As part of the My Main Street Local Business Accelerator, new and existing businesses located in participating communities may apply to receive funding of up to $10,000 as a non-repayable contribution to support starting or growing their business.

New and Existing Business Definition

The definitions for ‘new’ and ‘existing’ businesses are particular to this program and may not align with other definitions used for other programs or business supports. My Main Street defines these terms as follows:
New Business (Start-up)
  1. A brand-new business starting in the participating main street.
  2. A home-based business or business currently in shared space (co-working or commercial kitchen) locating to a retail location (commercial space) in a participating main street community; or
  3. An existing business moving to a participating main street community.
  4. All businesses must be sales-ready at time of funding, with a location in a participating main street community.
Existing Business (Expansion and Recovery)
  1. Any business already operating in the participating main street community.

The funds must be used to cover costs (net HST) related to the following categories:

  • Equipment
    • Includes costs related to the purchase of equipment necessary for the manufacture or creation of products or services to meet the specific objectives as outlined in this application.
  • Leasehold Improvements
    • Costs can include improvements to the business space, installing PPE, or other improvements or updates necessary to improve the customer experience.
  • External Façade Renovations
    • Includes costs such as signage or external façade updates.
  • Inventory
    • Includes costs related to adding new products or services to meet the needs of your customers. Funds cannot be used to replenish existing or ongoing inventory requirements.
  • Technology
    • Includes costs related to secure technology to support business operations including point-of-sales (POS), customer relationship management (CRM) or other software or programming. Funds cannot be used to pay for existing contracts/renewals or on-going IT/website maintenance agreements.
  • Marketing
    • Includes costs related to collateral marketing materials (flyers, brochures, business cards, newspaper ads); electronic marketing materials (websites, social media ads or posts, email campaigns, content articles, blogs or paid online advertising); or other activities (networking, trade shows, sponsorships, editorials, articles, referrals, testimonials, sales promotions, discounts, contests, samples) necessary to get the attention of potential customers and keep current customers engaged with your business and products/services.
  • Lease (for ‘new’ businesses only)
    • Includes costs related to securing a storefront/commercial location (lease costs, utilities deposits and installation/set-up, security systems, etc.).
  • Ineligible Costs
    • Funds cannot be used to cover owner or current employee salaries, software subscription renewals, costs of land, building or vehicle purchases, monthly mortgage, loan and/or rent payments, business losses, fines or penalties, ongoing fees or licensing costs, any costs related to litigation or non-compliance, or to pay for any expenses committed or dated prior to the signed non-repayable contribution agreement.

Application Requirements

The My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program is based on assisting main street businesses by providing direct business support, training, customized marketing research, data analysis and non-repayable funding contributions. Submission of an application is not a guarantee of funding.

Market research report completed and reviewed with Main Street Ambassador.

Applicants are required to complete and submit the following:

  2. COMPLETED PLAN (as attachment):
    • Copies of Business Registration (Letters of Incorporation, Partnership Agreement, Master Business License)
    • Verification of Commercial Property Taxes (copy of a Commercial Tax Bill or Lease Agreement highlighting its inclusion in the rent)
    • Storefront Photo (high-resolution photo of your storefront)
For assistance in completing your application, please view Application Resources and Frequently Asked Questions.

To be eligible for consideration, all businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Be physically located in a participating main street community at the time of funding.
  • Be open to the public for walk-in and on-site purchase of goods or services; or be ready to open at time of funding (within COVID protocols).
  • Be an independent local business with under 10 employees (25 if a restaurant).
  • Pay commercial property tax (commercially assessed) either directly or through commercial rent.
  • Be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, co-operative, or social enterprise.
  • Have a business bank account in the registered name of the business.
  • Be owned by an Ontario resident, operating in Ontario.
  • Be owned by a person 18 years of age or older at the time of application and be a Canadian resident or permanent resident.
  • Submit only one (1) application per business (includes businesses with multiple locations or owners with multiple businesses).
  • Have completed and reviewed a market research report provided by My Main Street prior to applying. Apply here to receive a market research report for your business.

Ineligible Businesses

The following types of businesses will be ineligible for consideration:

  • Distributorships or franchises, including those independently owned and operated.
  • Businesses operating within shared workspaces such as a hot desk or dedicated desks.
  • Businesses that are purely online, multi-level marketing or pay-per-click.
  • Part-time or seasonal businesses.
  • Government-owned entities or social service providers.

Priority will be given to applicants of equity-seeking groups, including Francophone, women, Indigenous, racialized groups, Black communities, newcomers, immigrants and refugees, youth (39 and under), people living with disabilities or 2SLGBTQ+.

Download the application guide and complete the eligibility questionnaire for the program.

Click on the Eligibility Tool tab to find out if your business qualifies to receive a no-cost market research report.