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Start-Up FAQ

Starting Your Business

Are there incubator programs or companies that will help me navigate the business environment?
  • The Halton Region Small Business Centre is a comprehensive resource centre that includes the tools, training and expertise to help guide your business in the right direction at any stage
  • HalTech is Halton’s Regional Innovation Centre. The help technology entrepreneurs move their good ideas and product innovations into well-positioned, growth ready businesses.
  • Halton Hive is an innovative co-working space in Burlington reengineered for tech professionals, startups, freelancers and entrepreneurs.
  • FreshInsights is a local community initiative dedicated to empowering businesses. It specializes in helping forward-thinking companies achieve focus through targeted market research, guided business planning and effective communications.

Where can I find information on creating a business plan, registering my business, market research etc?

The Canada Business Network is your best source for all of the above as well as much more including financing your business, business checklists and permits, licences and regulations.

Who can help me with tasks such as strategic planning and market research?

The BEDC is happy to assist with market research and we have a number of useful documents on our website. Under the support of BEDC, FreshInsights Consulting also offers professional business consulting and partners with clients to provide actionable insights through process driven solutions in market research, strategic business planning and marketing support.

Where can I find information about employment standards, not-for profits, incorporating my business etc.?

ONe-Source for Business is the place to start for information on government services and resources.

You may also wish to visit Burlington’s Application, Licenses, and Permits page.

Where can I find information on permits/licences/development charges/design guidelines?

For Information on permits, licenses, development charges, and design guidelines, please visit the City of Burlington’s Planning and Development website.

How can I connect with other businesses in Burlington?

BEDC has a number of events throughout the year. Please visit our Events page to learn more.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce also has a number of upcoming galas, trade shows, networking events and more.

The Angel One Investor Network is a member-based, not-for-profit organization for accredited investors. Angel One provides members with opportunities to increase their exposure to quality pre-screened companies seeking capital and gives the Angels the opportunity to expand their network of like-minded investors.

Who are my potential partners, suppliers, and competitors?

BEDC can provide you with a list of potential partners, suppliers, and competitors. Please contact us for more information.

In addition, the Enterprise Canada Network (ECN) connects Canadians to global business, technology and research opportunities, facilitates international partnerships and creates trade.

Does Burlington have the human resource to meet my staffing needs?

With a talent pool of approximately 2 million people to draw from within a 45-minute commute, employers have the added advantage of attracting their workers from a large commuter shed that includes Halton Region, Toronto, Mississauga, Hamilton, Guelph, Brantford, and the Niagara Region. Burlington has approximately 90,000 employees and over 67% of these employees have post-secondary education.

Education attainment infographic

With the McMaster University Research Centres and Institutes, Mohawk College, Sheridan College and the National Water Research Institute just minutes away, Burlington is home to a strong community of research and development.

Some useful resources include:

How do I find information on how my business measures up to others in the industry?

The Canada Business Network provides financial performance data, benchmarking tools and ratio calculators, as well as industry sector data.

Burlington Overview

Is Burlington a good fit for my business?

Burlington is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and an atmosphere that supports innovation and global engagement.

For people, and for generating new ideas, there is no better place than Burlington, Canada. For a number of years, we’ve been voted the best mid-sized city in Canada in which to live. It’s why so many innovative companies are here, working in the best place to live.

Living puts you in the heart of North America’s biggest market, with easy access to highways, shipping and major airports.

Burlington’s employment districts are one of the Greater Toronto Areas’ best development opportunities. Centrally located, these districts will add over 10 million square feet of prime space, creating a signature business environment for major employers across the province.

Read more about business in Burlington in our Why Burlington section.

What are the characteristics of the Burlington economy?

The diversity of Burlington’s business base is the key to its economic success. Sector concentrations in advanced manufacturing, financial services, information technology, and earth and medical services, are creating real and sustained growth within the community. Burlington’s dynamic economy creates overlapping opportunities for companies to provide goods and services to multiple sectors, and to find the suppliers needed to optimize their operations.

Employment Base Infographic

business Base infographic

To learn more about our economy, view our Investment Profile and our Economic Base Analysis.

What sectors are thriving in Burlington?

Burlington’s annual GDP of $8.57 billion dollars is driven by the Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, and Retail/Wholesale trade sectors, representing 36% of $3 billion dollars. These sectors contain over 1,900 businesses, employing 29% of the workforce. This is followed by Advanced Manufacturing with $1.5 billion in GDP, reflecting 15% of the employment base through 355 companies.

Leading Economic Sectors infographic

For a more detailed analysis of the economy, view the Burlington Key Sector Analysis.

What are the competitive advantages of locating to Burlington? Why should I locate to Burlington over other nearby cities?

Burlington has a number of competitive advantages including a well-educated population, low unemployment rates, a high quality of life, low municipal tax rates and development charges. View the detailed Competitive Analysis of Burlington.

