Team STC is committed to helping entrepreneurs in St. Catharines access tools, programs and funding opportunities to support and enhance their businesses.
Support for Businesses
2024 Experience Ontario Program
Applications are open for the Ontario government’s 2024 Experience Ontario program, offering funding for eligible in-person festivals scheduled between April 1, 2024, and March 31, 2025.
The Experience Ontario 2024 program supports in-person festivals and events in our province that:
- offer programming encouraging people to travel, experience events in person and celebrate Ontario
- draw tourists and increase visitor spending through innovative programming in partnership with businesses and community partners
- provide job opportunities for Ontarians in the tourism, culture and entertainment sectors
increase Ontario’s profile through various media channels
Applications must be submitted by Thursday, January 11, 2024 at 5 p.m.
Canada Digital Adoption Program
How Canadians do business has changed. To stay competitive and grow, small and medium-sized businesses need to adopt new digital tools.
The new Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP), which will provide $4 billion over four years to support up to 160,000 small businesses and create good middle-class jobs across the country, including thousands of jobs for young Canadians.
Under the CDAP, Canadian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to assess their digital readiness and apply for grants and loans online. This funding will help them: leverage e-commerce opportunities, upgrade or adopt digital technologies, and digitize their operations to stay competitive and meet their customers’ needs in the digital marketplace.
- Grow Your Business Online
Apply for a micro-grant and access e-commerce advisors to help you go digital and take advantage of e-commerce opportunities.
- Boost Your Business Technology
Apply for a grant to help you develop a digital plan, and leverage funded work placements to help with your digital transformation.
- Grow Your Business Online
Canada Summer Jobs Wage Subsidy Program
Apply now for the Canada Summer Jobs wage subsidy help creating quality summer work experiences for young people aged 15 to 30 years.
The Government of Canada program provides wage subsidies to employers from not-for-profit organizations and the public sector, as well as private sector organizations with 50 or fewer full-time employees.
Canada Summer Jobs is a program under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, which aims to provide flexible and holistic services to help all young Canadians develop the skills and gain paid work experience to successfully transition into the labour market. The earliest job start date is April 22, 2024. The latest job start date is July 22, 2024. The latest job end date is August 31, 2024.
Applications are due by January 10, 2024.
My Main Street
My Main Street is a $15-million investment to foster the stabilization and revitalization of main streets across southern Ontario. The program will offer streamlined direct-to-business supports and complementary programming for community projects that will encourage growth and economic prosperity. There are two streams for the program:
The My Main Street Business Sustainability stream will provide non-repayable contributions for businesses located on main streets across southern Ontario that provide a business case on how the funding will strengthen their existing capacity and support growth. Funding will be made available to businesses that employ between 1 and 50 staff, have demonstrated revenue growth, and provide a business case on how the funding will strengthen their existing capacity and support their growth. Applications open February 22, 2024 and close March 31, 2024.
The My Main Street Community Activator stream will support local, high-impact placemaking projects including events and festivals, community enhancements, and streetscape improvements designed to draw visitors and increase local vibrancy. Funding will be allocated to provide non-repayable contributions up to $250,000 to support community not-for-profit projects. Applications open February 22, 2024 and close March 31, 2024.
For more information and applications, please visit: https://mymainstreet.ca/
Propel Student Work Placement Program
Aimed squarely at the tourism and hospitality sector, the Propel Student Work Placement Program is helping the hardest-hit sector recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.
Funded by the Government of Canada’s Student Work Placement Program, Propel offers post-secondary students opportunities to develop the work-ready skills required to secure meaningful employment upon graduation. Propel offers registered Canadian businesses, startups, and not-for-profits related to the tourism and hospitality sector a subsidy on each qualifying student’s wages.
The wage subsidy is available for employers who hire students enrolled at a recognized post-secondary institution for a paid position to fulfil the co-op or internship component of their program. The wage subsidy can be accessed by businesses from all facets of the visitor economy: accommodations, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment, transportation, and travel services.
