How Do I Start a Business?

Business Funding

Are you thinking about starting a business or do you already have one that you want to grow? If you are looking for information on business loans and grants, you are in the right place! Below is a list of business financing options available. Check out what’s available based on what region your business is in.

What’s the difference between a grant and a loan? Grants are money you don’t have to repay and are usually based on your financial need, while loans are money you borrow and that you must pay back, usually with interest costs.


Nunatsiavut Government, Department of Education and Economic Development

The Department of Education and Economic Development, Inuit Pathways-ASETS provides programming delivered through the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS). ASETS supports labour market training and business development for Labrador Inuit.

Self-Employment Benefits Program can provide clients a salary during the first six months of the business start-up process. This allows them to focus exclusively on developing their business.


18-28 Harmony Road, Makkovik, NL
(709) 923-2105
Toll Free: 1 (877) 923-2171
Contact: Roberta Baikie-Andersen, Program Director- Inuit Pathways

CBDC Labrador Inc.

CBDC Labrador is a community-based organization that provides financial and business support services to the Inuit of Labrador for the development and growth of new and existing businesses.

First-Time Entrepreneur Loan can support first-time entrepreneurs with the start-up of a new business or assistance with the purchase of an existing business for up to $150,000.

Youth Loan Program can provide entrepreneurs between 18-34 years-old with assistance to start, grow and update business projects for up to $150,000.

Innovation Loan can assist the development of new technologies or ones that have been adapted or repurposed for commercial applications. It can also provide financing for new products or services, training, counselling and general financial support for up to $150,000.


4 Hillcrest Road, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL
(709) 896-5814
Contact: Ellen Bock, Development Officer

Ulnooweg Development Group Inc.

Ulnooweg Development Group Inc. can provide loans to new and existing businesses in Atlantic Canada.

Small Loan Program for the Cottage Craft Industry can provide cottage craft business owners a loan for inventory, raw materials, tools and marketing for up to $1,000.

Ulnooweg Loan can provide a loan for any business need for up to $250,000.

Ulnooweg Youth Business Loan provides youth aged 35 years or younger a loan for up to $15,000.


Head office: 835 Willow St., Truro, NS
(902) 893-7379
Toll Free: 1 (888) 766-2376
Contact: Angelina McMullin


Kativik Regional Government, Regional and Local Development Department

The Regional and Local Development Department is active in delivering funding, programs and services to support the region’s business development.

Inuit Business Development Fund can provide funding for the start-up of a business for up to $20,000.

Makigiarutiit I and II Fund can provide loans, contributions and investments for up to $150,000.

Makigiarutiit III Fund can provide funding to women and youth for business development and entrepreneurship for up to $500,000.

Entrepreneurship Support Measures can provide funding to young entrepreneurs for business creation and the growth of newly developed businesses.

Support for Emerging Enterprises Measure Fund can provide new businesses with support to conduct feasibility studies, market surveys, opportunity studies, hiring experts (consultants), and project or product development.

Agro food development can provide funding to entrepreneurs and businesses to promote the agriculture food sector in Nunavik.


732 Siuralikuut St, Kuujjuaq, QC
(819) 964-2961
Toll free: 1 (877) 964-2961 Ext 2262
Contact: Adel Yassa


Baffin/Qikiqtaaluk Region:

Baffin Business Development Corporation

Baffin Business Development Corporation is a business service and lending agency that supports new and growing businesses in the Baffin Region. The BBDC can provide funding for up to $250,000.


1104B Inuksugait Plaza II, Iqaluit, NU
(867) 979-1303
Toll free: 1 (800) 263-2232
Contact: Shaun Lewis, Business Analyst

Kakivak Association

Kakivak Association is an economic development organization that provides business, employment and training services in the Baffin region. The Business Development Department assists Inuit to establish and grow their businesses.

Makigiaqvik Loans can provide Inuit business owners funding to start or grow their business for up to $50,000.

Sivummut Grants to Small Businesses can provide Inuit-owned businesses support with the start-up or growth of their business. This includes the following: up to $5,000 for business pre-start up services; up to $10,000 for business start-up services; and up to $10,000 for business expansion services.

Small Tool Grants can provide assistance to artists for the purchase of tools and supplies. This includes assistance for the purchase of carving tools for up to $1,000 and assistance with the purchase of sewing machines for up to $2,500.