What are Burlington’s demographic characteristics?

For some quick facts on Burlington demographics visit the BEDC Demographics page. For detailed information, please visit BEDC’s Economic Baseline Analysis.

What’s quality of life like in Burlington?

Quality of life is an important consideration when locating. Attracting quality employees and customers is easier when the area you are doing business in has a high quality of life. Burlington has been consistently ranked as one of Canada’s Best Places to Live. This year, MoneySense magazine has named Burlington the best medium-sized city in which to live in Canada, the best place for new immigrants, and the fourth best place to retire in Canada. The MoneySense ranking gave Burlington top marks for “mild weather, low unemployment, high incomes, low crime, and a thriving arts community.” To see the full rankings, please visit MoneySense’ rankings of Canada’s Best Places to Live 2015.

Where can I find information on the housing market?

Halton Region provides monthly housing updates on their Real Estate Market Performance page.

Another excellent resource is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website, which provides a one-stop shop for housing market information.

What key institutions/facilities are located in Burlington?

Burlington’s dynamic economy creates overlapping opportunities for companies to provide goods and services to multiple sectors, and to find the suppliers needed to optimize their operations. For information on leading employers, Burlington’s Employment Base as well as post-secondary institutions, visit our Investment Profile.

Where can I find information on Halton Region? Why choose Halton?

Burlington is located in Halton Region. Halton Region nurtures a strong and growing economy. It is located 30 minutes west of downtown Toronto and has access to the U.S border and a market of nearly 6 million people within a 45-minute drive. Visit Halton Region’s website to learn more about Halton Region.

Building and Development

What major development projects are currently taking place in the city?

Throughout the city, there are a number of development projects taking place. The City of Burlington website lists current development applications and studies organized by city wards. Also please learn more about future planning and development in the Official Plan.

What are Burlington’s key employment districts?

Burlington has been actively involved in shaping robust and vibrant communities where citizens can both live and work. Burlington’s five key strategic employment districts are: the 403 West Corridor, 407 Corridor, Downtown, QEW Prosperity Corridor and Bronte Meadows. To learn more about them, please contact us.

121207-bedc_burlinvestdistricts

How can I find a facility/property that suits my needs?

BEDC works closely with the real estate and development community as they satisfy the needs of prospective companies and organizations looking to locate in Burlington. A list of options are available to help you locate available real estate within our community on the Site Selection page of the BEDC website. Additionally, you may want to visit our Featured Sites page.

Where can I find information on zoning?

For information on zoning, including definitions, conditions and provisions, please visit the City of Burlington’s Zoning By-law 2020.

Business Costs

What funding and incentives are available?
  • The Ontario government and the Federal government offer a variety of incentives and funding programs for a range of industries and operations including hiring incentives, R&D, commercialization and export trade opportunities. For more information, please visit the Canada Business Network and Halton Region’s Incentives
  • Mentor Works is a business that helps will help your business discover and apply for government funding.
  • Visit Export Development Canada for information on financing solutions- there are a wide range of government programs designed to help Canadian companies export and grow.

A few other incentives to note are listed below:

  • Industrial Research Assistance Programs provides eligible small or medium-sized businesses with financial assistance to develop, adopt, adapt, and/or commercialize new or improved technologies.
  • Technology Demonstration Program allows eligible businesses to receive up to 50% of the costs of creating a next-generation manufacturing service for the aerospace, defence, space and security industries.
  • R&D tax credits allows qualifying corporations to claim a 4.5 per cent non-refundable tax credit on eligible scientific research and experimental development expenditures performed in Ontario to reduce their Ontario corporate income tax payable.
  • Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit was created specifically for game developers and producers. This program refunds 40% of the costs of labour, marketing and distribution for games created in-house in Ontario. For companies that develop games under a fee-for-service arrangement the tax credit is 35%. There is no per project or annual corporate limit on the amount that can be claimed.
  • Co-operative Education Tax Credit allows eligible ICT providers who hire students from Ontario colleges or universities to receive a refundable tax credit of 25 per cent of their salaries, up to a maximum of $3,000 per student.

Where can I get information about government grants and financing?

The Canada Business Network website provides information on financing such as grants, contributions, subsidies and loan guarantees.

Where can I find information on wages in the Burlington area?

For information on wages by career for the Hamilton-Niagara Peninsula Region, which includes Burlington, please visit the Government of Canada’s Job Bank website.

Where can I find information on City tax rates?

The City of Burlington’s Rates and Fees website lists 2015 Final Tax Rates and also provides a Halton Region Property Tax Estimator to assist in estimating your property taxes.

What are water rates in Burlington?

The Region of Halton provides a breakdown of residential and commercial water rates.

Where can I get information on patents, trade-marks, industrial designs, copyrights and more?

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office provides a variety of services such as applying and searching for a patents, trademarks, copyrights, and industrial designs.