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Services For Startup Businesses

The St. Catharines Enterprise Centre (SCEC) provides the information, resources and tools that entrepreneurs need to launch and grow their startup businesses.

Contact the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre

If you're a motivated entrepreneur with a great idea, let the SCEC help you take that next step in making your dream a reality!

The Enterprise Centre is a unique partnership between Ontario's Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and the City of St. Catharines' Economic Development and Tourism Services department (EDTS). The office is part of a network of over 47 similar Small Business Enterprise Centres including an office in Niagara Falls, and a wide variety of business support services.

The SCEC provides guidance and support to small business startups and is a proud community partner for Ontario’s Summer Company and Starter Company Plus programs.

Located in the heart of Downtown St. Catharines, the SCEC works closely with entrepreneurs with the goal of helping more businesses start and succeed.
St Catharines Enterprise Centre, Downtown Business Development

SCEC Support & Services

  • Steps to Starting a Small Business
  • Informational Seminars and Workshops
  • Business Plan Guidance
  • Marketing Plan Assistance
  • Networking Opportunities
  • Summer Company and Starter Company Plus Programs
  • Funding Information
  • Information on Permits and Licensing
  • One-on-One Consultations
  • And much more

Become a Client

SCEC clients typically start by attending our seminars and workshops. At these sessions they start to work with the SCEC team and enjoy networking opportunities with other aspiring business owners.

Once our clients have attended seminars, there is the opportunity for one-to-one consultations with the SCEC team. These consultations are often focused on business plan development and questions that may not have been covered in seminars.

To access our services complete the New Client Form. We will be in touch within two business days upon receipt of your information.

Have in inquiry? You can reach us at enterprisecentre@stcatharines.ca or by calling 905.688.5601 ext. 1767. 

Training and Seminars

  • Details

    Pre-registration is required. Seminars are subject to change. Click here to view a list of upcoming webinars and to register.
     

    Steps to Starting a Small Business

    This is our most popular session and one that's likely to answer many of the questions you have about getting your new business started.

    We will provide a review of the rules and regulations surrounding your small business start-up in Niagara. Some of the topics covered include: licensing & permits, form of business (Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation), name registration, basics of taxation, sources of financing, and more.


    Creating Your Business Model

    Interested to know if your business idea makes sense? For ideas to turn into real business, you need to know the value of your idea. This seminar is a great place to start testing that.

    In this session we introduce you to the Business Model Canvas™ to help you evaluate your idea and the value you intend to provide. You will gain a thorough understanding of this to use this tool as a new and existing businesses to help guide your strategies and discussions around new growth opportunities.

    Through the completion of the sections of the canvas, you will start to formulate your business idea in a very visual way. From here, this tool can help you test the idea and understand what the next steps are to move forward.


    Market Research

    During this session we will discuss how market research is used to analyze the marketplace, the market's response to your product or service and the effectiveness of your advertising.

    We will then work to understand how the results of your market research can influence the strategic planning of your business.

     
    Marketing 101

    This seminar will assist entrepreneurs in understanding how to effectively market their product/service by applying the "4 Ps of Marketing".

    Attendees will learn to utilize this strategy to create a sales and marketing strategy. Your business will be better equipped to identify your target market, create best practices for promotion and understand how this direction can be used to increase your sales.

     
    Business Plan & Cash Flow Forecasting

    Most successful businesses are guided by great leaders executing a well-written business plan. Business plans can provide countless benefits beyond just applying for financing. They provide vision and guidance while you launch and run your company, and allow you to be focused on your goals even while working on day-to-day operations.

    This sessions will help participants understand the basic layout of a business plan, including an overview of requirements and recommendations of each section. You will also be provided with a business planning template to use when creating your own.

    Cash flow statement is a major financial statement used to track the flow of money into and out of a business during a particular period. These projections are used by businesses in order to evaluate how the company obtains and spends cash, what the future cash requirements of the business might be, and whether the company generates enough cash from operation to sustain the business and pay off debts.

    In this last half hour of the webinar we introduce you to a cash flow forecasting template. You will get training on how to complete this template and where to look for the information you need to complete it.

Programs

  • Summer Company & Starter Company Plus

    Summer Company

    Summer Company is a program for youth who are in school and planning to start a business. The program includes business training, guidance from the SCEC, mentoring, and a grant of up to $3,000.

    Applications for Summer Company are NOW OPEN! Deadline to apply is May 23, 2021.

    Submit application here

    Starter Company Plus

    Starter Company Plus is a training and mentorship program for businesses less than one year in age or micro businesses ready to go full time. This program offers training in business planning, marketing, and financials.

    Mentorship is available for eligible program participants and grants of up to $5,000 are available. Full eligibility will be discussed at an intake session with the SCEC.

    Eligibility Includes:

    • Must be 18 years of age or older;
    • Prepared to commit to a minimum average of 35 hours per week to run the business;
    • Do not have full-time employment or studies outside of the business more than 12 hours per week;
    • Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident;
    • Fully responsible for the on-going operation of the business and are the majority owner (50 per cent or more); and
      Be able to show investment in the business of at least $1,250.


    Business Eligibility:

    The proposed business is a new start-up, less than one-year old, or a newly purchased business and:

    • is located in Niagara Region;
    • is an independent business venture;
    • is a legal business in Ontario;
    • operates at arms-length from family business ventures;
    • operates at full-time as defined in the business plan;
    • maintains its own books and records;
    • maintains a separate business bank account; and
    • follows all government rules and regulations and applicable by-laws for the operation of the business


    Non-eligible businesses:

    • 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.


    Application Process:

    • Asses your eligibility to participate in the program
    • Complete the intake form
    • Meet with SCEC to complete an intake meeting
    • If eligible, you will be asked to register for and attend a minimum of 12 hours of training
    • Develop a business plan with guidance from the SCEC

    The complete application process will be discussed in an intake session with the SCEC. Those that successfully complete the training and meet all requirements will be invited to apply for the grant.


    Program Requirements:

    • All training must be completed.
    • All documentation requested must be provided
    • Proof of personal contribution at least $1250
    • A business plan, start-up budget and financial forecast must be completed, to the satisfaction of the SCEC, before being considered by the Grant Committee.
    • Grant recipients will be required to participate in the program for a minimum of three months for additional mentoring, support and reporting.
    • An exit interview must be completed

    Starter Company Plus is competitive in nature and there is no guarantee a grant will be awarded.

    Full eligibility and program details will be discussed at an intake session with the SCEC.

    This program is delivered by the SCEC and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Growth. There are a limited number of grants available.

    Complete the Starter Company Plus Intake Form to get started. Once completed, save and send the form to enterprisecentre@stcatharines.ca

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

    The SCEC 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.

    Download Application here - CLOSED OCTOBER 9, 2020

Contact Us

  • Let's Connect

    Office Location:

    St. Catharines Enterprise Centre
    14 Ontario Street
    St. Catharines, ON
    L2R 7M3

    Ph: 905.688.5601 x1767
    Fax: 905.685.0611
    TTY: 905.688.4TTY (4889)

    Email the Enterprise Centre

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(905) 688-5601