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.

 Starting Your 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

Ontario Business and Industry Information

Federal Resources

Government of Canada Resources


Growing Your Business
 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 


Business Support 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 Welcome Sign

Fergus BIA boundaries map


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


Live and Work in Centre Wellington

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 portal 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

 Digital Excellence Centre

For the past year, the Digital Excellence Centre has been providing no cost digital support to Elora Fergus businesses and operators to improve their digital presence. During these uncertain times, 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 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:

Elora & Fergus Destination Animation Project

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. The Elora & Fergus Destination Animation Project (DAP) looks to the create/enhance bigger and better projects that showcase the DNA of the region; natural setting, heritage and arts and culture. DAP projects are intended to be highly shareable and create unique experiences for residents and visitors alike. This year DAP accepted projects that are in person along with virtual or self-guided projects/experiences including those that incorporate sustainability and focus on equity, diversity and include and/or indigenous culture. 



The Elora & Fergus Destination Animation Project enables experience and product development. The project was launched in response to the issue of the Elora and Fergus area having a "lack" of "things to do" for visitors.  In order to create truly unique experiences for both visitors and residents, the project focuses on enabling feasible ideas that align with the DNA of the region; natural setting, heritage and arts and culture, are highly shareable and have high impact on the destination.


The Destination Animation Strategic Co-Investment Project was first launched by The Township of Centre Wellington and Regional Tourism Organization Four (RTO4) in 2017 with $13,000 and resulted in a combined investment of approximately $40,000 in 2017 for a total of 6 unique and highly successful projects. The first year was a success with new events created such as "Twilight at Templin" and "Rappelling and Riverfeast" along with enhancements to existing events such as the Bissel Quick Paint Competition. Due to the successful program in 2017 and enthusiasm from the community, the program has continued with the creation of 13 new events and projects.



Eligible organizations include:

  • Festivals and Events
  • For-profit or non-profit organizations
  • Tourism enterprises, BIA's and businesses (as individual organizations or as a consortium) with interests in nature, arts & culture, heritage, agri-culinary, sports, meetings & conventions, etc.


Applicant businesses/organizations must be visitor-friendly establishments/events located within or in close proximity to Elora and Fergus. The project may be brand new or an enhancement and can be small or large in scale. Applicants are welcome to submit multiple applications for different projects. Individual projects can submit for any amount from $500 to $10,000.


Ineligible requests include:

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


Application Process and Deadlines

The application process for the Destination Animation Project (DAP) is open year-round. For more information about DAP, please contact:


John Carrolo

Tourism and Destination Development Coordinator

Office: 519-846-9691 ext. 380



Karen Mitchell

Destination Project Manager at RTO4

Office: 519-271-7000 ext. 102



 Evaluation Criteria
  1.  Projects/Experiences must be virtual or self-guided
  2. Net new or enhanced experience (not pre-existing)
  3. Unique, authentic "nature, heritage, arts and culture" experience
  4. Level of shareability (i.e., inspires social media sharing)
  5. Feasibility
  6. Appeals to both local residents and out-of-town visitors
  7. Potential of overall economic benefit to the Elora Fergus area
  8. Level of collaboration with other stakeholders
  9. Hyper-Local marketing/promotional support provided


The selection committee will evaluate applications against their given project scoring criteria.


Successful applications investments are then issued in two instalments:

  1. The first 50% is issued following the signing of an MOU between DAP partners and the successful applicant.
  2. The remaining 40% is issued following the completion of the selected experience/project and submission of final reporting materials.

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

Past DAP Projects

 2017 Interactive Open-Air Celidh as part of Culture Days
An interactive open-air event, to celebrate Celtic music, offering a free cultural activity for the whole family as part of Culture Days. Using songs, drums, clapping, and dancing, the event will get the audience involved and continue drawing people into the celidh.
 2017 Bissell Quick Paint Competition

This is a new event and challenge added to the Elora en Plein Air Festival this year! Artists were given 8” x 10” pre-stamped boards and had 2 hours to capture their image of the natural and historical beauty in Bissell Park in Elora. Artists works were put on display for award presentation and sale after. 

2017 Festival Faire

A free family-friendly event brought together Centre Wellington’s festivals, events, artists, artisans, merchants and performers for a huge Canada 150 celebration. 

2017 The River is Calling

A celebration of the Grand River Canoes and Paddles Exhibiting artist Brad Copping discusses his current solo exhibition Setting afloat on a river in spate and the Mirrored Canoe Project (2015). Brad Copping will portage his canoe of mirrored glass to Bissell Park and set it afloat on the Grand River. 

2017 Rapelling and Riverfeast

This evening event includes a cultural tour by costumed historians of Chalmer’s Church built in 1877. After the tour rappel down 60ft into the gorge and enjoy dining along the riverbed ensconced by lights. Enjoy a four course locally sourced menu while being serenaded by famous local cellist, Christopher Sharpe. 

