The Starter Company Plus Program @ TESS provides an opportunity for Ontario Works recipients to get training, advice and mentoring to help them build a business. The program also provides an opportunity to apply for a grant to help start their business.

What Are the Benefits?

Starter Company provides:

  • Assistance in developing a Starter Company Plus @ TESS application.
  • Training focused on developing and managing their business.
  • One-on-one advisory services and mentoring.
  • Access to computers, internet and spaces to support business development.
  • A grant of up to $3,500 to assist them in starting or growing their business.

Who Can Participate?

You can apply if you’re:

  • An Ontario Works participant.
  • 18 years of age or older at the time of application.
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • A Toronto resident or operating your business in Toronto.
  • Not working full-time.
  • Not in a full-time education program or returning to school.
  • Not enrolled in other Provincial employment or self-employment related programs that include or do not include financial assistance.

What’s Involved?

To successfully apply to the program, applicants must:

  • Consult with their Caseworker to discuss this program option further.
  • Complete a preliminary application.
  • Attend an Information Session to learn about program requirements.
  • Attend a PITCH IT Interview (15 to 20 minutes) with a panel of staff.
  • Participants will be selected a week prior to the program start date; cohorts are typically 15 to 20 people.

Once accepted into the program, applicants must:

  • Agree to participate in training and mentoring modules over a six-month period.
  • Create and follow a business plan.
  • Attend regular meetings with mentors and a small business advisor.

How Do I Apply?

  • Complete and submit the application form.
  • Attend an upcoming information session – Registration for sessions is now full, thank you for your interest.

The next Starter Company Plus – StarterSpace@TESS Program will run from December 5th, 2017 until early February 2018. Stay tuned for details about additional training being offered in 2018.

Frequently Asked Questions



Starter Company Plus is a Government of Ontario program offered in Toronto by Enterprise Toronto.