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Resources for Businesses in The Village

We understand that it can be difficult to find resources for small and medium-sized businesses. That’s why, for members of the International Village BIA Business Improvement Area (BIA), this page is dedicated to helping you find resources that can help your business thrive.

We update this page frequently to provide you with information and links to government assistance programs and grants, as well as programs offered by the Hamilton Business Centre and other resources. We want to make it easy for all members to access the supports that are available to them.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the BIA’s newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest information. Also, be sure to check out the post titled Financial Incentives For Members to see what grants are available for member businesses and property owners from the City of Hamilton.

RAISE Service and Grant Program

The Ministry of Citizenship and Multiculturism, joined by DMS, TABIA and OBIAA, announced the RAISE program.

Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Entrepreneurs (RAISE) is a service and grant program developed and administered by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA), the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), and in partnership with the Parkdale Centre for Innovation (PCI), to support Indigenous, Black and other racialized entrepreneurs in Ontario to start and scale their business.

Funded by the Government of Ontario, the RAISE Grant program provides access to business development training, culturally responsive support services, and grant funding.

The objectives of the RAISE Grant program are to:

  • Increase economic inclusion by supporting Indigenous, Black and other racialized small business owners with one-to-one culturally responsive services
  • Transfer knowledge through relevant online training and business plan mentorship
  • Provide funding to facilitate innovation and growth within the Indigenous, Black and racialized small business community ($10,000 Grant)
  • Determine Main Street Readiness through the applicant assessment phase


OHSA and Bill 88 Requirements

Access Free Training and Naloxone Kits Under the Ontario Workplace Naloxone Program

Registration for the Ontario Workplace Naloxone Program is now open, and your organization can access free training for up to two employees per workplace and/or one free nasal naloxone kit per workplace. Through this program access to free training and kits is available to workplaces.

IMPORTANT: The new naloxone requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OSHA) is effective from June 1st, 2023.

Learn more about how employers can determine if they need to provide naloxone in the workplace.

The free online training Workplace Naloxone Program – First Aid for Opioid Poisoning Emergencies is designed for Ontario workplaces to meet all requirements under the OHSA. Learners will gain skills and knowledge to prevent, recognize and respond to an opioid poisoning emergency, including how to administer nasal naloxone. Register for free training on the Ontario Workplace Naloxone Program.


Hamilton Anti-Hate Toolkit

The Hamilton Anti-Hate Toolkit is one step in our collective response to hate. This toolkit has something for you, whether you are a community member who wants to stand up against hate, you’re part of an institution that wants to build a safer Hamilton for all, or you have experienced hate and are looking for support and resources.


Food Forge – a Food Product Business Training Program for Hamilton Entrepreneurs

Calling all food entrepreneurs! Are you someone who wants to launch your own food or beverage business but doesn’t know where to start? Do you have a food product that is ready to be developed and brought to market?

Food Forge is a seven-week boot camp that will get your favourite recipe retail ready. This course will give you the opportunity to learn from industry experts on how to scale, package and market your food products. This program is for:

  • Food or beverage product innovators
  • Restaurant owners wanting to turn recipes into consumer-packaged goods
  • Entrepreneurs who have a product already in small-scale distribution (i.e. selling in a farmer’s market) but want to scale up
  • Each week is dedicated to a different topic, and you will leave the program filled with knowledge to help your business grow.

This program is designed to accommodate only 20 food entrepreneurs, so make sure that you get your application in as soon as possible. Applicants must be of 18 years or older, a resident of Hamilton, and have a food product that demonstrates growth potential, scalability, and market readiness.


Digital Main Street Content Strategy and Social Media Audit

Providing main street businesses with a digital assessment, online training modules available as a resource, and municipalities with grants to implement a Digital Service Squad.

Free Social Media Content Strategy
Bring clarity to your social content strategy, hone in your voice and message, create social content pillars that you can create content around for years to come. The Digital Main Street Service Squad can help with their FREE, in-depth social media content strategy planning session. Book your free session now.

Free 16-Point Social Media Audit
Are your social media profiles set up properly? Are you utilizing all the options available? Are you posting regularly? Find the answers to these questions and more with the Digital Main Street Service Squad’s FREE 16-point audit for your Facebook and Instagram profiles. Learn more by emailing


Canada Digital Adoption Program

As part of the Canada Digital Adoption Program, the Government of Canada has partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to deliver the Grow Your Business Online grant supported by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

Through this program, small business owners can receive a micro-grant worth up to $2,400 to help get their business online, give their e-commerce presence a boost, or digitalize business operations. Grant recipients must commit to maintaining their digital adoption strategy for at least six months.

In addition, e-commerce advisors will be available to work with grant recipients to help identify their digital needs, provide links to digital resources, help with completing applications, and answer questions on the Grow Your Business Online program.


2022 Digital Resource Hub

Looking for FREE tools and resources to better help market and operate your small business? Want to learn a new skill so your small business can grow and thrive online? As a small business, expensive software and online subscriptions are often not within the budget.

The Hamilton Business Centre has put together a collection of the 200+ best FREE and freemium tools and resources so you don’t have to spend hours online searching. Each tool and resource listed is either free to use or has a free plan to help you get started.

Visit the 2022 HBC Digital Resource Hub today and start exploring everything that’s available.


Mental Health & Wellness Support

Find information about programs that may be right for you based on your mental health, wellness, and addiction needs, and the type of support that you prefer.


Pride Community Pages

Pride Hamilton and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce have launched the Pride Community Pages. The Pride Community Pages aims to be a directory of Hamilton businesses that are owned by, friendly to, or providing safe space to the Two Spirit and LGBTQIA+ community. Register your business today.


Rainbow Registered Accreditation Program

The Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) are partnering together to offer Hamilton businesses the Rainbow Registered Accreditation.

Rainbow Registered is a nationally recognized safe space accreditation program developed by the CGLCC, Tourism HR Canada, and funded by the Federal government. It recognizes Canadian businesses and organizations that are LGBT+ inclusive, and in turn helps customers, clients, partners and prospective employees to identify LGBT+ friendly businesses and organizations.

Canadian businesses and organizations of all sizes and from any industry can apply.


Business Benefit Finder - Government of Canada

Find programs and services offered by the Government of Canada to help your business grow. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business, or a not-for-profit organization use this step-by-step resource to help find programs tailored for your business.


Hamilton Business Centre

The Hamilton Business Centre (formerly Small Business Enterprise Centre) provides information, tools, and resources that entrepreneurs need to start and grow their businesses.

Information, guidance, and advice on starting, and growing a business. Get connected with a subject matter expert that can help you get the answers you need and provide you with the support and resources to achieve your business goals.


HPS: Keeping Your Business Safe

Hamilton Police Service is committed to providing essential services throughout the City.

As always, we continue proactive patrols and respond to calls for service to ensure the safety and security of our community. If you observe suspicious activity or individuals, near or close to a business, please call the police immediately.

Reporting crime and providing relevant information allows our investigators to identify suspects and solve crimes.

Please refer to the following safety tips on keeping your business safe:

  • Ensure locks, alarms and CCTV are operational
  • Leave lights on inside and out
  • Remove high-value items from window view
  • Back up all business documentation
  • Display empty cash drawer in window view
  • Track inventory and update insurance coverage
  • Post emergency contact information inside the store
  • When checking your business, do so during the day
  • Tell your business neighbours your plan
  • Report suspicious activity to police at 905-546-4925

Download the Hamilton Police Service Crime Prevention Tips and Crime Prevention Business Poster.

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