Starting and running a business can be challenging. We’re here to answer your questions and help you get the business resources you need to succeed.
Do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur?
What should go in my business plan?
Your business plan is an essential tool. You need a business plan to secure finances and to outline your goals and how you plan to achieve them. We will help you develop your plan and identify any gaps that may impact your business’s success. Access our business plan templates on the resource hub.
Sole-proprietorship, partnership, corporation or co-operative – how do I know what business structure is right for me?
Choose the business structure that fits your needs and objectives:
Sole-Proprietorships and Partnerships
A sole proprietorship or partnership is the easiest and most common way to start a business, but it does come with drawbacks, and all of the responsibility for the business’s success rests with you as the owner.
- You can register quickly and easily.
- You can lower the cost of your business registration.
- You receive all of the business’s profits directly.
- You make all the business decisions.
- You must renew your registration every five years.
- You and your partners are personally liable for the business.
- Your business name is not protected.
- Your income is taxable at your personal rate.
A corporation is a legal entity that separates the business from its owner/operator. You can choose to incorporate federally or provincially; each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Your personal liability is limited.
- Your business name is protected.
- You can transfer ownership.
- You may qualify for lower tax rates as a corporation.
- You are required to provide annual filings and corporate records.
- You will pay more to set up a corporation than other business forms.
- You may be required to prove residency or proof of citizenship.
Co-operatives (For Profit and Not-for-Profit)
A co-operative is a corporation that is organized and controlled by its members. It can be set up to operate for profit or as a not-for-profit. Just like a corporation, it can be registered provincially or federally, and each option has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- You will have limited liability.
- Your profits will be distributed among members.
- Your co-operative is democratically controlled (one member, one vote).
*Source: FedDev Ontario
- You will have to resolve conflict among members.
- Your decision-making process might take longer.
- You will need all members to participate to succeed.
Do I need to register my business name?
You are required to register your business name in Ontario.
You are exempt from registering your business name if you use your own name for the business. However, you will need to register your business name if it includes any additional words aside from your own name. For example, if your business name is “John Smith Consulting Services,” you must register the name.
Your business name should reflect the products or services you offer and should be distinct from your competition. Learn more here.
How do I register my business name?
Do I need to get a business number/HST?
Your business number is your single account number for handling taxes, payroll, and imports/exports with the federal government. You must register for a business number if you plan on hiring employees or import/export products or services.
You may need a business number to charge, collect and remit Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) if you sell goods or services in Ontario unless your business makes below $30,000 in any 12-month period. Businesses earning below $30,000 may register voluntarily and claim input tax credits. For example, during the start-up phase, a business may pay more in HST for goods and services purchased than collected, and may receive a tax credit. Check out this tax guide for more information.
Do I need a license or permit?
Your business may need a license or permit from the federal, provincial or municipal level of government in order to operate. Use BizPaL or contact Canada Business at 1-888-576-4444 to find licenses and regulations that may affect your business.
What business regulations apply to my business?
I'm starting a restaurant or food product business. What should I be aware of?
What makes Valley Heartland CFDC different from traditional lenders?
We are a Community Futures office. We typically assume greater risks than a traditional lender. Our loan evaluation is not based on a formula; we look at the whole plan. We offer flexibility with repayment terms and monthly payment management. Most importantly, our financing decisions are made locally.
Do you provide forgivable loans for businesses?
We do not offer forgivable loans. All loans are subject to interest and administration fees and will have a repayment schedule tailored to the business’s needs.
Are there lender fees associated with Valley Heartland financing?
“Lender fees” is an umbrella term associated with processing, approving and advancing loans. As a non-profit organization, we endeavor to keep our lending fees minimal. All applications are subject to a non-refundable $100 application fee. Approved Express Loans are subject to a one-time $300 administration fee. All other loans are subject to a one-time administration fee equal to 1.5% of the approved amount. Applicants are responsible for any direct legal costs for loan security documentation.
How are interest rates determined?
We offer a base rate of prime plus 2%. A variance may be added to the rate depending on the level of risk and duration of the loan.
How long do I have to pay back the loan?
The term of the loan depends on the nature of the business, cash flow, and the loan amount. Payments can be amortized over a longer period to reduce the monthly payment amount.
Will loan security be required?
Loan security is considered for each application. In some cases, a personal guarantee is sufficient. Security such as, but not limited to, realty mortgage and equipment may be required in other cases.
When can I access funds once my loan is approved?
Funds are typically made available to the applicant between 1 to 2 weeks after loan approval, depending on the security required.