2017 Twilight at Templin

Twilight at Templin Gardens is a free family friendly music event held at the Fergus Templin Gardens on Wednesday evenings from 7 pm - 9 pm during the months of July and August. The musical events include artists sharing their personal stories of Centre Wellington, and also features handmade market where local artists display their creative works. True to the Scottish heritage of Fergus, each concert ends with a Piper piping down the sun on the historic 1920’s Templin Garden stairs lit up with candles, creating an intimate finale to the evening. 

2018 Brunch on the Bridge

Brunch on the Bridge - The event will celebrate the opening of an enhance gateway to the Fergus downtown historic district and promote and increase public knowledge on sustainable and local food producers, farmers and growers. The event will be a harvest style farm to fork brunch on the bridge over the Grand River prior to reopening.

2018 Grasslands Enhanced

Grasslands Enhanced - An enhanced and expanded Grasslands experience saw major festivals and events of Elora/Fergus animate the Greenspace in downtown Elora through 1-hour live performances on Saturdays mid June – Mid August to promote the upcoming festival season in Elora and Fergus.

2018 Follow the Flock

“Follow the Flock” Online Campaign – For the entire month of June and the first week of July, a life-size flock of wooden sheep moved in and around Elora and Fergus with the two-fold purpose of promoting the Black Sheep Festival of Contemporary Textile Art and showcasing the natural setting and surrounding tourist attractions. Locals and visitors alike were encouraged to “spot” the flock themselves and post their own pictures using the #location #followtheflock #blacksheepelora. In 2019, the plan was to revise the campaign to get more key community members involved to bolster the exposure. 

2018 Fergus Medieval Faire

Fergus Medieval Faire - This new one-day festival on July 28th featured interactive and educational activities; Medieval re-enactments (archery show, sword fighting, fight the knight, armor display), an authentic Viking encampment, Celtic music, Falconry demonstration with hands on meet the Birds of Prey, Weavers / Spinners / Embroidery Guild demonstration, Live forge, Apothecary tent, an open-air market and more. Costumed actors and horses mingled about downtown while a town crier announced merchant specials and promotions. A Medieval Feast dinner was held at 6pm followed by a guided Ghost Tour of the histories and mysteries of downtown Fergus at 8.00 p.m. 

2018 Monster Rappel

Monster Rappel - On Saturday, October 20th, 2018 monster march parade started with a spectacle at One Axe Pursuits on Henderson Street with monsters rappelling out of the bell tower, along with Tim Murton’s lantern creatures. A headless horseman lead the parade to Bissell Park where parade goers were treated to snacks at a spooked out shelter at Bissell Park decorated with lantern creatures.

2019 Fergus Quick Paint

Fergus downtown is beautiful with classic Scottish heritage stone buildings and three charming bridges that span one of the most stunning areas of the Grand River. This is an idyllic place of artists to paint 'En Plein Air'. During the Fergus Quick Paint Competition artists will capture the beauty of this specific core area. The Elora Arts Council will be collaborating with the Fergus BIA for the Fergus Quick Paint. They will welcome artists and spectators to the downtown core of Fergus and invite the community and visitors alike to join in the fun: Discover the artists painting on street, by the river, on a bridge and wherever they set up an easel. Templin Gardens set on the banks of the Heritage Grand River is the 'headquarters' for the Fergus Quick Paint. The painting begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 11:00 a.m. Artists have 2 hours to paint an 8" x 10" image of a defined area. Artists must turn in their work by 11:15 a.m. and the art pieces submitted are set up for display. At 11:30 the work is viewed by a qualified judge and a prize is awarded for 'Best in Show. A Show and Sale: of the works follow immediately and will run until 1:00 p.m.

2019 Wizard's Way at the Fergus Medieval Faire

On July 27th, 2019, Wizards Way will be located in one of the existing Alleyways in downtown Fergus which will be transformed into a magical place for kids to explore. Attractions will include; • Zoltan the Adequate (wandering magician and fire eater). His pet rats will accompany him (they sit on his shoulder) as they wander the streets performing magic tricks and directing folks to Wizards Way. Comedic Act. • Theatrics. A group of actors and acrobats. They will be located in Wizards Way providing Wizardry classes and demonstrations.

2019 Ontario Week of Wonder Magic Festival

Ontario Week of Wonder Magic Festival; a seven-day celebration of magic and illusion held Downtown Fergus. The festival runs the last week in October and coincides with National Magic Week Oct 24-31. There will be free and ticketed events. The event will see magicians’ table-side at restaurants downtown along with gala shows hosted at the Fergus Grand Theatre. Free late-night events that the public and magicians will love will take place at a secondary venue. A magician convention being a part of the event, secret sessions during the day at the theatre which will be hosted by magicians that magicians come to see.

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