Business Loans in Ontario

Searching for a loan to finance your business in Ontario? You are in the right place! Browse the comparison table below to find the best small business loan options currently available to Ontario business owners.

Smarter Loans have collected a list of reputable trusted business loan lender to help you with your loan search and application. Compare loan rates, loan amounts, and terms and select a business financing option that suits the needs of your company.

Click “Apply Now” next to the lender of your choice to start your business loan application; or, if you need some assistance in choosing the right provider for your business credit and requirements, pre-apply with Smarter Loans. We will review your request and connect you with the best small business loan lender in Ontario for your specific needs.

Quick Links

  1. How do I get a business loan in Ontario?
  2. Who is eligible for a small business loan in Ontario?
  3. How do I apply for a small business loan in Ontario?
  4. What business loan terms should I expect?
  5. Best Business Loan Uses
  6. Business Loans Ontario Facts
  7. Business Loans Ontario Q & A


How do I get a business loan in Ontario?

Securing a business loan in Ontario is a strategic step embraced by entrepreneurs for funding to drive revenues growth, sustain the operation, or navigate the financial complexities of starting a new business. Whether you’re aiming to boost working capital, invest in new equipment, expand your company, or meet the payroll needs of your employees, understanding the pathway to obtaining that crucial financing is key.

In Ontario, a myriad of financing institutions are at the forefront of offering business loans, each with distinct eligibility criteria encompassing factors like credit scores, proof of consistent cash flow, and a solid business plan. For established companies, a lender often assess annual revenue and operational history to gauge the health and viability of the business. Simultaneously, startups might need to lean more heavily on their plan and perhaps offer a personal guarantee to secure the loans, compensating for the lack of operational history.

When considering small business funding, especially for budding entrepreneurs, resources offered by the Canada Small Business Financing Program can be invaluable. This initiative supports the pursuit of entrepreneurial ventures in various industries, reducing the risk for a lender and thereby enhancing loan accessibility for businesses across Canada.

Regardless of the source, most company loans come with a funding calculation schedule, clarifying the timeline over which the loan is to be repaid, and a clear interest rate. Understanding the intricacies of interest rates is crucial as they directly impact the cost of borrowing and are a key factor in maintaining healthy cash flow.

Before approaching a bank or alternative lender for funding, ensure you have a well-articulated plan that outlines your strategy for the loan’s utilization in driving growth or supporting ongoing company expenses. This plan should reflect the strategic direction of your business, whether it’s hiring new employees, purchasing equipment, or expanding your operational capacity in Ontario’s competitive market landscape, financial bank institutions will require this.


Additionally, it’s important to acknowledge that certain loans, particularly those involving equipment financing or larger sums, may require collateral as security. This could range from inventory to real estate, ensuring your lender has some form of recourse, adding an extra layer of assurance atop your personal guarantee.

Moreover, don’t overlook the role of government-backed options in providing financial support. Beyond traditional bank loans, the government of Canada actively encourages business development through various funding mechanisms, tailored to support companies at different growth stages and buy equipment with working capital. Such avenues can be particularly appealing as they sometimes offer more favorable terms or resources for business development.

Ultimately, the journey to acquiring funding as a business loan in Ontario demands thorough preparation, a clear understanding of your financial standing, and a strategic approach to selecting the suitable bank or lender. With the right blend of these elements, both existing businesses and new ventures can secure the financing they need to thrive in their respective sectors.

Who is eligible for a small business loan in Ontario?

Funding and navigating the prerequisites for eligibility from a Bank or from a lender can often seem daunting to individuals seeking a small business loan in Ontario. However, understanding these requirements can significantly demystify the process, offering clarity and direction in your quest for financial backing. While standards can vary among financing institutions, a common baseline for eligibility often includes being operational for at least 12 months and demonstrating a minimum of $10,000 in monthly sales. These criteria ensure that your business has a verifiable track record and stable cash flow, indicators that are crucial to a lender.

In the realm of financing, having adequate working capital is essential for the sustained growth of any company, big or small. However, small businesses, in particular, can face unique challenges in securing loans due to factors such as limited sales, lack of money and assets, or insufficient credit history. This is where programs like the Canada Small Business Financing Program significantly alter the landscape. By sharing the risk with a lender, this government initiative encourages Bank institutions to extend their funding services to a broader range of small businesses in various industries, except for those in the farming sector.

To tap into this resource, your business must operate for profit, be grounded in Canada, and maintain gross annual profit of less than $10 million. This program is especially instrumental for individuals with a new business, as it can often compensate for the short operational history that typically discourages traditional banks.

Securing such funding often requires a comprehensive plan that outlines your operation, target market, and projections for growth. This document is paramount as it gives a lender insight into your business acumen, planning, and the potential for success. Be prepared as well to discuss your business’s credit history, your strategy for the loan, and how it will foster growth or support ongoing operations in Ontario’s dynamic economic environment.


Understanding the nuances of business credit and its significance can be a game-changer for your company’s financial success. Explore the differences and implications of business credit scores and gain valuable insights to strengthen your business’s financial standing.

