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Guide to Small Business Grants in Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon

If you operate or are looking to start a small business in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, or the Yukon, and are in need of financial assistance, then a grant could work for your financial needs. Whether you’re looking for government support for small businesses, or funding for business start-ups, this grant guide can help you.

This Northern Canadian grants guide will explore small business funding opportunities, including NWT grants, Yukon grants, and Nunavut grants, to help companies and business start-ups find the financial support it needs.

Looking for another province your business operates in? Check out all provincial grants guides here.

Applying for Grants in Canada

Small businesses can gain access to government funding or third-party assistance to help them with their business. These grants can take the form of non-repayable contributions as well as repayable contributions, like an interest-free loan or partially repayable loans. In some cases, government assistance comes in a tax credit, like Yukon’s children arts tax credit.

Whatever form the grant contribution comes in, businesses will need to provide specific evidence of their financial need. For example, when starting a Yukon grant application process, you would need to ensure your business’s needs fit the program’s guidelines to successfully access funding.

Therefore, when applying for Northwest Territories, Nunavut, or Yukon grants, you will need to gather pertinent business information, like the below list, to help you with the process:

  • A business plan or project plan including a mission statement, project scope, budget, and timeline
  • The business’s licenses and registrations to legally operate within the province, as well as any other legal licensing needed for the industry
  • The business’s financial statements illustrate yearly revenue generation and income of the business owner
  • A list of employees including the total number of full-time and part-time employees
  • Any references or letters of recommendations

Who is Eligible for Small Business Grants in Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon?

When applying for these small business grants in Canada, you must possess certain eligibility criteria, alongside the information listed above, to ensure the company qualifies for financial assistance under the program’s guidelines. For example, when starting the application process for an NWT funding program, the business must reside and operate within the Northwest Territories legally. At the same time, Yukon small business grants and loans are for Yukon-based companies and startups.

Funding programs managed by the Government of Canada are only for Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Overall, when researching which grants will fit your needs, be sure to check all eligibility criteria before applying to ensure you can successfully qualify.

COVID-19 Relief Grants

Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED)

What is it?

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) of the Government of the Northwest Territories provides funds to struggling small to medium businesses in the NWT due to COVID. The department is offering a Canada emergency wage subsidy and funding support through their Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development (SEED) program.

The COVID grant offers to financially support small and medium businesses that have been affected by the gathering restrictions put in place under the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) in the Northwest Territories. Contributions should be used to support employment and business development, create new business opportunities, and help businesses recover and grow once restrictions are lifted.

How much is awarded?

The grant previously offered $5,000 to businesses during the gathering limitations. The contribution amount has now increased to $12,500 for businesses impacted by the recent public health measure.

Who can apply?

Local small businesses and entrepreneurs residing and operating out of the Northwest Territories can apply for the eight funding streams under the SEED program.

How to apply?

Complete the SEED application form and submit it to your local regional office of the ITI department to apply for this Canada emergency wage subsidy.

Export and International Development Grants

CanExport SMEs Funding

What is it?

The CanExport for Businesses (SMEs) program provides funding to small and medium-sized companies to assist with international market development activities. The grant contributions, offered by the Government of Canada, can be used to cover the cost of export marketing of products and services in international markets.

How much is awarded?

Applicants can receive up to $50,000 in contributions meant to cover up to 50% of eligible costs.

Who can apply?

Eligible small and medium-sized enterprises include those that:

  • Are for-profit businesses
  • Are an incorporated legal entity, limited liability partnership (LLP) or cooperative
  • Have a Canada Revenue Agency business number
  • Employee fewer than 500 full-time employees
  • Have $100,000 to $100 million in declared revenue in Canada during the past fiscal year

How to apply?

Businesses must first create an account on the Government of Canada site using the online portal to start the CanExport application process. Once complete, users can apply for funding through their new profile.

Minority-Run and Indigenous Business Grants

Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP)

What is it?

The Black Entrepreneurship Program (BEP) is one of many small business grants in the country offered by the Government of Canada to help minority entrepreneurs, specifically black-run businesses. This national program provides financial resources to black business owners.

How much is awarded?

On a national level, BEP offers up to $161 million for Black business owners and entrepreneurs.

Who can apply?

Applicants must self-identify as Black or persons of colour to receive a funding payment.

How to apply?

Visit the BEP homepage on the Government of Canada website .

Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth)


What is it?

The Inclusive Diversification and Economic Advancement in the North (IDEANorth) program is a government and CanNor initiative aimed at supporting the NWT economic growth and sector development, business scale-up and productivity innovation, economic infrastructure development, and foundational economic infrastructure.

How much is awarded?

Funding under this NWT grants opportunity takes the form of a cost-sharing structure that covers up to 80% of eligible growth costs for nonprofits, government bodies, and Indigenous economic development organizations. For-profit businesses and small to medium-sized enterprises can receive up to 50% of eligible costs.

It is important to note that contributions made to for-profit businesses are a repayable sum, meaning support is provided in the form of loans.

