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Start and Grow Your Business

Start and Grow Your Business

There are plenty of resources available on a municipal, provincial and federal level to help you understand the ins and outs of starting and running your own business.

Township of Centre Wellington Resources

County of Wellington – The County of Wellington is made up of seven lower-tier municipalities including the Town of Erin, Town of Minto, Township of Wellington North, Township of Mapleton, Township of Centre Wellington, Township of Guelph/Eramosa and the Township of Puslinch.

For Township Financial Incentives, click here.

Provincial Resources

 Township of Centre Wellington Resources

Centre Wellington is committed to helping businesses grow. Our Economic Development Department can connect you with the right people and walk you through the permits and processes to help your business move forward seamlessly. Looking for a new or larger location? We will work with local realtors, landowners and businesses to connect you to the location that is right for you.

View Available Properties here.

For Township Financial Incentives, click here.

Additional Resources:

  • The County of Wellington is made up of seven lower-tier municipalities including the Town of Erin, Town of Minto, Township of Wellington North, Township of Mapleton, Township of Centre Wellington, Township of Guelph/Eramosa and the Township of Puslinch. 
  • Innovation Guelph acts to cultivate entrepreneurship, powerful partnerships, and innovative initiatives that transform the way we do things in businesses and our communities.

Provincial Resources

Federal Resources 

 Centre Wellington Small Business Centre

 The Business Centre of Guelph-Wellington (BCGW) is one of 57 Small Business Enterprise Centres across the Province with a very clear and simple mandate: “To help people start and grow businesses”. With the support of the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth for the Province of Ontario, the City of Guelph and Wellington County, BCGW provides free one-hour consultations with a business advisor, a suite of training seminars and hosts a variety of events each year to improve the economic health and wealth of the communities it serves.

It is the mission of BCGW to be the gateway to business ownership through experiential and practical support for business owners. The Centre provides practical advice, coaching and training to those seeking to start and grow businesses, from experienced business owners.

As part of the BCGW, the Centre Wellington Small Business Centre, located at 160 Provost Lane in Downtown Fergus is open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. You can call 519-826-4701 to book your consultation.

Wellington Waterloo Community Futures

The Wellington-Waterloo Community Futures (WWCF) is a not-for-profit organization supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). We offer support, financing and training for rural businesses in Wellington County and the Region of Waterloo.

Focusing on job creation through strategic planning, Community Futures provides funding and advisory services to area businesses. Economic development support, business consulting, and loans are available to businesses and residents of rural areas of the County of Wellington and the Region of Waterloo.

Innovation Guelph

Innovation Guelph acts to cultivate entrepreneurship, powerful partnerships, and innovative initiatives that transform the way we do things in business and in our communities.

Innovation Guelph is building prosperity for community wellbeing by providing mentorship and business support services that help innovate enterprises “Start, Grow and Thrive”.

Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce 

The Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven non-profit organization that:

  • Serves as a community resource to promote and maintain business growth through advocacy, networking and educational opportunities.
  • Helps improve Centre Wellington by helping local businesses thrive. When local businesses are succeeding, the local economy flourishes and businesses can better support local charities, events, and their employees.
  • Acts as an ethical information resource for local commerce, business and professionals.

Elora BIA

Perched on the edge of a spectacular gorge and nestled along the banks of the Grand & Irvine River lies the enchanting village of Elora, Ontario, the most beautiful village in Ontario.

The Elora BIA is here to provide beautification and marketing support for the downtown Elora area, and advocates on behalf of the business community. 

downtown Elora

Fergus BIA

Beautiful Downtown Fergus Ontario - the most Scottish Town in Canada! Built on the Grand River, Fergus boasts historic buildings, natural beauty, and community pride.

Over 180 businesses are part of the Downtown Fergus Business Improvement Area. If you own a business in Downtown Fergus, you are automatically a member of the Fergus BIA by virtue of your location. Your input and assistance with our activities are very welcome. Please do not hesitate to call should you have any questions.

The Fergus BIA is always expanding on the beautification of the Riverwalk and Templin Gardens with our participation in the Lighting of the Grans, Sculpture Project, new bike racks, flowers and picnic tables on the look-out. As with every year we hope to grow our beautification projects.

Fergus BIA boundaries mapFergus Welcome Sign

 

BizPaL

BizPaL is an innovative online service that provides entrepreneurs with simplified access to information about business permits, licenses and other requirements needed to start, operate and grow their business from the federal, provincial/territorial and participating municipal governments.

Benefits of BizPaL:

Finding out which government requirements apply to a certain business type can be time consuming and frustrating. BizPaL was created to help identify what you may require, quickly and easily. The information you need is available from a single source; entrepreneurs spend less time dealing with red tape - saving effort and money in the process - and more time building their business. The service is the result of strong collaboration between the federal, provincial/territorial and participating municipal governments and is designed with the following benefits in mind:

  • It is free to use;
  • It saves time; and,
  • It is available 24/7.

Launch to BizPaL service.

