi-level marketing (eg. Avon, doTERRA, Scentsy)
- Single event (eg. performance, concert, sports event)
- Part-time/seasonal business
Please note, preference will be given to businesses that meet the following requirements:
- Have the ability to create sufficient economic impact
- Storefront location
- Possibility for job creation
- Sustainable business model with potential to scale
- Fulfills market demand in priority industries
- Application clearly demonstrates how the Starter Company Plus Program will support the business growth
How to Apply
Complete Starter Company Plus intake form
The form is available when the program is accepting applications. The 2021 Starter Plus Program is currently closed.
The Starter Company Plus intake form will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and asks questions such as:
- What have you accomplished in your life (personal and professional accomplishments, education attainment, entrepreneurship successes to date)?
- What are your goals and what are you doing to achieve them?
- What knowledge and experience would you bring to the Starter Company group?
A Business Counselor will review your intake form and contact you to schedule a time for a phone consultation to review your information and answer any questions you may have about the program and submission.
If you need to discuss the program or your eligibility prior to Steps 1-3, you may reach out to Chantelle by calling 519-332-1820 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participate in the Starter Company Plus follow up call by telephone
When the program is open for applications, we ask participants to review the Information Session and on-demand educational videos to assist in answering their questions and building the highest quality application packages. These links will be available when the program is accepting intakes. V
The on-demand business planning webinar series includes the following modules:
- Business Plan 1: The Company Profile
- Business Plan 2: The Industry Profile
- Business Plan 3: The Sales and Marketing Plan
- Business Plan 4: The Operating Plan
- Business Plan 5: The Financial Statements – The Cash Flow Forecast
- Business Plan 6: The Financial Statements – The Balance Sheet and Income Statement
- Business Plan 7: The Executive Summary and Supporting Documents
Complete a 30 minute virtual consultation with a Business Counselor to review your information, discuss your application and answer questions.
You will prepare a submission for a review committee comprised of local business leaders. The deadline for full submission is expected to be announced in early 2022. Your application package must include:
- Introductory Cover Letter
- 3-minute video pitch of your business idea
- Completed business plan (template provided)
- Budget and financial projections
- List of goals
Applicants will receive email communication with instructions for electronic submission via WeTransfer.
The committee reserves the right to request the opportunity to ask additional questions. All committee decisions are final.
Applicants will be notified of status 2-3 weeks following submission.
Successful applicants will be contacted to schedule a meeting to discuss the Starter Company Plus contract. The initial disbursement of the grant funds (75%) will be issued after both parties have signed the contract.
The first Monthly Cohort Meeting will take place in May 2022.