Who can apply?

Eligibility regulations include small businesses and other public and private organizations. There is an emphasis for underrepresented groups such as Indigenous, women, and youth to apply for this support.

How to apply?

Fill out the Expression of Interest application and send a completed copy to CanNor’s email operations@cannor.gc.ca for a grant or interest-free loan approval.

CanNor’s Northern Aboriginal Economic Opportunities Program (NAEOP)

What is it?

The Northern Aboriginal Economic Opportunities Program (NAEOP), managed by CanNor, provides business development funding to northern Intuit, First Nations and Metis communities and small businesses in their pursuit of employment and income.

Under NAEOP there are two available streams available to access funding:

  1. Community Readiness and Opportunities Planning (CRO) Program: This program aims to increase community employment, generate more community government revenue, improve community economic development, grow community businesses, and generate more contracts for community businesses.
  2. Entrepreneurship and Business Development (EBD) Program: This program aims to increase the number of viable Indigenous businesses, promote entrepreneurship and a supportive business environment, and enhance access to capital for Indigenous-run businesses.

How much is awarded?

Financial resources are provided to Indigenous individuals and businesses on a case-by-case basis.

Who can apply?

First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and non-status Indigenous communities can apply for funding under these NWT grants programs.

How to apply?

To start the application process, you will need to request an application form by contacting CanNor by email at cannor.operations.cannor@canada.ca.

Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI)

What is it?

The Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) is a Government of Canada program that helps Indigenous communities cultivate economic opportunities across the country. This program supports investments in the economic infrastructure, expanding viable businesses, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, environmental diagnostic and evaluations, community economic development planning, and skills development and training.

How much is awarded?

The total amount of funding budgeted for SPI each year is $14.45 million. Financial contributions are not given directly to applicants, but instead, federal partners work with these Indigenous communities to support proposed projects.

Who can apply?

Eligible applicants of this SPI Canada government grant include:

  • Indigenous businesses, organizations, partnerships, and joint ventures
  • Indigenous communities and local governments
  • Academic institutions
  • Provinces and territories

How to apply?

Email IPS-SPI@canada.ca to learn more about the application process.

Startup and Expansion Grants

Government of Nunavut Strategic Investments Program

What is it?

The Strategic Investments Program provides financial support to local businesses owned by Nunavut residents, municipalities, and nonprofits. Companies can receive funds to help cover startup or expansion costs, while municipalities and nonprofits can use funds for training, marketing, and community development.

There are two streams available to applicants of this business funding government program:

  1. Nunavut Business Investment Fund: This program offers funds to small businesses completing a financing package for a start-up or expansion and business ventures in strategic sectors of Nunavut’s economy.
  2. Nunavut Economic Foundations Fund: This fund aims to build community economies, support business development in key sectors of Nunavut’s economy, and provide financial resources for events, professional development, education and training, and physical community assets.

How much is awarded?

When it comes to the amount of government support for small businesses, both funds offer different sums. The minimum contribution for the Nunavut Business Investment Fund is $25,000, with a maximum grant amount of $250,000. Stacking government grant contributions under this Department’s resources is not permitted.

When it comes to the Nunavut Economic Foundations Fund, the minimum contribution per applicant is $50,000, with a maximum amount of $250,000. Under this program, stacking of financial resources with other Government programs is permitted.

Who can apply?

Eligibility for the Nunavut Business Investment Fund includes for-profit businesses that can legally operate within Nunavut, including corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships, and co-operative associations. All companies must be in good standing with the Government of Nunavut.

Eligibility for the Nunavut Economic Foundations Fund covers applicants that are registered and in good standing with either the Nunavut’s Societies Act, Canada Not for Profit Corporations Act, or Nunavut’s Cities, Towns and Villages Act or the Hamlets Act.

How to apply?

To apply for either fund, you will need to complete the application forms. Once done, contact the Community Economic Development Manager in your area.

Small Business Support Program (SBSP)

What is it?

The Small Business Support Program (SBSP) is a Government of Canada program that offers new and existing small businesses access to financial resources through three funding streams:

  1. Small Business Opportunities Fund: This fund supports new and existing small businesses looking to expand or that have identified promising business opportunities. Funds can be used for planning a startup, expanding operations, or for marketing activities.
  2. Entrepreneur Development Fund: This fund supports the development of foundational entrepreneurship and business skills for Nunavut residents and businesses. Funding can be used for training in entrepreneurship capacity, business aftercare, or tourism safety and risk management.
  3. Sustainable Livelihood Fund: This fund supports small businesses by providing funding for tools, equipment, and other expenses necessary for the operation of small businesses, arts and crafts, community-based tourism, and traditional economic sectors.

How much is awarded?

The Small Business Opportunities Fund and the Entrepreneur Development Fund both offer up to a maximum contribution of $100,000.

For the Sustainable Livelihood fund, funding is available in the amount of $10,000 for the applicant’s lifetime or $5,000 per application. Should the exceptional need be demonstrated, then the limit per application can be increased.

