Business Planning

There are many resources to support newcomer who would like to start a business in Northumberland. There are many factors you need to look at when planning a business including banking, taxes, legal issues and business structures. These helpful resources and supports can provide assistance with starting a business, networking with other entrepreneurs and more.

Local business resources

Business and Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland (BECN)

The BECN provides business support to entrepreneurs including:

  • Free consultations with qualified business consultants
  • Business plan development
  • Marketing plan assistance
  • Informational booklets, pamphlets and brochures
  • Business seminars, workshops, and specific educational activities 
  • Guidance on licenses, permits, registration, regulations, etc. required to start a business
  • Business coaching and networking opportunities

Visit the BECN website for more information.

The Factory Co-working Space

The Factory is a part of The Business & Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland in Cobourg. The facility offers a shared working environment for work-at-home professionals, independent contractors and people that may work in relative isolation. This space will allow entrepreneurs to connect, share values, network, and have access to workspace options, meeting space, white boards, free internet, and the services of the BECN. 

For more information, please visit The Factory webpage.

Loans and funding

Lending Loop provides small businesses with tool, resources and an affordable online business loan to help your business grow.

Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC)

The CFDC supports entrepreneurial activities and provides financial assistance through their business loan programs and grants. 

Visit the CFDC website for more information.

Northumberland Newcomers Network

As a member of the Northumberland Newcomers Network you can access resources, support and mentorship while helping to promote diversity in our community and providing an inclusive and welcoming space for other newcomers.

Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC)

The OAFVC in Colborne supports farmers and foodies by offering:

  • Fruit and vegetable processing
  • Packaging services
  • Food storage
  • Commercial kitchen facilities
  • Business services and conference room facilities

Venture 13

The Town of Cobourg's Venture 13 centre supports entrepreneurs and companies by connecting them with professional mentorship, guidance and one-on-one support to help them launch and grow their business.

Business etiquette

Having good business manners or 'etiquette' will help you experience your own success in business.

Dress code for men

  • The standard dress for formal meetings is a business suit.
  • 'Business casual' (meaning dress pants and a dress shirt) is a trend that is continuing to spread to many organizations.

Dress code for women

  • Wear skirts, dresses and pant suits, usually in conservative colours and style.
  • Jewelry is acceptable but should be kept modest.
  • Wear closed shoes (no sandals).

First greetings

  • Eye contact is a very important business etiquette in Canada.
  • Upon greeting a businessperson, eye contact should be made.
  • Handshakes upon any first greeting are expected. It is also a way for people to show trust to one another.
  • Business cards are very common in Canada. It is a good idea for all businesspeople to have a set of personal business cards made and ready to hand out at any networking opportunity.
  • During a pandemic (COVID-19, flu, etc.) it is customary to use a face mask/covering and maintain physical distancing.


  • Most Canadian workplaces do not allow the use of perfume, cologne, incense or candles. Many workplaces have a scent-free policy for allergy reasons.
  • Most Canadians are receptive of different kinds of food but may not be comfortable with a smell from lunch that takes over the room.
  • Smoking or vaping is not allowed in Canadian work and public places. Follow the signs in front of buildings like schools or hospitals, where smoking or vaping is prohibited within a certain distance of the building.
  • Having fresh, clean breath is common sense in business. Keep a toothbrush and mints handy. Chewing gum is not considered good business etiquette.

Personal space

  • Canadians like their personal space.
  • It is best to be about an arm’s length from someone when you are talking to them.
  • Canadians often enter into each other’s personal space for shaking hands but will then step back into their comfort areas.
  • Allow at least two feet of space when giving instructions or working with others.
  • Allow at least two feet of space in most business meetings or discussions.

Phones and technology

  • In a formal meeting, it is expected that cell phones will be turned off or set to vibrate only.
  • Teleconferences, web conferences and meetings are often much easier than taking the time to travel to a meeting. The same rules for teleconferences and web conferences or meetings apply as would in a normal person-to-person conversation.

Other helpful resources