Economic Opportunity Fund can provide support to tourism-based businesses in Grise Fiord, Resolute Bay, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq and Pangnirtung for up to $10,000.


Entrepreneurship and Business Development Fund can provide financial support to Inuit entrepreneurs to expand their business.


924 Parnaivik Building, Iqaluit, NU
(867) 979-0911
Toll Free: 1 (800) 561-0911
Contact: Glen Cousins

Kitikmeot Region:

Kitikmeot Community Futures Incorporated

Kitikmeot Community Futures Inc. is a lending agency that provides a wide range of supports for small and medium-sized businesses in the Kitikmeot region for up to $250,000.


26 Omingmak, Arctic Island Lodge, Cambridge Bay, NU
(867) 983-7383
Toll Free: 1 (888) 886-0260
Contact: Marg Epp, Executive Director

Kitikmeot Inuit Association

The Kitikmeot Inuit Association is a development corporation that promotes sustainable development and entrepreneurship.

Nunavut Sivummut Program can provide funding to purchase tools, equipment and sewing materials for up to $2,000.

Kitikmeot Business Assistance Program can provide funding for larger projects for the purposes of business creation, expansion, or recovery needs for up to $25,000.

Entrepreneurship and Business Development Fund can provide funding to entrepreneurs to expand their business.


Cambridge Bay, NU
(867) 983-2458 ext. 266
Contact: Derek Elias

Kivalliq Region:

Kivalliq Business Development Centre

Kivalliq Business Development Centre is a lending agency for new or growing businesses in the Kivalliq region. The centre provides business plan preparation, business and financial advising, the delivery of workshops, and the development of mentorship resources for up to $150,000.

Oomilik Building, Rankin Inlet, NU
(867) 645-2126
Toll free: 1 (888) 645-2126
Contact: Gabrielle Morrill

Kivalliq Partners in Development (KPID)

Kivalliq Partners in Development supports business development for small businesses in the Kivalliq region.

Contributions to Development Fund can provide contributions for the following: business planning and development; business creation and expansion; marketing; and, business relief for up to $125,000.

Contributions for Small Businesses Program can provide contributions to small businesses for business development, business growth, and training needs for up to $5,000.


The Entrepreneurship and Business Development Fund can provide financial support to entrepreneurs to expand their business. The fund can also provide project-based support to assist in starting and growing businesses.


Louis Pilakapsi Building, floor #1, Rankin Inlet, NU
(867) 645-2122
Toll free: 1 (866) 880-8809


Atuqtuarvik Corporation

Atuqtuarvik Corporation is an Inuit-owned investment company that provides Inuit businesses with loans and equity investments for business start-ups, acquisition and growth for up to $3,000,000.


102-61 Tupirvik 61st Avenue, Rankin Inlet, NU
(867) 645-5900
Toll Free: 1 (888) 645-5901
Contact: Charlene Lowe, Senior Account Manager

Government of Nunavut, Department of Economic Development & Transportation (ED&T)

The Department of Economic Development & Transportation provides funding for projects to individuals, businesses, organizations and communities.

Arts Development Program can provide funding to artists for various activities including travel, music production and marketing support.


Community Tourism Projects can provide funding to outfitters in the tourism sector for up to $150,000.

Cultural Tourism Projects can provide funding to businesses for sales, marketing and production of artists’ products including improving product presentation for up to $150,000.

Cultural Industries Program can provide funding to artists for mentoring, residencies, touring and learning outside of Nunavut to enhance the cultural industry for up to $35,000.


Small Business Opportunities Fund can provide support for business start-up (i.e. developing business and marketing plans), business growth and new pilot projects.

Entrepreneur Development Fund can provide training and skill development in accounting, bookkeeping, business start-up, tourism safety, risk management and aftercare programs.

Sustainable Livelihood Fund can provide funding for activities in the tourism, arts & crafts, and harvesting sectors for up to $100,000.


Nunavut Business Investment Fund can provide contributions to businesses for major expansion or start-up costs for up to $250,000.