It’s important to note that while these loans can provide the necessary support and resources for your business endeavors, they also come with obligations that you must uphold. Understanding the terms, including the interest rate and the calculation schedule, is critical to ensuring your business can manage the loan repayments without hampering its financial health. Additionally, a lender may require a personal guarantee or other forms of security, particularly when the business’s assets do not meet the collateral requirements.

Individuals must recognize that obtaining a business loan is not solely about meeting the immediate financial needs of their company. It’s about strategically bolstering the business for future challenges and opportunities. Whether it’s expanding your workforce, investing in new equipment, or scaling operations, the right financing at the right time is key to propelling your business forward.

While the pathway to securing a small business loan in Ontario requires careful preparation and a clear understanding of the lender’s requirements, the array of supportive programs and financial products available makes it a viable goal. By leveraging these opportunities, companies stand to benefit significantly, driving innovation and economic development within Ontario and the broader Canadian marketplace.

How do I apply for a small business loan in Ontario?

Securing business loans in Ontario requires understanding the eligibility criteria set by a Bank and other financing institutions. These prerequisites help a lender assess risks and determine a business’s creditworthiness.

Operational History and Revenue

  • Minimum Operational Period: Most lenders require that businesses have been operational for at least 12 months, ensuring they have a track record to assess.
  • Revenue Requirements: Small businesses need to demonstrate stable revenue, typically a minimum of $10,000 in monthly sales, to show they can manage the loan’s repayment.

Credit and Collateral

  • Credit History: A company’s history is crucial, as it reflects the business’s financial responsibility. Lenders use this information to gauge repayment risks.
  • Collateral: Loans often require collateral, an asset or assets used to secure the loan. If the loan is not repaid, the lender has the right to take the asset and use it to cover the loan’s unpaid costs.

Canada Small Business Finance Program

Government initiatives, like the CSBF Program, are instrumental in facilitating access to business loans, especially funding for new businesses and startups.

  • Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible, companies must operate for profit, be based in Canada, and have annual revenues of less than $10 million. This program is tailored for businesses looking to establish operations, purchase new equipment, or obtain other assets.
  • Risk Sharing: The program shares the risk with the lending financial institution, making a bank more inclined to offer financing to startups and small businesses that may otherwise not be considered.

Purpose of the Loan

Understanding and clearly stating the purpose of the loan is crucial when approaching lenders, as it demonstrates a strategic approach to the requested financing.

Capital and Investment

  • Working Capital: Businesses often need loans to fund daily operations or provide cash flow support during development periods.
  • Equipment Purchase: Loans can also finance significant investments like buying equipment, an essential aspect for companies looking to expand their operations or enhance their service offering.

Navigating the Application Process

Applying for company loans is a meticulous process that requires due diligence and detailed financial planning.

Professional Advice and Documentation

  • Seeking Advice: It’s advisable for businesses, especially startups, to seek professional advice to ensure their plan is robust and appealing to lenders.
  • Required Documentation: Companies must prepare essential documents, including business plans, financial statements, and projections, to support their application.

Role of Alternative Lending Organizations

Besides a traditional bank, several other organizations are interested in lending money to small and developing businesses.

Alternative Lenders

  • Development Organizations: Some industry-specific development organizations provide funding and support beyond what’s offered by a traditional bank.
  • Non-Bank Financial Institutions: These institutions may offer more flexible terms or have different eligibility requirements, making them a suitable alternative for some businesses.

Obtaining a business loan in Ontario is a multifaceted process, but with the right approach and resources, it is within reach. By understanding the eligibility requirements, utilizing government programs, and preparing a solid plan, companies can secure the funding they need to thrive.

What business loan terms should I expect?

Ontario business loan terms vary from lender to bank or lender, and from business or bank to business. For example, the rates and requirements for online lenders tend to be quite different than for a bank. Generally, though, borrowing amounts range from $5000 to $500,000, with interest starting at around 6%, and terms varying from 3 months to 5 years.

Best Business Loan Uses

A business loan can be used for a wide range of purposes, and can be incredibly useful for both new and existing businesses. Bear in mind though that if you are granted a business loan through a specialized program (for example, the government small business program mentioned above) there may be some restrictions on how you can use the financing.

In Ontario business loans most commonly finance the following business costs:


Ontario Business Loan Facts

As Canada’s most populous province, Ontario has a wealth of businesses (large and small), and an active debt market. Here are some quick facts:

  • Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP is 40.2%.
  • Household debt averages 171% of disposable income, which in Ontario equates to over $150,000 in debt per household.
  • Household debt in Ontario is 8% higher than the rest of the country.
  • Over the past 10 years, small businesses across Canada have borrowed over $9.5 billion and taken out over 63,000 loans.
  • 96% of new small businesses last at least a year, but that number drops to 70% over five years.

Business Loans Ontario Q & A

Can I get a business loan in Ontario if I have bad credit?

Despite what you may have heard, it is possible to get a business loan in Ontario if you have bad credit. There are plenty of reputable business lenders in Ontario to choose from. Just be aware that you may have to put up assets to obtain it, or pay a higher interest rate.

What are the basic requirements for obtaining a business loan in Ontario?

