Are you looking to start-up a new business or already operating one? This guide is not intended to be all-inclusive but rather to provide an overview of some resources available for supporting businesses in PEI.
Tips to Starting and Doing Business
- Know what you are good at and find people to help you do the rest
- Learn from the experience of seasoned businesses and like-minded entrepreneurs
- Gain access to ongoing external advice and expertise (e.g., informal Advisory Board)
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
ACOA’s Business Development Program (BDP) is designed to help you set up, expand or modernize your business. Focusing on SMEs, the BDP provides access to capital in the form of interest-free, unsecured, repayable contributions. Eligible activities include access to external consulting for preparing business plans and / or feasibility studies, investigating and licensing partnerships, and for capital investment, training, marketing and / or quality assurances. ACOA also provides assistance to small- and medium-sized companies to acquire the export skills and knowledge needed to export properly. The Seed Capital Program, a community based initiative made available by the Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) and other community-led organizations, provides loans to start, expand or improve a small business, as well as, acquire business skills training.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
Business Development Bank of Canada helps small and medium-sized Canadian businesses by providing financing, venture capital and consulting services.
Canada Business Network
Canada Business Network is the gateway to information on provincial and federal government programs, incentives and regulations. Canada Business provides valuable information including, but not limited to, starting a new business, market research, human resources, management and operations, business planning, marketing and sales.
Global Affairs Canada
Global Affairs Canada’s Canadian Trade Commissioners provide access to valuable market and industry research and are part of a network of Trade Commissioners posted throughout the world.
Export Development Canada (EDC)
EDC is Canada’s export credit agency. It provides innovative financing, insurance and risk management solutions to help Canadian exporters and investors expand their international business. EDC’s e-learning tools are terrific resources for anyone looking to export their products or services.
Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada and Statistics Canada
Market research is important for any business. Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada provides financing and industry-specific research and information, and is a source benchmarking tool for small businesses. Statistics Canada produces statistics on population, resources, economy, society and culture in Canada and its individual provinces and territories.
The provincial government, through Innovation PEI, provides guidance and financial support for eligible projects to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Innovation PEI provides financial assistance for accessing professional services, and for marketing materials and support. Innovation PEI is a first point of contact when looking for support.
National Research Council-Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP)
NRC-IRAP supports SMEs with innovation support, business advisory services, strategic research, scientific and technical services and financial assistance to support them in developing and successfully commercializing technologies in the global marketplace.
RDÉE IPE (Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité) is PEI’s province-wide, francophone economic development agency. RDÉE IPE provides Island francophone businesses with trade development opportunities; assistance in recruiting qualified bilingual workers; access to funding for bilingual projects; and marketing and translation services.
SkillsPEI, a division of the Province of PEI’s Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning, is responsible for managing the delivery of training and skills development programming funded by the Canada-Prince Edward Island Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) and Canada-PEI Job Fund Agreement. SkillsPEI offers programs designed to encourage employers to provide eligible individuals with valuable on-the-job work experience. Other programs provide financial support to companies for assisting unemployed individuals to prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment; for giving immigrants positive work term experiences and transitions into the labour force; and for giving summer employment to post-secondary students in their field of study. Financial support for job-specific training is also available to employers.
Trade Team PEI
Trade Team PEI (TTPEI) is a collaborative effort between the Province of PEI and ACOA as well as: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada Business Network, Export Development Canada and Global Affairs Canada. The Trade Team’s purpose is to support Island companies in developing and growing export markets, through organized missions to targeted markets. A calendar of events, which identifies markets to be visited in the upcoming year, will be presented in September. Companies are asked to provide feedback on markets they would like to visit. Innovation PEI provides financial assistance to trade mission participants. TTPEI also offers skills development opportunities, access to market and trade research and Participation in Pan-Atlantic initiatives though the International Business Development Agreement (IBDA)
For a complete list of Chamber members that offer financial services in the Greater Charlottetown Area, please click here.
Other Business Supporting Organizations
Island Advance is an initiative of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce aimed at growing Prince Edward Island’s economy by encouraging entrepreneurship, improving access to capital, and integrating and retaining entrepreneurial newcomers.
PEI Connectors is an initiative of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce that serves immigrant entrepreneurs throughout PEI. The goal to of the program is to facilitate connections between clients and the PEI business community, to promote the retention of immigrant entrepreneurs. peiconnectors.ca
PropelICT is a start-up accelerator for emerging Atlantic Canadian IT companies that offers two twelve-week business accelerator programs for successful applicants: ‘Launch’ and ‘Build’. ‘Launch’ is a pre-revenue startup accelerator focused on helping companies validate, develop and launch their startup. Conversely, ‘Build’ is a startup accelerator program focused on early revenue startups, those who have progressed beyond the idea phase with initial market traction, and are developing the entrepreneurial skills required to grow the company with a strong emphasis on sales and marketing at scale.
StartUp Charlottetown is a grassroots driven organization, partnered with the national entrepreneurship organization, StartUp Canada. StartUp Charlottetown supports new and growing companies in Charlottetown, PEI, and provides free workspace and access to a support network of members, including entrepreneurs, technologists, designers, artists and intrapreneurs.
PEI Business Women’s Association
The PEI Business Women’s Association is a non-profit organization that represents a network of women entrepreneurs and business professionals across Prince Edward Island. They offer a range of services and resources to help women start, grow and connect their businesses, including mixers, professional development sessions and business mentoring.
LaunchPad PEI is a non-profit organization focused on supporting new and growing IT companies in Prince Edward Island. Unlike other business incubators, LaunchPad allows businesses to retain full ownership and control, without sacrificing equity in the business. LaunchPad PEI provides businesses access to professional office space and a range of events and services such as: one-on-one business support (including accounting and legal services); business mentorship; and access to funding, skills development and recruitment programs.
Futurpreneur is a national, non-proﬁt organization that provides ﬁnancing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. The organization provides pre-launch coaching, online business resources, financing and mentoring.
Emergence is a bioscience business incubator for new and growing bioscience companies on Prince Edward Island. Companies accepted into the program benefit from mentorship services, networking opportunities, and direction toward relevant funding sources.
The StartUp Zone, located on Queen Street in downtown Charlottetown, offers a free, collaborative space for entrepreneurs in all sectors to gather, work on projects and network with other entrepreneurs and the business community.