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Business Start Program (MB)

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The Business Start Program (BSP) is a loan guarantee program offered by the Government of Manitoba to assist entrepreneurs in starting and growing new businesses.


The Business Start Program (BSP) provides loans to new owner-managed businesses through participating financial institutions and guaranteed by the Manitoba Government. Loans to new owner-managed businesses are provided through participating financial institutions and guaranteed by the Manitoba government. The five-year term loan is a $30,000 maximum amount with an interest rate of prime plus one percent and a one-year deferral of principal repayment. Loan proceeds can provide funds for business registration or incorporation costs, equipment and inventory purchases, promotional costs and working capital needs.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must

  1. be a Manitoba resident, age 18 or over, and eligible to work in Canada.
  2. develop a sound business plan.
  3. contribute equity equal to 40% of the loan amount requested. The equity contribution can be cash or assets for use in the business that have been purchased in the last six months.
  4. not have owned a similar business in the past 12 months.
  5. be approved by a participating financial institution after applicant credit rating and debt capacity are reviewed.

New businesses must

  1. be operated in Manitoba.
  2. be a business created for the purpose of making a profit.
  3. not have operations in any of these categories: financial services, insurance, real estate services, professional services and primary production (oil and gas, pulp production, mining or farming).
  4. be starting up or have been operating less than 12 months before the date of application. A part-time business expanding to full-time is also eligible provided net income from part-time operations was less than $15,000 in the last 12 months.
  5. employ the applicant for a minimum of 20 hours per week on average.
  6. meet the program’s small business definition of less than 20 employees and less than $2 million per year in gross sales (both criteria have to be met in year one).
  7. be a business that is substantially different from other businesses operated in Manitoba in the same market area by an associate (spouse, common-law partner, parent or child) of the applicant.
  8. be reputable and appropriate in nature.

Note: If you buy an existing business it is not considered a new business. You must start a new business.

Educational Component

Applicants to the program must demonstrate that they have received basic business training in the areas of:

- business plans and business planning,
- understanding financial statements, and
- small business marketing.

Seminars on these topics are offered by a variety of service providers throughout Manitoba.  For a listing of business service delivery organizations, visit our Education Options page.

How to Apply

  1. Business Start Loans are administered by participating financial institutions. Participating financial institutions are banks and credit unions in Manitoba.
  2. Lenders at participating institutions will receive and evaluate the application for a Business Start Loan. An administrative fee of $250 will be charged to successful applicants only.
  3. Apply for a Business Start Loan by directly contacting a participating lender. A formal business plan must be submitted with the Business Start Loan application.

Participating Financial Institutions (as of September 2018)

  1. Business Development Bank of Canada
  2. Royal Bank
  3. Access Credit Union
  4. Assiniboine Credit Union
  5. Caisse Group Financial
  6. Casera Credit Union
  7. Catalyst Credit Union
  8. Crosstown Civic Credit Union
  9. Niverville Credit Union
  10. Noventis Credit Union
  11. Portage Credit Union
  12. Prairie Mountain Credit Union
  13. Steinbach Credit Union
  14. Strathclair Credit Union
  15. Sunrise Credit Union
  16. Swan Valley Credit Union
  17. Vanguard Credit Union
  18. Westoba Credit Union

Forms for Lenders

The following documents are for Lenders who receive an application for a Business Start Loan:


Manitoba Business Start Program
Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade
Phone: 204-945-8200
Fax: 204-948-1558
Email: EMBinfo@gov.mb.ca