If you are experiencing issues or have questions about BizPaL, please contact us

Mental Health Resources for Businesses

Your new home, career and life are waiting for you in Centre Wellington. Live and Work Centre Wellington connects job & home seekers with opportunities and properties in the communities of Elora and Fergus.

 

Our interactive map and listings is a one-stop location for the region’s employment and property listings, connecting you with the job you need and accommodations for sale or rent nearby.

Tourism Business Resources

Background

Elora & Fergus Tourism aims at playing an active role in supporting the local economy and contributing to making Centre Wellington a welcoming and lively place to live and visit.

Festivals and Events are responsible for attracting thousands of visitors a year to Centre Wellington, generating positive impacts on the local economy as well as contributing to building close-knit and animated communities.

The Tourism Marketing Fund is created in 2023 as a pilot program, aiming at supporting Centre Wellington’s Festivals and Events in implementing marketing and promotion initiatives that are able to attract visitors from 40 km+.

Eligibility

Applicants must be visitor-friendly organizations, located in Centre Wellington.

Eligible organizations include:

  • Festivals and Events
  • Not-for-profit community organizations
  • Business Associations

Eligible projects can request funding to a maximum of $500 to help support their event marketing initiatives.

Expenses are to be incurred between January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023. Applicants must show proof of expenses incurred (qualified third-party invoices) and these should be documented in the Tourism Marketing Fund - Report.

Examples of eligible projects include:

  • marketing collateral (design and/or production of postcards, flyers, posters, etc.)
  • content production (video, photography, text, etc.)
  • paid advertising (either printed, for audiovisual or digital media)

Ineligible requests include:

  • Capital/Infrastructure expenses
  • Regular operational expenses
  • Charitable contributions

Application Process and Deadlines

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their initiative, questions, and eligibility before applying, using the contact information provided.

The application must be completed in its entirety. Applicants must keep in mind that failure to provide any requested information could affect their project’s approval.

Applications must be submitted online, by clicking the application form link.

As a pilot program, in its first year of implementation, the Tourism Marketing Fund will review applications continually on a rolling basis and provide funding to successful applicants until funds for the program are exhausted.

All applicants will go through a process of screening and assessment against the eligibility criteria before approval.

Applicants can be notified to revise or clarify elements of their application, which will then be re-assessed.

Successful applicants will be notified within 15 business days after the application’s submission.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Promotion initiatives must be designed for a specific festival or event, and not as part of the organization’s regular operations.
  • Must clearly demonstrate the contribution to attract visitors to Centre Wellington from 40km+ locations.
  • Events promoted are aligned with Elora & Fergus destination’s DNA: showcasing natural setting, heritage, and Arts & Culture.
  • Promotion initiatives are part of a cohesive marketing plan.
  • Initiatives are designed considering sustainable, eco-friendly practises.

Due Diligence

Before proceeding to funding, Elora & Fergus Tourism will undertake due diligence on the lead organizations. The due diligence assesses if potential applicants meet minimum criteria for:

  • Governance, risk management and internal controls
  • Financial status, procurement and financial management
  • Programmatic capability and readiness to deliver

Funding

The funding agreement will be signed by the lead organization and Elora & Fergus Tourism.

Successful applications’ funding will be issued after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)between Elora & Fergus Tourism and the successful applicant.

In case the organization fails to deliver any of the items stipulated in the MOU or fails to provide proof of incurred expenses, Elora & Fergus Tourism reserves the right to request the return of the funding amount in its entirety.

Reporting

Organizations that receive funding are required to provide the Tourism Marketing Fund - Report to Elora & Fergus Tourism no later than 60 days from the completion of the project.

The Report form will be provided to successful applicants upon signature of the MOU.

The Tourism Marketing Fund at a Glance

  • For expenses incurred between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023
  • Maximum request of $500
  • Applications reviewed on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted
  • Applications submitted online through the application form
  • Report to be submitted in the 60 days after the project's completion

Questions?

Feel free to email or call if you require any clarification.

Joao Carrolo
Elora & Fergus Tourism and Destination Development Coordinator
email
519-846-9691 x380

At a glance:

  • For expenses incurred between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023
  • Maximum request of $1,500
  • Applications reviewed on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted
  • Applications submitted online through the application form
  • Report to be submitted in the 60 days after the project's completion

 

Questions?

Feel free to email or call if you require any clarification.

Joao Carrolo
Elora & Fergus Tourism and Destination Development Coordinator
email
519-846-9691 x380

he Digital Excellence Centre has been providing no cost digital support to Elora Fergus businesses and operators to improve their digital presence. The Digital Excellence Centre aims to support you in your digital improvements, knowledge and ideas. Join now to learn about the benefits available – including grant funding to participants!

Contact Charlotte@RTO4.ca for more information and further assistance.

As part of the RTO4 Digital Excellence Program the following Digital Excellence one pagers were created to show operators where visitors access their information. Leveraging Digital Excellence has never been more important, and it all begins with digital hygiene. Digital Hygiene refers to the foundation of a digital presence – the basic building blocks of creating the most impact with your digital assets. Thus, RTO4 built these one-pagers around three main building blocks:

Background

The Destination Animation Strategic Co-Investment Project was first launched by The Township of Centre Wellington, Elora & Fergus Tourism, and Regional Tourism Organization Four (RTO4) in 2017. It has supported the launch of highly successful projects, creating unique experiences and elevating Elora &Fergus as a singular, lively destination.

