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Start, Manage and Grow Your Business in Halton Region

 

Whether you’re exploring ideas for a business or trying to grow your business, the Halton Region Small Business Centre can help.

Phase 1: Starting a small business

Readiness to Start

Starting a business can be an exciting and uncertain experience. Make sure you’re ready! Before you take the first step, try a free entrepreneurial potential self-assessment (external link) to determine if you have what it takes to become a business owner.

Whether you’re exploring ideas for a business or taking the first steps of entrepreneurship, the Halton Region Small Business Centre has the programs, services and resources to help you successfully start your business. Our consultation services, programs, events and information sessions, resource centre, online and printed materials can all help you build a successful small business.

Support from HRSBC

Our knowledgeable business consultants can help you get your business moving in the right direction! The Halton Region Small Business Centre offers two programs for entrepreneurs and small business owners looking for a free consultation.

  • Step 1: The Consultant on Site Program connects business owners and entrepreneurs with a business consultant at one of four locations in Halton. Get help with research, marketing plans, government regulations or any other questions you have about your business. Book now for your FREE one-hour consultation!
    • In Halton Hills, Milton or Halton Regional office-Oakville please contact:
      Halton Region, Small Business Centre
      905-825-6000 ext. 7900
    • To set up your appointment through HMC please contact:
      Halton Multicultural Council
      905-842-2486
  • Step 2: The Access to Professional Program can connect you with a local professional for a free 45-minute consultation. Professionals in our group include lawyers, accountants, marketing, e-business experts and business coaches.
    • Ask about accessing this program
  • Please note to participate in the program you must first book a meeting with a business consultant. Contact the 905.825.6000 ext. 7900 to book your consultation.

Market research

Before starting a small business, it is good practice to research the marketplace, your competition, your customers and the products or services you intend to sell. Learn how to conduct a formal market research campaign to save your business time and money and improve your decision-making process.

The Halton Region Small Business Centre resource area is an excellent starting point you’re your market research activities. Open to the public Monday to Friday, our resource area offers a diverse selection of market, socio-economic and demographic information. Available resources include:

  • Work stations with Internet access, Microsoft Office, statistical directories and business planning software.
  • An up-to-date reference and lending library with books, access to Halton Data Centre, market research databases and government publications on a variety of business topics.
  • Access to friendly and knowledgeable small business staff who can help you find the information you need.
  • Online access to business permits and licenses through BizPaL & Service Ontario (external link), a collaboration between the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Business structure

Determining what business structure is an important part of your business.

Your and/or your partners must choose from the following:

  • Sole Proprietor 
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership
  • Corporation

Business registration

To register or renew a sole proprietorship, general partnership or corporate style name:

  1. Visit the ServiceOntario website (external link).
  2. Under the business heading, select the search, register and renew business names subheading to get the process started.

To incorporate your business:

  1. Download the Starting a Corporation Checklist

To incorporate federally :

  1. Visit nuans.com to perform a Corporation Name Search.
  2. Visit serviceontario.ca for Articles of Incorporation.

To incorporate provincially:

  1. Visit nuans.com to perform an Ontario based service provider.
  2. Visit serviceontario.ca for Articles of Incorporation.
  3. Visit ServiceOntario’s central source for information on not-for-profits and charities.

Start-up guides and templates

Our online Toolbox offers entrepreneurs and small business owners a wide selection of business resources and information.

View the Toolbox and access start-up guides, checklists, and templates that can help you launch a successful small business.

Innovation

Innovation in business can be what separates you from the competition! Some entrepreneurs have an innovative management style; others sell innovative products and services. These resources and services may be helpful for those looking to get an innovative idea from the drawing board into development:

  • Canada Business Ontario (CBO) (external link): Resources and financial support for technology and innovation businesses in Ontario
  • HalTech (external link): Help technology entrepreneurs and companies to develop and transform their good ideas and product innovations into well positioned, growing ventures.
  • Milton Education Village Innovation Centre (external link): The Milton Education Village Innovation Centre is an initiative ecosystem dedicated to enabling an entrepreneurial culture for business growth, start-ups, incubation, intersection for innovation, education and training. The vision for the Centre includes four core services and features: collaborative space, acceleration/incubation, business services, and education and training.
  • Techplace (external link): TechPlace is where new and growing technology companies get everything they need to grow and succeed. It doesn’t matter if your company is new or established, headquartered in Burlington or not so local. If innovation is your goal, and technology is your strategy, TechPlace is for you.

Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (external link) came into force in 2005 and sets out a clear goal and timeframe to make Ontario accessible by 2025.

Every organization with one or more employees is required to comply with the Act and all of its applicable standards. The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario is committed to the implementation of the Act and helping organizations comply with the standards by providing free tools and resources (external link) and offering support through a dedicated help desk.

Since January 1, 2004, businesses have been subject to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (external link) offers useful information to help businesses learn how the can comply with the Act.

Phase 2: Managing your small business

Taxes and financial statements

There are tax topics that every small business owner and entrepreneur should know about. The following resources provide a good starting point for business owners:

Day-to-day operations

Managing the day-to-day activities of your business can keep you very busy. Learn how to cope with the challenges and improve quality, increase productivity and maximize business potential.

Marketing

How well you market your business and interact with your customers can influence your success. You want your products and services to be at the forefront of your customers' minds and there are some key things you can do to make sure that happens:

The Halton Region Small Business Centre – Resource Area has an up-to-date reference and lending library which is furnished with publications on a variety of business topics, including marketing. You may borrow many of the books or review materials on site.

E-business

These days, you may need to do a lot more than just putting up a website for your business. You might need to be effective in the use of computer and Internet technologies to facilitate doing business. Review the following online resources to learn more about how e-business can help your company:

Renewing business licences and permits

To renew a Master Business Licence for a sole proprietorship, general partnership, or business name under a corporation:

  1. Visit the ServiceOntario (external link) website.
  2. Select Business from the Topics menu on the right side of the page.
  3. Select Search, register, renew your business and get a Master Business Licence from the list of Featured Online Services.

To access business permits and licenses online, visit BizPaL & ONe-Source for Business (external link), a collaborative effort between the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

Halton Region’s Starting a New Business Checklist provides additional access to business licenses or permits.

Business support and networking

Hoping to network with other Halton region businesses or receive valuable business support? View our list of Halton Business Networking Groups for details on local BIAs, Chambers of Commerce and other organizations offering support or networking opportunities:

Halton Region Business Networking Groups

    • Phase 3: Growing your small business

      Human Resources

      Your workforce is vital to the growth and success of your small business. Learn about your roles and obligations as an employer!

      Financing

      You could be looking for financing opportunities for your business. We can point you towards your options!

      • The Royal Bank of Canada works with more small business owners than any other financial institution in Canada, and their small business advisors will work with you to help you achieve success as you grow your business. They offer an online Starting a Business Resource Centre (external link).
      • The Canada Small Business Financing Program (external link) has been helping small businesses with their financing needs for over 50 years. Under the program, the Government of Canada makes it easier for small businesses to get loans from financial institutions by sharing the risk with lenders.
      • The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) (external link) plays a leadership role in delivering financial, investment and consulting services to Canadian small and medium-sized businesses. These services complement those of private sector financial institutions.

      Exporting

      Exporting is the sale of goods or services from Canada to any other country. Learn how selling your products and services internationally can help you to expand your business:

      Importing

      A highly regulated process in Canada, importing—the purchasing of commercial products from another country—can be a lucrative way to grow your business. The Canada Border Services Agency (external link) enforces import and border regulations.

      Intellectual Property (IP)

      Intellectual Property (IP) is the legal right to an idea, invention or creation. Some common types of IP include patents, trademarks and copyright.

      Across the Lifespan

      Accessibility for Ontarians with disabilities

      Ontario’s Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (external link) came into force in 2005. It sets out a clear goal and timeframe to make Ontario accessible by 2025.

      Every organization with one or more employees is required to comply with the Act and all of its applicable standards. The Accessibility Directorate of Ontario is committed to the implementation of the Act and helping organizations comply with the standards by providing free tools and resources (external link) and offering support through a dedicated help desk.

      Privacy legislation in Canada

      Since January 1, 2004, businesses have been subject to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (external link) offers useful information to help businesses learn how the can comply with the Act

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