Business and Economic Development

Tax Credits and Programs: Business Start Program

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 requestedThe 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, see our Education Options section.

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:

Educational Requirement Options

The following list is comprised of organizations that provide business workshops, seminars, webinars and videos. Completion of any combination of seminars or workshops in the areas of business planning, understanding financial statements and basics of marketing will satisfy the Manitoba Business Start Loan Guarantee Program.

Completion of seminars or workshops in the areas of business planning, basics of financial statements, and the basics of marketing are required to apply for the Business Start Loan Guarantee Program.  Provide evidence of completion of three seminars relating to these topics to your financial institution when completing the Business Start Loan Guarantee Program application form with your lender.

World Trade Centre

Title of training: Varying titles covering all areas of business
Delivery/Format: Classroom and online
Frequency: Weekly
Notes: Provides guidance on the steps for setting up, growing or expanding your business.

Women's Enterprise Centre

Title of training: Varying titles covering all areas of business
Delivery/Format: Classroom and online
Frequency: Weekly
Notes: WECM delivers a variety of training options and events that address the needs of women at various business stages. Men are typically eligible for WECM workshops.

Manitoba Marketing Network

Title of training: A variety of Marketing related topics
Delivery/Format: classroom  
Frequency: 12 events per year
Notes: Delivered by volunteer business owners.


Title of training: Interactive Business Plan Template  
Delivery/Format: Online  
Frequency: 24/7
Notes: A train as you go business plan that provides guidance on required information for all business plan components and includes financial spreadsheets.

YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg

Title of training: Varying titles covering all areas of business
Delivery/Format: Classroom and one-on-one coaching
Frequency: 7 intakes per year
Notes: The YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg provides training for SEP (Self-Employment Program) participants. The program assists eligible unemployed people achieve economic self-sufficiency through the creation of their own jobs.


Manitoba Business Start Program
Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade
Phone: 204-945-8200
Fax: 204-948-1558

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