1104A Inuksugait Plaza I, Iqaluit, NU
(867) 975-7800
Toll Free:
North Baffin    1 (888) 899-7338
South Baffin    1 (844) 737-8628
Kivalliq           1 (844) 737-8627
Kitikmeot        1 (844) 475-1166

Government of Nunavut, Department of Family Services

Nunavut Entrepreneurship Incentive can provide financial support to new business owners for $5,000 ($2,500 in two payments). The program also supports entrepreneurs by providing them with career counselling from Career Development Officers and business start-up support from business partner development consultants.


W.G. Brown Building #1 Astro-hill Complex
(867) 975-6580
Toll Free:
Qikiqtani         1 (800) 567-1514
Kivalliq           1 (800) 953-8516
Kitikmeot        1 (800) 661-0845
Contact: Contact your Career Development Officer for your community.

Nunavut Business Credit Corporation

Nunavut Business Credit Corporation can provide loans to businesses for start-up and expansion costs for up to $1,000,000.


Parnaivik Building 924, Suite 102
(867) 975-7891
Toll Free: 1 (888) 758-0038
Contact: Angela McPherson, Senior Advisor of Business Services
Email: /


CanNor, Northwest Territories Region

CanNor supports business growth and development in the North by delivering economic development programs through the Northern Aboriginal Economic Opportunities Program.

Entrepreneurship and Business Development Fund can provide funding for project-based support to establish and grow businesses owned by Inuit.


Nova Plaza, Floor #3, Yellowknife, NT
(867) 766-8327

Government of Northwest Territories, Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment 

Entrepreneur Support Program can provide funding to business owners for the following: business start-up; capital assistance; operational support; and, market and product development for up to $15,000.

Micro Business Program can provide funding for arts & crafts, traditional harvesting and self-employment activities including film production and prospecting for up to $5,000.

Business Intelligence and Networking can provide funding for business travel for the purposes of attaining information regarding new technologies or business opportunities for up to $3,000.


4922-48th St. YK Centre, Yellowknife, NT
(867) 767-9212
Contact: Please contact your regional Economic Development Officer

Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation

Business Development Project Fund can provide funding for business start-up expenses, business development, raw materials and short-term projects for up to $10,000.

BDPF Aftercare Funding can provide funding to cover travel costs to attend educational seminars, purchase accounting software, and take business or accounting courses for up to $2,500.

Seasonal Production Financing can provide artists, craft-makers or harvesters with funding to purchase supplies for up to $25,000.


56 Mackenzie Road, Floor #2 Semmier Building, Inuvik, NT
Tel: (867) 777-7103
Contact: Michel Lemieux, Manager – Trade and Investment

Western Arctic Business Development Corporation

Western Arctic Business Development Corporation supports small and medium-sized business with business creation and growth in the Western Arctic region for up to $200,000.

125 MacKenzie Road, Suite 204, Inuvik
(867) 777-2836
Toll Free: 1 (800) 244-1203
Contact: Jimmy Lobos, Loans Officer


Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

The Business Development Bank of Canada supports small and medium-sized businesses by providing loans for all stages of business development.

Aboriginal Business Development Fund can provide loans to entrepreneurs for business start-up expenses and expansion costs for up to $20,000.


Growth capital for Aboriginal business can provide funding for business creation for up to $25,000.  It can also provide funding for business expansion costs for up to $100,000.



5 Place Ville Marie, Suite 400, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 5E7
Toll Free: 1 (877) 232-2269

Government of Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Canada Small Business Financing Program can provide loans for start-ups and existing small businesses for the purchase or improvement of land or buildings used for commercial purposes. It can also provide funding for the purchase or improvement of new or used equipment for up to $1,000,000.


235 Queen Street, Floor #5, West Tower, Ottawa Ontario
Toll Free: 1 (866) 959-1699

Business Tips

“For anyone thinking about starting a business, don’t be afraid to take a risk! Loving what you do is important, but taking good care of the financial management and administrative side of your business is the key to its success. Also, nurture a support network in your community, and it will nurture you right back!”

The Honourable Eva Aariak (Premier of Nunavut) who had her own business until she was elected Premier.

“My advice is to find out what start up programs exist and what agencies and organizations provide them. Also learn where to access loans and grants and take advantage of these opportunities. Utilizing such resources will help you be successful in business.”

Elisapee Sheutiapik, owner of The Grind and BrewCoffee Shop (Iqaluit)

“Develop a hunger for learning – learning is a lifelong process. This isn’t just a saying; it is an important attitude to have in business. The world changes quickly and to be successful you have to understand these changes and be prepared to adapt your business to meet needed opportunities.”

