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 Business & Entrepreneurship Centre Northumberland (BECN) is your leading source for business information, strategy, resources, education and guidance in Northumberland County. All of the services are free.

  • 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
  • Business program support, sector specific, new businesses, growth support.
  • Micro-grants

Visit the BECN website for more information.

Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (NCFDC)

The NCFDC supports innovative and technology entrepreneurial activities and provides financial assistance through their business loan programs.

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 Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) offers production support to food entrepreneurs and farmers. Businesses best suited to launching production at the OAFVC include those looking for economic sustainability through shared “pay to play” production and storage spaces, and those seeking a way to continue scaling-up production while working out the details of moving into a built-to-purpose facility or partnering with a co-manufacturer.

Working with clients who have a proven production process, the OAFVC provides access to safe, clean, food manufacturing spaces and qualified production support staff. Clients join our network of food entrepreneurs and industry supporters whose unique experiences and resources help the OAFVC drive opportunities for innovation that benefit all. 

Business etiquette

Some of the following are good practices to consider when conducting business in Canada. This is a consolidated list of suggestions, references may change depending on the place of business, any regulations, or individualized policies. Entering a new market like Canada can be challenging, but with the right preparation and understanding of the local business culture and regulations, you can position yourself for success. Be patient and persistent, as building a successful business anywhere requires time and effort.

Understand the Cultural Landscape

  • Communication Style: Canadians are generally polite and indirect communicators. It’s important to be courteous, use moderate tones, and avoid hard-sell tactics.
  • Punctuality: Being on time for meetings and appointments is highly valued in Canadian business culture.
  • Multiculturalism: Canada is a highly multicultural country. Being aware of and sensitive to cultural differences within your business interactions can be beneficial.

Get to Know the Legal and Regulatory Environment

  • Business Registration: You need to register your business provincially or federally, and understand the specific regulations that apply to your industry.
  • Taxation: Familiarize yourself with the Canadian tax system, Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) in Ontario.
  • Employment Laws: Understand Canadian employment laws to manage your staff effectively. This includes regulations about minimum wage, working hours, and workplace safety.

Leverage Government Resources and Supports

  • Government Programs: Canada offers various programs to support businesses, including grants, loans, and incentives for small businesses and startups. Contact the BECN for free support in Northumberland. 
  • Networking Opportunities: Engage in events hosted by local chambers of commerce and industry associations to connect with other business professionals and potential customers.


Market and Customer Understanding

  • Local Preferences: Tailor your products and services to the preferences and needs of the local market.
  • Marketing Strategy: Utilize both traditional and digital marketing strategies. Canadians widely use online platforms, so digital presence is critical.
  • Language: Consider the language preferences of your target market, especially in bilingual regions like Quebec where French is predominant.
  • Seasonal Adjustments: Depending on your business type, be prepared for operational adjustments due to seasonal weather changes, which can be extreme in Canada.
  • Building Trust: In Canadian business culture, trust and personal relationships are important. Take the time to build these relationships gradually through consistent and respectful engagement.
  • Continuous Learning: Keep yourself updated about changes in Canadian business laws, market trends, and economic conditions. This can be done through business news, publications, and staying connected with business groups and associations.
  • Partners and Alliances: Forming partnerships with existing Canadian businesses can be a beneficial strategy to enter the market. They can offer valuable insights, facilitate easier market entry, and provide credibility.
  • Ethical Practices: Canadian consumers and businesses often prefer to engage with companies that demonstrate ethical practices and sustainability. Consider how your business can contribute positively to the community and environment.

Other helpful resources