How Does It Work?
Employers register on the Propel online portal, post the position they wish to fill, hire a student, and then apply for a wage subsidy.
The goal is to accelerate the integration of new graduates with high-growth job prospects, as well as foster improved and sustainable partnerships between employers and the post-secondary education system.
RAISE 2.0 Grant Program
Apply for the Ontario government’s Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) 2.0 grant program.
RAISE provides access to business development training, culturally responsive and tailored business coaching, networking opportunities, and a one-time grant of $10,000 to support Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs.
Applications closed on December 8, 2023 at 11:59 p.m.
Tourism Growth Program
Applications are open for the Government of Canada's Tourism Growth Program. Delivered by FedDev Ontario, the Tourism Growth Program provides $108 million over 3 years to support communities, small- and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organizations in developing local tourism products and experiences.
The program supports communities, small- and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organizations to grow and develop local tourism projects that will position Canada as a destination of choice for domestic and international travellers. Funding is project-based and must result in incremental and measurable outcomes and add value to the existing activities already being undertaken by the applicant. Applicants can request up to a maximum of $250,000 per project. Exceptions may apply.
- Incorporated small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the tourism industry
- Indigenous-owned businesses (including Indigenous sole proprietors) or Indigenous tourism organizations
- Not-for-profit organizations (including tourism associations and economic development organizations)
- Governments (municipal/provincial/territorial and related entities)
Businesses or organizations who are not primarily focused on the tourism industry or whose services are not primarily for public use or benefit are normally not eligible applicants. This includes those in the following industries:
- restaurants / food services
- hotel chains
- retail sector
- private leisure facilities/event venues
FedDev Ontario may prioritize funding to projects that focus on one or more of the following program priorities:
- supporting the Indigenous tourism industry
- increasing tourism benefits for communities by driving visitation from urban areas to rural areas
- supporting economic, environmental and cultural sustainability
- supporting active outdoor experiences (e.g., projects that provide more opportunities for physically active tourism offerings such as rock-climbing, trails, watersports, etc.)
- extending the tourism season (e.g., projects that promote and/or develop product, services or experiences with an aim of increasing tourism activity outside the traditional high season or extending their services year-round)
- complement support provided through provincial programs
Submit applications by February 29, 2024, at 8:59 p.m. Early applications strongly encouraged.
Tourism Workforce and Sustainability Program
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) is now accepting applications for the Tourism Workforce & Sustainability (TWSP) program - a program designed to build a truly sustainable workforce by introducing tangible tools, including Ontario Living Wage top-ups, to attract and retain workers from underrepresented groups: BIPOC (black, Indigenous, person of colour), Indigenous Peoples, Justice Involved Individuals, New Canadians, Persons with Disabilities, Racialized Groups, Women, & Youth (15-29).
The Tourism Workforce Sustainability Program aims to expand and diversify Ontario’s tourism workforce while helping employers retain employees for the long-term sustainability of their businesses and the industry. TIAO will support employers in attracting and retaining 200 new tourism employees across the province. All tourism industry employers and positions are eligible. Employees in the program will also have access to unique mentorship opportunities to support their individual lifestyle and career goals.
Who is eligible?
Employers who register for the program will receive tools and support to fill vacant positions, targeting job-seekers from new, diverse and inclusive labour pools. Once an eligible person is hired, participating employers will:
- Offer the new hire a roadmap to career advancement as a guide, (template is available)*
- Pay the Ontario Living Wage applicable in the region (the gap between the historic wage for the position and the Ontario Living Wage will be reimbursed by TIAO for 6 months, and we also accept applicants that are only hiring seasonally; additional financial support is available in limited quantity for Indigenous employees through the Three Fires program)*
- Offer access to skills development and training resources offered through the program by OTEC and other TIAO partners
- Participate in financial coaching and training to build the capacity to sustain higher wages in the long term
The Intake period for employers is now open.
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