Putting all your eggs in one basket will never be considered good business strategy, especially when it comes to financing your new venture. Diversifying your sources of financing will not only make your start-up business more resilient to possible downturns, but also improve your chances of obtaining the right financing, tailored to your specific needs.

Never forget that bankers do not necessarily see themselves as a single source of financing. Moreover, lenders will consider you as a proactive entrepreneur if you have sought or used various methods of financing.

Whether you opt for a bank loan, an angel investor, a government grant or a business incubator, each of these funding sources has specific advantages and disadvantages, as well as criteria for evaluating your business.

Here is an overview of seven typical funding sources for start-ups:

1. Personal investment

When you start a business, you should be the primary investor – whether investing your own money or pledging property as collateral. You thus prove to investors and bankers that you are committed to your project for the long term and that you are ready to take risks.

2. Money from relatives

This is money lent by spouse, parents, other family members or friends. Investors and bankers think of this form of financing as patient capital, that is, money that will be paid back later, as your company's profits increase.

If you are thinking of borrowing money from your loved ones, remember the following:

·        Family and friends can rarely provide much money.

·        They may want to have a stake in your business.

·        A business relationship with family members or friends should never be taken lightly.

3. Venture capital

We must first remember that venture capital is not for all entrepreneurs. Indeed, venture capitalists seek to invest in high-tech companies and high-potential companies in sectors such as information technology, communications and biotechnology.

These investors also take a stake in the companies they finance in order to help them carry out a promising project, but involving greater risk. This means that the entrepreneur must transfer part of his business to a third party. Venture capitalists also want a good return on investment, which usually materializes when the company begins to sell shares to the public. Look for investors who have relevant experience and whose knowledge will be useful to your business.

BDC has a Venture Capital team that supports cutting-edge companies occupying a strategic position in a promising market. Like most other venture capital firms, this team invests in start-up companies that show great potential, but prefers to support companies that need significant funding to establish themselves in their market.

4. Angel Investors

Angel investors (angels) are usually wealthy individuals or retired corporate executives who invest directly in SMEs owned by others. They are often leaders in their field. They give the company the benefit of their experience and their network of relations, but also of their technical knowledge or their management know-how. Angel investors tend to fund companies in the early stages of development, and the amount invested ranges between $25,000 and $100,000. Venture capital companies prefer to invest large amounts, in the order of a million dollars.

In return for the risk, they take in investing their money, angel investors reserve the right to oversee the management of the business. This often means that they sit on the board of directors and demand assurances of transparency.

5. Business incubators

Business incubators usually target high-tech start-ups at various stages of development. There are also local economic development incubators, which focus on job creation, revitalization, and the provision and sharing of services.

Incubators often invite fledgling or emerging companies to share their premises and their administrative, logistical and technical resources. For example, an incubator can make its laboratories available to a new company to enable it to develop and test its products at a lower cost before starting production.

A company generally stays two years in an incubator. When her product is ready, she normally leaves the incubator to begin industrial production and fly on her own.

Incubator companies often belong to cutting-edge sectors such as biotechnology, information technology, multimedia, or industrial technology.

6. Government grants

Government agencies offer financing for which your business may be eligible. The Canada Business Network website provides an extensive list of various federal and provincial government programs.


Obtaining a grant is not always easy, as the competition is generally strong and the criteria applied are often strict. Most of the time, the company must invest an amount equal to the amount of the subsidy and this amount varies a lot from one source to another. In the case of a research grant, you may have to find only 40% of the total cost.

7. Bank loans

Bank loans are the main mode of financing for SMEs. Banks offer different benefits, such as personalized service or flexible repayment terms. Compare to find the bank that can meet your specific needs.

Banks generally target businesses that have a proven track record and excellent credit history. A good idea is not enough. It must be supported by an effective business plan. Additionally, start-up business loans normally require entrepreneurs to provide a personal guarantee.

What is Bank guarantee?

Differences between short-term financing and long-term financing