Starter Company Plus PROGRAM

Ready to start a new business, buy a business or grow a business?

Starter Company PLUS is for existing business owners operating between 1 to 3 years who are ready to start (market ready/ready to sell) to expand (hiring employees, contractors or getting a location) or buying a business in Durham Region.

The program has 3 mandatory training days over 2 weeks (9:00am – 3:00pm) covering Business Concept, Organization, Operations and Customer Relations.

The program provides:

  • In Class Training - a community of entrepreneurs and mentorship from local business (advisors) to help get your business up and running.
  • The chance to receive up to $5,000 in seed funding to kick off a new business or expand your current business.
  • The experience of running a successful business that may help you obtain more traditional financing such as a bank loan if you so require in the future.

There will be a number of cohorts throughout the year. Upon completion of training, participants may apply for the seed funding. If awarded seed funding, disbursement is in 2 payments and there are mandatory requirements to stay in the program and milestones for the final disbursement.

Connect with Patrice Esper, Business Advisor to find out more (905) 668-4949 x227 or fill out an application.

This is a competitive process and space is limited.

**Please note: All program participants will receive business training, however, not all will receive the seed funding.


  • 18 years of age or older.
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident living in Durham Region (proof required).
  • Not currently enrolled in full-time education or employed full time.
  • You need to be proposing a new business that is market ready/ready to sell, currently running a business, expanding or buying a business in the Durham Region.
  • If an existing business, been operating 3 years or less.
  • Prepared to commit to a minimum average of 35 hours per week to run your business.
  • Prepared to complete the mandatory Business Training Program.
  • Prepared to attend 6 mandatory mentor meetings.
  • Not participating in any other Government Funded Entrepreneurship Training Programs, and/or have not received funding from BACD or other SBEC (Small Business Enterprise Centre) (i.e. grant recipients from Starter Company, Second Start, Summer Company) previously.
  • Can provide proof of equity in the business ($1,250).


  • A sole proprietorship or a corporation where the applicant will be the majority shareholder
  • An independent business venture
  • Scalable and innovative business
  • Partnership where the applicant holds the Majority share; if 50/50 shared, only one partner may apply.
  • Fits the Canada Revenue Agency definition of being self-employed in FORM RC 4110
  • Operates at arm’s length from family business ventures in Ontario
  • A business that operates full-time as defined in the business plan and maintains its own books and records
  • Maintains a separate business bank account, following government rules and regulations for operating a business


  • Franchises, commissioned sales and distributorships
  • Business ventures that are continuations of existing commercial endeavours
  • Not-for-profit, social enterprise, co-operatives or charitable enterprises
  • Multi-level marketing ventures
  • Single event such as musical ventures bands, DJs or dance/party event organizations
  • Businesses that are strictly pay per click and 1-900 number businesses or subscription models.
Ontario logo

This program is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

Start a Business - Starter Company


Application Process:

  • Assess to see if you are eligible to participate in the Starter Company Plus Program.
  • Complete the ELIGIBILITY APPLICATION online. On completion, you will be contacted by the Program Coordinator to review your application.
  • If eligible, you will be asked to register for all 3 training days and mentor sessions. Registration links will be provided by the program coordinator.
  • Submit your completed program Participation Agreement and proof of in-kind contribution. The program coordinator will instruct you when and how to complete.

Grant Application Process and Disbursement

  • Submit completed application and signed participant agreement with the Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD), outlining each party’s rights and responsibilities for program participation and possible seed funding disbursement.
  • Complete mandatory business training provided by the BACD.
  • Provide copies of business registration, business bank account, SIN# (required if approved for seed funding), and any required licensing documents to your program provider.
  • Provide proof of equity ($1,250).
  • Submit your completed business plan and cash flow for review by a Grant Committee, if approved by committee, receive seed funding disbursement in 2 installments.
  • Comply with the program guidelines and implement the business substantially in accordance with your completed business plan and financials included with the application.
  • Operate your business on a full-time basis, a minimum average of 35 hours a week.
  • Attend 6 mandatory business mentor sessions over 3 months.
  • Agree to one site visit by the program provider.
  • Maintain an activity log provided and reviewed by BACD, include time allocations, outline business tasks, operations and marketing activities.
  • Maintain appropriate business records of income and expenditures including receipts which must be submitted to BACD. 
  • Complete the participant survey at the end of program cycle (1, 2 and 3-year update).
  • Submit an exit questionnaire on your business (learning outcomes and experience).

BACD Waiver

BACD reserves the right to disqualify any participant that, in its sole judgement, violates the spirit of the program and its guidelines, processes and rules. BACD and its Grant Committee decisions are final.

BACD reserves the right to suspend, delay, modify or cancel these terms and conditions for any reasonable applicable law.

**Please note: All program participants will receive business training, however, not all will receive the grant/seed funding.

The Starter Company Plus Application Process


ASSESS to see if you are eligible to participate in the Starter Company Plus Program


COMPLETE and SUBMIT the Program Eligibility Application


REVIEW: You will be contacted by the Program Coordinator to review your application


If ELIGIBLE, you will be asked to complete and submit the Program Participant Agreement & Proof of Equity in the Business


ACCEPTANCE - You will be notified if you are accepted into the Program or not


REGISTER - Register for the mandatory training days and mandatory mentorship meetings via the links provided by the Program Coordinator