As a mid-sized city, London is a great place to start your own business, or invest in an existing business. In many cases, various agencies provide free support for start-ups. While funding is never guaranteed, you can apply for a loan or grant program based on advice from professionals who have been through the process themselves.
Thinking About Starting a Business?
City of London Resources
City of London Business Supports is the City of London’s page for resources related to new business applications, permits, and licensing requirements, which includes a link to the BizPal Online Business Permits and Licensing tool.
BizPaL provides entrepreneurs access to information about business permits, licences and other requirements needed to start, operate and grow their business from the federal, provincial/territorial and participating municipal governments. This page also includes information about business development areas in London, which are specific parts of the city focused on creating opportunities for new businesses.
The Service London Business Website is the City of London’s online resource for starting a business. The site provides a step by step checklist to starting your business, as well as resources for help with each step of the process.
Organizations offering advice and support to help start a new business in London, ON
The London Small Business Centre (SBC) has tools and resources to help you explore your idea, decide if it’s the right choice for you, and do the research and planning to make your business a reality. Some of SBC’s programs include topics such as: starting a company, self-employment, and specialized programs for starting companies in the trades sector and food production sectors. For more information specific to your business idea, you can book a personal consultation with a member of their team.
London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) celebrates and supports small business owners and is working hard to build a strong and resilient business growth ecosystem where founders and growth companies can find support, practical advice, and insightful mentorship. LEDC provides scale-up support services to founders of growing businesses in London’s key sectors. View the LEDC newsletter for more information.
TechAlliance launches new startups and accelerates growth for established tech companies, while attracting the next generation of tech talent in Southwestern Ontario.
The London Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to lead and serve the London business community.
The Propel Entrepreneurship Centre at Western University provides co-working spaces, seed funding and world-class mentorships, and also hosts training programs, events and workshops for start-ups at all levels. Propel also has a Summer Incubator program (PSI) for the region’s most promising entrepreneurs.
Leap Junction is Fanshawe College’s entrepreneurship centre, which provides one-on-one consultations, opportunities for networking and workshops for any student or alumni interested in exploring entrepreneurship. Additionally, they provide a summer incubator program that focuses on business-growth and in-depth education.
La Societe Economique de l’Ontario (SÉO) engages all partners of the Francophone and bilingual community to provide assistance for entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs through personalized coaching, networking events, entrepreneurial resources and financing support.
Starting a business in Ontario for newcomers and immigrants
Several organizations at the provincial and federal levels work specifically with immigrants to help them start a new business or buy an existing Canadian business. Some of these programs can also contribute towards an immigrant’s application for permanent residency and/or citizenship.
The Entrepreneur Stream of the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) allows immigrants to get their permanent residency by starting or buying an Ontario-based business. Once the business is established, entrepreneurs are able to be nominated for permanent residency. There are specific financial and operational requirements for businesses to be eligible for this program. Learn more about how to apply for the OINP here.
The Start-up Visa Program run by the Government of Canada gives the opportunity for entrepreneurs to immigrate to Canada to start a new business. Global Skills Strategy is a related program that allows certain highly-qualified individuals to get a work permit processed in only two weeks. Visit each website to understand eligibility regarding language-testing requirements, job categories, and more.