Hilda Broomfield-Letemplier, owner of Pressure Pipe Steel Fabrication Ltd. (Happy Valley-Goose Bay, NL)

“Maintaining a balance in your life is critical to success in all ways. You need to take care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.”

Leena Evic, owner of the Pirurvik Center (Iqaluit, NU)

“Starting a business is much like having a small child. You need to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and must be prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure your business survives and grows.”

Tara Tootoo-Fotheringham, owner of Tara Bed and Breakfast, Sugar Rush Café, Food Shipping (Rankin Inlet, NU)                                                                                                       

“Have faith in yourself and your skills, work at something you like to do, and learn to look after yourself first – a successful business isn’t worth your health.”

Louisa Gillespie, owner of Arctic Flower Greeting Card Business (Resolute Bay, NU)


Please note this glossary has been adapted from the Government of Nunavut’s “Seven Steps to Help You Start Your Business” guide. The original can be found at:

Read Glossary


Accounting is what you do when you keep financial records for your business. These records (accounts) show your expenses and receipts.

Accounts Payable

This is an accounting term. This is the money that your business owes to suppliers for goods and services you have purchased but not paid for (purchased on credit).

Accounts Receivable

This is an accounting term. This is the money that is owed to your business by customers who have purchased goods or services on credit, and have not yet paid.


Amortization is the process of gradually paying off a loan, mortgage or debt through regular payments, usually over a long period of time.


Items owned by your business that have monetary value. Cash, inventory, equipment, land, buildings, accounts receivable and securities are all considered assets.

Balance Sheet

A financial report that shows what an individual or business owns (its assets), what it owes (its liabilities), and the amount of its net worth or equity, as of the date of the statement.


A business is considered bankrupt when it has been legally judged to be unable to pay its bills. Formal bankruptcy can result in selling off all the assets of a business and distributing the funds raised to creditors.


Bookkeeping is maintaining records of all the financial transactions of a business, including copies of invoices and receipts, bank statements and other paperwork required for accounting.


A break-even point is when the value of your sales and costs are equal, so your business isn’t losing or making money.

Business License

To start your business within a community that has hamlet, village, town or city status, you must get a business license from your local municipal office. While not necessary for all businesses, most new businesses will need to get a business license before they can operate legally within their community.

Business Number

Every business must have its own business number. The numbering system is used to simplify the way a business deals with the federal government.

Business Plan

This is a document that explains the what, why, when, who and how of your business. A good business plan provides an explanation of the opportunity, the people involved and the money required to implement the plan, where it will come from and what financial results are expected. Many banks require a business plan before they will agree to lend money to a business.


Capital can have a number of different meanings. Usually capital refers to access to money (financial capital).

Cash Flow

The amount of cash your business makes and uses during a specific period. A cash flow statement is a financial statement which shows all the cash that your business has received and paid during a period of time.

Client, Clientele

A client is a customer of your business. Clientele refers to a number of customers.


Assets used as security for a loan. If the borrower doesn’t pay back the loan, their assets can be sold to pay it back.

Competitive Advantage

A business has a competitive advantage when it can deliver a better deal than its competitors. The competitive advantage comes from providing better quality and a better price.


A contribution usually refers to government funding for a business. If properly used, it does not have to be repaid.

Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty refers to customers who always buy the same brand or purchase from the same company. If customers receive good service and a quality product they will likely continue to do business with you in the future.


Debt is money you owe. It is the obligation to repay an amount of borrowed money, generally to a bank. On a balance sheet debt is included under liabilities.


Demographics are characteristics of a population. These characteristics can influence what products and services people buy. Important characteristics are age, sex, race, family size, level of education, occupation, income and location of residence.


Electric commerce or e-commerce is the buying, selling, marketing, and servicing of products or services on the Internet.


An entrepreneur is someone who assumes the financial risk of starting and/or managing a business.

Equity Capital

Equity capital is the money that the owner puts into their business when they are just starting the business. This means equity is also the value of your business after liabilities (all the money your business owes) are subtracted.


Expenses are what you spend on business items. Examples are rent, utilities and wages, costs that are part of normal business activities.

Financial Statements

Financial statements show your company’s finances. They provide information on your profits, revenue, costs and the general health of your business. The four principal documents in financial statements are the balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flows and statement of retained earnings. Financial statements are needed to get loans and make management decisions.