After successfully running for 6 years, the project is adapting to the ever-evolving needs of the Tourism sector and the growth the destination has experienced in recent years. Elora & Fergus Tourism and RTO4 worked on a revised version of this project but the goals remain the same: to showcase the DNA of the region, creating unique experiences for residents and visitors alike.

The new Winter Experience Development Program strives to amplify tourism opportunities beyond peak season, in line with the goal of creating an "Always ON", thriving destination.

 Eligibility

Applicants must be visitor-friendly establishments, events, or organizations, located in Centre Wellington.

Eligible organizations include:

  • Tourism enterprises, businesses, and business associations (either as individual organizations or as aconsortium)
  • Festivals and Events
  • Not-for-profit community organizations
  • Eligible projects may be brand new or an enhancement and can be small or large in scale.
  • Eligible projects can request funding to a maximum of $3,000. Projects need to be presented within Centre Wellington’s municipal boundaries (*) (**) and take place anytime between November 1st and April 30th of the following year.

(*) Projects may include pieces that extend beyond municipal boundaries; however, the focus of the project must remain in Centre Wellington.

(**) Projects can be designed for virtual space presentation. They must however still have a clear connection to Centre Wellington.

Ineligible requests include:

  • costs of land, building, or vehicle purchase;
  • costs of intangible assets such as goodwill, whether capitalized or expensed;
  • depreciation, amortization expenses, or refinancing
  • interest on invested capital, bonds, debentures, or mortgages;
  • bond discounts, losses on investments, bad debts, and any other debts, fines, or penalties;
  • costs related to litigation;
  • non-incremental wages;
  • fees for administrators, including payments to any member or officer of the recipient’s Board of Directors;
  • hospitality and entertainment costs;
  • costs of individual membership in a professional body (e.g., professional designations)
  • lobbyist fees.

Application Process and Deadlines

Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their project, questions, and eligibility before applying, using the contact information provided.

The application must be completed in its entirety. Applicants must keep in mind that failure to provide any requested information could affect the Selection Committee’s final decision regarding the project.
Applications must be submitted online, no later than September 10th 2023, by filling in the application form.

All applicants will go through a process of screening against the eligibility criteria. The Selection Committee will assess applications and agree upon a final shortlist for approval.

Organizations are welcome to submit more than one application. Applicants can be notified to revise or clarify elements of their application to the Selection Committee, which will then re-assess the application.

Successful applicants will be notified no later than September 15th 2023.

 Evaluation Criteria
  • Must be presented between the November 1st and April 30th period
  • Must be a new or enhanced experience (not pre-existing)
  • Provides a unique, authentic experience aligned with the destination’s DNA: Natural Setting, Heritage, Arts&Culture
  • Celebrates the region’s authenticity, people, and place
  • Includes elements of community engagement
  • Incorporates sustainable and eco-friendly practices
  • Demonstrates feasibility
  • Appeals to both local residents and visitors
  • Has the potential to attract out-of-town visitors
  • Brings overall economic value to the region
  • Demonstrates the ability to provide promotional and marketing support
Due Diligence

Before proceeding to funding, Elora Fergus Tourism will undertake due diligence on the lead organizations. The due diligence assesses if potential applicants meet minimum criteria for:

  • Governance, risk management and internal controls
  • Financial status, procurement and financial management
  • Programmatic capability and readiness to deliver
Evaluation Reporting

Organizations that receive funding are required to provide a Final Project Evaluation to Elora & Fergus Tourism no later than 60 days from the completion of the project.

The Final Project Evaluation form will be provided to the successful applicants upon signature of a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU).

 Funding

The partnership funding agreement will be firmed between the lead organization and Elora & Fergus Tourism. Once the project proposal has been approved, the lead organization will be provided with the funding template containing the standard terms and conditions.

The agreement will also include the final agreed project proposal and budget, and will specify the requirements for obtaining disbursements and progress reporting.

Successful applications’ funding will be issued in two installments:

  1. The first 50% is issued following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Elora &Fergus Tourism and the successful applicant.
  2. The remaining 50% is issued following the completion of the selected project and submission of final reporting materials.

 

The Winter Experience Development Program at a Glance

  • For projects presented in Centre Wellington between November 1st and April 30th of the following year
  • Maximum request of $3,000
  • Application deadline: September 10th 2023. Applications submitted online by filling in the application form
  • Communication of results: September 15th 2023
  • Successful applications’ funding will be issued in two installments
  • Final Project Evaluation and all documentation to be submitted within 60 days of the project's completion

Questions?

Feel free to email or call if you require any clarification.

Joao Carrolo
Elora & Fergus Tourism - Destination Development Coordinator
email
519-846-9691 x380


Karen Mitchell
RTO4 Destination Project Manager
karen@rto4.ca
519-271-7000 x102

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