All contributions made by the Government of Canada are given to businesses once per fiscal year.

Who can apply?

Companies must legally be allowed to carry on business within the province of Nunavut, have an established facility within the province, and must be run by Nunavut residents. Entrepreneur applicants must also be Nunavut residents.

How to apply?

Find the applicable application forms through the Department of Economic Development and Transportation. Once complete, forms can be sent to your regional EDT office.

Tourism and Assistance Grants

Community Tourism and Cultural Industries Program

What is it?

The Community Tourism and Cultural Industries Program, managed by the Government of Nunavut, provides financial resources to businesses and organizations within the Cultural and Tourism industries.

Small businesses can access three funding streams under this government program:

  1. Getting Started, Arts Creation and Training: This funding stream aims to support small businesses, individuals, organizations, and municipalities in their efforts to improve education and training surrounding service delivery capacities and artistic ability.
  2. Product Development and Marketing: This stream provides support for Nunavut’s Arts, Culture, and Tourism sectors. Local businesses, organizations, individuals, and municipalities with promising products and marketing opportunities for these sectors will receive financial assistance.
  3. Infrastructure Improvement: This stream offers support for the development of infrastructures that add value to the Cultural and Tourism sectors. Small businesses, artist studios, municipalities, and other organizations looking to improve community visitor centres and public art displays will receive monetary support.

How much is awarded?

Those applying for the Getting Started, Arts Creation and Training fund can receive a minimum contribution of $1,000 and a maximum of $35,000 per project. Those applying to the Product Development and Marketing fund can receive a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum contribution of $100,000 per project. Finally, for the Infrastructure Improvement fund, applicants can receive a minimum of $25,000 in grant funding, with a maximum contribution of $100,000.

All three funding streams dictate that artists must contribute at least 10% of project costs while all other applicant types must contribute at least 20% of the total costs.

Who can apply?

Businesses, tourist establishments, artist organizations, outfitters, hunters and trappers organizations, artists, societies, studios, artist co-operatives, and municipalities can all apply for funding under these three streams.

How to apply?

Find the applicable application forms through the Department of Economic Development and Transportation. Once complete, forms can be sent to your regional EDT office.

What is it?

The Tourism Relief Fund , managed by Canada’s regional development agencies and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), aims to support tourist-focused businesses and organizations as they adapt their operations to meet public health requirements due to the COVID pandemic.

Product development that enhances tourism and destination development projects are two main activities funded under this program.

How much is awarded?

Contributions to businesses and organizations come in the form of a non-repayable contribution up to $100,000 covering 50% of eligible costs or a fully repayable contribution of up to $500,000 covering 75% of eligible expenses.

This government relief fund possesses a budget of $500 million for two years to help businesses across the country. Of that amount, $50 million is specifically for Indigenous initiatives, and $15 million is for national initiatives.

Who can apply?

Those eligible for these financial resources include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors, including businesses, nonprofits and associations, band councils, and other Indigenous organizations.

That being said, these businesses and organizations must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Are a key supplier or operator in the visitor experience
  • Are a part of a defined tourism cluster or tourism-dependent community
  • Provide an anchor product or service in a tourist destination

How to apply?

To learn more about the application process, you will need to reach out to CanNor by email, cannor.operations.cannor@canada.ca, or contact one of the regional Nunavut, Northwest Territories, or Yukon offices.

Tourism Sector Supports Programs

What is it?

Yukon’s Tourism Sector Supports Programs provide funding to those businesses that rely on tourism and have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is split into two streams, the Tourism Accommodation Sector Supplement, covering businesses that provide traveller accommodations in the tourism industry, and the Tourism Non-Accommodation Sector Supplement, covering businesses that rely on tourists to survive.

How much is awarded?

Funding for the Accommodation Sector Supplement comes in the form of a contribution payment of up to $400 per room each month. Funding for the Non-Accommodation Sector Supplement provides local businesses with up to $20,000 per month, up to a maximum contribution of $60,000.

Who can apply?

Eligible applicants include businesses that are based in the Yukon, rely on tourism, operate at a deficit every month due to COVID, and meet three of the following criteria:

  • Has an establishment with a physical location in the Yukon
  • Is subject to the Yukon Income Tax Act
  • Is registered under the Business Corporations Act or the Partnership and Business Name Act
  • Has a valid municipal business licence

Home-based businesses that rely on tourism are also eligible to apply.

How to apply?

To start the Yukon grant application, you will need to complete the application form and the profit and loss worksheet for the Tourism Accommodation Sector Supplement or the Tourism Non-Accommodation Sector Supplement. Send the completed forms by email to ecdev@yukon.ca or by fax at 867-393-6228.

Whether your small business is applying for Yukon grants, small business grants in Canada, or Northwest Territory grants, get your financial documents in order with QuickBooks Online. Manage the books in one place and generate financial support to help you get the funding you need. Start your free trial today!


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