Financing means providing money to businesses, consumers or investors to help them achieve their goals. For businesses this money usually comes in the form of a loan or as equity capital.

Fixed Assets

These are long-term assets that cannot easily be sold for cash, such as buildings and machinery.

Fixed Costs

Fixed costs are operating costs that do not change with the amount of business your company does. These costs can include rental costs, utility costs and employee wages.

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The federal goods and services tax is a 5 per cent charge on the sale of all goods and services, except certain necessities like groceries, residential rent and medical services, and services such as financial services.

Gross Profit

This number is used to judge how profitable your business is. It is calculated as total revenue minus the direct costs of providing all your goods sold.


Income is the amount of money your business makes after subtracting all of the costs. Income is also known as earnings.

Income Statement

A financial statement that lists expenses, revenues and income for a given period.

Intellectual Property

The ideas, designs, and creativity you use to make a unique product or service. You can receive legal ownership for these ideas, the same way as you can receive ownership of land.


A charge for money you borrow, usually calculated as a percentage of the amount borrowed. It is the cost of borrowing money.


Inventory is all of your business’ materials, finished items ready for sale, or items that are being made. Inventory is an asset on your company’s balance sheet.


On a balance sheet, liabilities are monies that your business owes. Current liabilities are liabilities which are due within a year, including short-term loans, interest payments and unpaid expenses.

Line of Credit

A line of credit from a bank offers you access to a specific amount of cash at any time, without having to apply for a loan. A line of credit is either unsecured or secured with personal assets. A secured line of credit means lower risk for the bank and a lower interest rate for the borrower.


Loss occurs when the costs of your business are greater than your revenue in a period of time.


Market is the group of customers of a product or service and all the sellers that compete to provide it.


How you make customers aware of your products and services, attract new customers and keep existing customers. Marketing is often done by advertising.

Market Research

Market research is collecting and analyzing information about consumers, competitors and marketing ideas. Market research can help test the ideas of a new business, new products and strategies to improve customer service.

Market Sector

Market sector is all the businesses that are buying and selling similar goods and services; they are all the businesses competing with each other.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategy is your plan to find new customers, increase sales and create a competitive advantage for your business.


A mentor provides their expertise to less experienced individuals in order to help them.


A network is all the people that you can turn to for help. Your network might include professionals, such as lawyers and bankers, and non-professionals, such as your family and friends.

Operating Expense

Operating expenses are the costs of normal business activities, not including the cost of making your goods or providing your service. Examples are administrative and marketing costs.


Output is the amount of goods and services you produce during a period of time.


A form of organizing a business in which two or more persons are owners of a business or commercial enterprise. The partners decide how to share the profits, risks and losses of the business in a partnership contract.


A patent is a government license to an individual or business that gives the right to make, use or sell an invention.


Procurement is paying funds in order to purchase, hire, lease, rent or exchange supplies for your business activities.


Profit is what is left over for you as the owner of a business after all costs have been paid from the revenues of your business. Gross profit is the profit before you pay corporate income taxes. Net profit is the final profit of your business after taxes have been paid.


A receipt is proof of a business transaction and is a record of the value of that transaction.

Request for Proposal (RfP)

A Request for Proposals is an invitation for suppliers, through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific product or service. It requires company information and history, finances, technical capability, estimated completion time and customer references. Request for Proposals are often sent to an approved supplier or vendor list.


The profit made from selling goods.


Revenue is the amount of money that your business makes from selling products and/or services to customers.


Risk is the chance that you may lose the money you invested (your capital). This risk is often called capital risk.


Savings are money you have put aside for future use.

Self Assessment

Judging your own abilities, strengths and weaknesses.


A word, symbol, or design that is legally registered as representing a business or its products and services.

Variable costs

Production costs that change with the amount of goods or services created (the opposite of fixed costs). Wages and materials are usually variable costs, while office space and equipment are fixed costs.

Word of Mouth

Advertising by happy customers who tell other people how much they like your product or service.

Working Capital

Working capital is the cash your business has for day-to-day operations.

Opportunities in Mining Procurement

On this website you will find a map of current mining projects, information on the needs of mining companies at different stages and some examples and lessons learned from women who have done business with mining companies.