The Business Sustainability stream will provide up to $6.5 million of non-repayable contributions up to $20,000 in direct-to-business funding to support productivity enhancements for brick-and-mortar businesses located on main streets across southern Ontario.

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.

The Business Sustainability stream is open for applications between February 22 and March 31, 2024.

In addition, businesses within each of the participating communities have access to a range of supports.

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Market Research

Local businesses have access to customized market research reports to assist them in understanding their customers and growing their business.

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Business Opportunities

Based on market data collected from each community, new business opportunities will be identified for local entrepreneurs to explore and initiate.

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Business Training

Local businesses can access a range of on-demand and live virtual training sessions to support their operations.

The My Main Street Business Sustainability Stream focuses on the following pillars:


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Customized Data, Market
Research and Analysis

My Main Street focuses on the impact of deep data analysis and market research into a main street community to understand demographics and market gaps, and to identify growth opportunities for new and existing businesses.

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Community Economic
Development

My Main Street focuses on the principle that investing in local main streets should create and retain wealth in the community by ensuring residents benefit from the economic opportunities available along their main street.

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Prioritizing Equity
Deserving Groups

My Main Street seeks to prioritize equity-deserving groups and historically marginalized communities through all aspects of program delivery to encourage local economic opportunities to diversify local main streets.

Eligibility

Depending on the type of business applying, there are additional eligibility criteria; however, the following provides an overview of the program criteria that applies to each applicant:
  • Must be located within southern Ontario. The full list of eligible regions surrounding municipalities can be found here.
  • Must be a business with a bricks-and-mortar location.
  • Must be located on a main street.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who have not previously received funding through the My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program.
  • Is owned by an Ontario resident operating a business in Ontario who is:
    • 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
    • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Is employing 1 to 50 employees.
  • Is paying commercial property tax (commercially assessed), either directly or through commercial rent.
  • Is a registered business.
  • Is open to the public for walk-in and onsite purchases of goods and services.
  • Is not a franchise, including those individually owned and operated.
  • Is not in a shared workspace such as a hot desk or dedicated desk.
  • Is not a consulting or professional services company.
  • Is not purely an online business.
  • Has completed the online application.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who are members of equity-seeking groups, including Francophone, women, Indigenous, racialized groups, Black communities, newcomers, youth (39 and under), people living with disabilities, Trans, Non-binary and 2SLGBQIA+.
  • Priority will be given to applicants who have not previously received funding through the My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program.

Eligible Expenses

Non-repayable contributions can be used to cover a range of eligible expenses, including:
  • Bricks-and-Mortar Startup Costs (for businesses located at their address under 1 year)
    • Equipment
    • Lease (e.g., initial lease costs)
    • Leasehold improvements (e.g., improvements to the business space, etc.)
    • External façade renovations (e.g., signage or external façade updates)
    • Inventory (e.g., purchasing inventory)
    • Marketing
    • Technology (e.g., securing tech to support business operations)
  • Business Expansion Costs
    • Equipment
    • Leasehold improvements (e.g., improvements to the business space, etc.)
    • External façade renovations (e.g., signage or external façade updates)
    • Inventory (e.g., purchasing inventory)
    • Marketing
    • Technology (e.g., securing tech to support business operations, such POS, CRM or other systems)

Review the Applicant Guide for ineligible expenses or contact us at business@mymainstreet.ca.

Evaluation

Applications will be assessed based on the following criteria, in relation to their identified business need:
  • Business model overview
  • Proposed use of funds
  • Goals and objectives of proposal and how they will be measured
  • Impact on the main street
  • Improvements to business productivity
  • Impact on increasing jobs
  • Innovation
  • Project impact on business sustainability and long-term business strategy
  • Capacity and resource analysis

Once applications have been scored, they will be assessed for equitable regional distribution, rural distribution, and distribution to traditional underrepresented and equity-deserving groups.

How to Apply

  1. Determine if you are located on an identified main street. There are approximately 5300 main streets identified across southern Ontario. Your business is eligible if your project exists within 100m of the main street.
  2. Determine your businesses eligibility; all eligibility criteria is listed in the Applicant Guide.
  3. Review the eligible expenses list to see if your project is eligible for funding; all eligible expenses are listed in the Applicant Guide. (Requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to fill.)
  4. Download and prepare your Application Form.
  5. Fill out, save and submit the submission form with all of the required documents by clicking Apply Now below.

Documents you will need to provide:

  • Completed Application Form
  • Copies of Business Registration
    (Letters of Incorporation, Partnership Agreement, or 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)

Note:

PDF Forms will no longer work with older versions of Adobe Reader including Adobe Reader XI. Please update your free Adobe Reader to the latest version from the Acrobat Reader download page so that you can continue to access these forms.

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If you have any further questions about the Business Sustainability stream, we encourage you to contact us.

PARTNERS

My Main Street is operated by the Canadian Urban Institute and funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.


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