To secure business loans in Ontario, lenders—whether traditional banks or alternative financing institutions—typically require applicants to demonstrate financial stability and a viable plan. Key considerations include a minimum operational history, often at least a year, which shows sustained revenues and flow of cash. Additionally, having a good credited score and possibly offering securities in the form of assets or a personal guarantee can be crucial. These factors help lenders gauge your business’s health and your ability to repay the loan, thereby affecting the interest rates offered.

How can the Canada Small Business Financing Program benefit Ontario entrepreneurs?

The CSBF Program is a pivotal government initiative that aids individuals in securing loans from financing institutions by sharing the associated risks. Especially beneficial for new businesses and small companies lacking extensive assets or operating history, this program can help obtain financing for various needs, including purchasing equipment, funding operations, and fostering development. By making loans more accessible, this program supports industry expansion and economic development in Ontario and across Canada.

What role does a business planning play in the loan application process?

A robust plan is instrumental when seeking business loans. This comprehensive document should outline your company’s current financial status, projected flow of cash, and plans for development. It convinces lenders of your business’s viability and your ability to repay the loan, particularly crucial for new business owners or start-ups lacking a solid financial track record. Financial institutions scrutinize this document to understand your business model, revenue streams, market, and operational strategies before approving any financing.

Can I get a business loan in Ontario if I’m a start-up or new business without revenue?

While it’s challenging, it’s not impossible. Start-ups or new businesses without established revenues need to explore different resources. Government-backed initiatives, like the CSBF Program, encourage financing institutions to lend to less established entrepreneurs. Additionally, presenting a sound plan, showing industry development potential, and offering a guarantee or substantial collateral can improve your chances. Some lenders specialize in financing start-ups, recognizing the value of supporting emerging industries and entrepreneurs.

How do interest rates and the amortization schedule affect my business loan in Ontario?

Interest rates and the amortization schedule are key components of company loans that significantly impact your repayment strategy. The interest rate is the cost of borrowing money, directly affecting your loan’s monthly payments. Various factors, including the Bank of Canada’s benchmark rate, lender policies, and your creditworthiness, influence these rates.

Meanwhile, the schedule outlines how your loan is repaid over time, detailing the portion of each payment allocated to the principal amount versus interest.

Are there specific loans for businesses looking to purchase equipment or enhance operations in Ontario?

Yes, various financing institutions in Ontario offer loans designed for businesses seeking to purchase equipment or invest in operational enhancements. These loans can provide the working capital often necessary for significant investments, fostering company development and industry advancement. They often have different eligibility criteria, considering the equipment as collateral, which can sometimes make them more accessible to businesses with less established credited histories. By directly financing such assets, these loans can support entrepreneurs looking to innovate, expand, or streamline their operations.

How can new businesses establish creditworthiness to obtain bank financing in Ontario?

Establishing creditworthiness is a critical step for new businesses seeking financed solutions through banks in Ontario. Banks are particularly interested in lending money to businesses that display a reliable history, responsible financial management, and a solid repayment plan, factors that collectively contribute to a positive credit score.

New businesses can establish themselves in several ways:

Timely Payments:

Ensure all bills, including utility payments and vendor invoices, are paid on time. Consistency is key, as banks look for reliable patterns before issuing funding.

Credit Relationships:

Small, short-term loans repaid responsibly or using business credit cards wisely can help build a favorable credit history.

Financial Statements:

Regular, accurate financial statements showing a healthy cash flow increase banks’ confidence in your business’s financial management.

Investment in Business Development:

A clear record of investment into your business’s development and development, using personal funds or initial investments, indicates commitment and confidence in your venture.

Through these steps, even businesses in their early stages can present themselves as viable candidates for loans.

Are there development programs in Ontario that assist businesses not eligible for traditional bank loans?

Yes, several development programs in Ontario are designed to assist businesses that might not meet the stringent lending criteria of traditional banks. These programs, often government-funded, are interested in fostering local economic development by supporting new and small businesses that contribute to industry diversification and job creation.

One notable funding option is the Ontario government’s funding initiatives that target specific sectors or demographic groups of entrepreneurs, providing not only financial resources but also valuable insight and mentorship. There are also community-based lenders, like credit unions or Community Development Corporations (CDCs), offering alternative financing options.

What factors influence banks’ decisions to approve funding for small businesses in Ontario?

Banks in Ontario consider various factors before approving funding for small businesses. These factors help any financial institution determine the level of risks involved in the investment, affecting both the decision to lend and the terms of the loan.

Credit History: A business’s credit report is crucial as it reflects past financial behaviors, including how debts were paid and how responsibly credit was used.

Business Planning: Banks require a detailed business plan that showcases the company’s strategy, market analysis, management team, and financial projections, assuring them that the business is a sound investment.

Financial Health: Current financial statements and revenue projections are examined to ensure the business can withstand downturns and maintain the operation while repaying the loan.

Collateral: Lenders are interested in the assets the business can offer as securities, ensuring they can recoup losses if the loan isn’t repaid.

Investment in the Business: Banks look favourably on individuals who have personally invested in their business, as it demonstrates faith in the business’s success and a willingness to share the financial risks.

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