Business Start Program (MB)

Last Verified:

The Business Start Program is a loan guarantee program with an educational component. Loans to new owner-managed businesses are provided through participating financial institutions and guaranteed by the Manitoba government.


Business Start Program (MB)

Entrepreneurship Manitoba

The Business Start Program is a loan guarantee program with an educational component. 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. complete a three-day Business Planning Workshop before loan funds will be disbursed.
    (The workshop must be completed in the five year period prior to the loan application date).
  4. 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.
  5. not have owned a similar business in the past 12 months.
  6. 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

The three-day Business Planning Workshop is designed for those who are considering starting and operating a new business in Manitoba. Topics covered include business plans, financing options, forms of business organizations, financial statements, PST/RST, GST and employee deductions, product definition and marketing strategies. To register for this workshop, visit our events and seminars page. For more information, please call 204-945-8200 in Winnipeg or toll free 1-855-837-7250.

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.
  4. A workshop certificate is issued to all participants completing the three-day Business Planning Workshop. This certificate must be submitted with your Business Start Loan application.

Participating Financial Institutions (as of March 2016):

Business Development Bank of Canada
Royal Bank
TD Canada Trust
Access Credit Union
Assiniboine Credit Union
Belgian-Alliance Credit Union
Caisse Group Financial
Casera Credit Union
Catalyst Credit Union
Crosstown Civic Credit Union
Niverville Credit Union
Noventis Credit Union
Portage Credit Union
Prairie Mountain Credit Union
Steinbach Credit Union
Strathclair Credit Union
Sunrise Credit Union
Swan Valley Credit Union
Vanguard Credit Union
Westoba Credit Union


Manitoba Business Start Program
Entrepreneurship Manitoba
Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade
250 – 240 Graham Ave.
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0J7
Phone: 204-945-8200
Toll free: 1-855-836-7250
Fax: 204-948-1558