While there has been additional grants during COVID-19 for small businesses, there is in reality a reduction in the number of grants available to general business for start-up in the past few years.
There is a misconception that there is free grant money for all. Most programs are targeted strictly to specific industries, geographical areas or particular groups of entrepreneurs (minority groups, youth, employment insurance recipients, etc.)
In the early stages, the most important financial sources will probably be you, friends, relatives and financial institutions.
The most common source of financing for small businesses is the chartered bank. Banks can provide a number of financing options, such as short-term loans, long-term mortgage loans and, in some cases, loans against inventory or accounts receivable. Other important sources of financing in this category include trust companies and credit unions.
For very small firms and home-based businesses, credit cards, home equity and lines of credit often provide a ready means of obtaining small-scale debt capital. While convenient, they bear relatively high rates of interest and limit the amount of capital available. Often it makes sense to start with the bank you are already with, they know you and have a history of your banking activities.
Each situation is different, and it is critical that a good business plan be developed to determine the overall needs of the business.
Here are a list of programs that you can research. Do not pay for any books or lists of these grants as they are publicly available without you having to pay for them. Each of these programs have their own eligibility criteria and requirements.
Government Grant Information
Grant Program Search Platforms