Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre

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Ontario Self-Employment Benefit

Program Objectives

To provide unemployed Employment Insurance eligible individuals with income and entrepreneurial support while they develop and implement their business plan.
To assist unemployed Employment Insurance eligible individuals to prepare for, obtain and maintain employment resulting in savings to the Employment Insurance Account.

How does it work?

Duration

The unemployed Employment Insurance eligible individual is provided with financial and entrepreneurial support for a maximum of 52 weeks (up to 78 weeks for an individual with a disability) to help them start their own business and become self-employed. This is done with the assistance of eligible coordinators (sponsors) who provide business support.

Who can apply? Eligible Participants

Eligible participants are those who, pursuant to the Employment Insurance Act, are unemployed individuals who at the time of applying for the Self-Employment Program:

for whom an unemployment benefit period has been established or has ended within the 36 months prior to the date of requesting assistance; or

for whom a benefit period that included a maternity or parental claim has been established within the 60 months prior to the date of requesting assistance, after which the individual remained out of the labour market in order to care for a newborn or newly adopted child and is now seeking to re-enter the labour force.

Other criteria may apply.

How do I apply?How do I become a sponsor?

Unemployed Employment Insurance eligible individuals in Ontario should visit here and/or apply at the nearest Service Canada Centre. To become a sponsor, an application must be submitted to their Service Canada Centre.

Northern Ontario Entrepreneur Program


This program is designed for the ambitious northerner with a new entrepreneurial idea and the drive to develop their own business. Those that are interested in this program have the potential to receive up to $125,000 in funding per project. The entrepreneur must make a cash investment in the business of no less than 10 per cent of the NOHFC’s contribution.

To see if your eligible and would like to apply visit: Northern Ontario Entrepreneur Program

Northern Ontario Young Entrepreneur

The NOHFC Young Entrepreneur program is designed to help young entrepreneurs (aged 18-29) startnew businesses while mobilizing a new generation ofcommunity builders inNorthern Ontario.Generally, the funding from this program does not have to be repaid; the entrepreneur must contribute a minimum of 10% of the total project. The funding may cover up to 85% of eligible costs, and cannot exceed $25,000.

Apply and/or read more on this program here: Northern Ontario Young Entrepreneur

Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF)

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is a national charity providing start-up mentoring, financing and business resources to help you start your own successful business. If you are age 18-34 and have a business idea...we can help!

How It Works - Start-up Financing

Entrepreneurs need money - that's no secret. We provide business start-up loans up to $15,000. Loan repayments of three or five years are available. Eligibility Requirements:
  • Between 18-34 years old
  • Eligible to work in Canada
  • Produces a complete and viable business plan
  • Has been in business, fully operating, for less than 12 months
  • Lives or opens the business in the community which is offering the CYBF program
  • Has some training / experience related to their business idea
  • Work with mentor for a period of two years
  • Has a business that creates full-time sustainable employment for the applicant
  • Must hold at least 51% voting share in the business (if a partnership)
  • Not a full-time student
  • Loan proceeds may NOT be used for the refinancing of existing debt. Link to website.

Knowledge Bank

Entrepreneur's Toolkit

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Box 398
2400 Nipigon Rd.
Thunder Bay, ON P7C 4W1

Telephone: 807-768-6682
Toll-Free: 1-866-768-6682
Fax: 807-768-6683
Email: info@nwoinnovation.ca

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