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Programs to reach your small business goals in 2022 

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the new The year is a great time for aspiring entrepreneurs as well as established business owners to think about their business concept and plan growth opportunities.


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The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center (SBEC) at Invest WindsorEssex received a lot of interest in January from new and existing clients eager to take their business to the next level. Throughout 2022, SBEC offers several programs geared towards pre-revenue start-up and small business expansion in Windsor Essex. Here is an overview of upcoming programs and important dates to remember. Full program details are available at

Digital Main Street

Since 2019, SBEC has offered the Digital Main Street (DMS) program for small businesses in Windsor-Essex. The Center is hiring the Digital Services Task Force – a team of digital marketing professionals who provide one-on-one assistance to small brick-and-mortar businesses to help them grow their digital presence and adopt new technologies.


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Their services, which are part of the DMS program, also include helping companies apply for a $2,500 DMS digital transformation grant. The latest round of digital transformation grants concluded last November but is expected to return in 2022. The Digital Services Task Force continues to meet eligible small businesses in Windsor Essex free of charge.

Foodpreneur . Feature

Ontario’s food and beverage manufacturing sector is the third largest in North America, and there are more than 100 food and beverage manufacturers in Windsor Essex.

The Foodpreneur Advantage provides support for small food and beverage processors in southwestern Ontario. The program features a series of introductory seminars and training opportunities to support entrepreneurs looking to get started in the industry.


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There is also the Foodpreneur Advantage Scale-Up, a comprehensive 10-week training and mentorship program directed at companies that produce consumer-packed merchandise and have demonstrated high potential for scaling operations. The program connects entrepreneurs with industry experts and mentoring opportunities and provides them with an opportunity to receive a business grant of $5,000.

Introductory seminars begin January 20, and the Foodpreneur Advantage Scale-Up returns in March.

Growing Creative Jobs: Windsor and the Region

SBEC has partnered with WorkInCulture and Arts Council Windsor & Region to deliver the Growing Creative Jobs: The Windsor and Region Program. Growing Creative Careers is an intensive professional development experience for artists, creators and cultural practitioners living in Windsor-Essex. Applications close on January 20 for Division 2: Building Better Boards, which aims to support, develop, and sustain sound boards in our local arts organizations.


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The program offers participants workshops, access to online resources and local experts and facilitated peer mentoring sessions. The program is offered annually until 2023.

Reinvent this space

SBEC and the municipality of Leamington launched the Reinvent This Space competition to support local small businesses, stimulate economic development and revitalize the uptown Leamington business district. Participants in the Reinvent This Space program receive business development training, mentorship, and the opportunity to apply for a $15,000 grant. The scholarship assists an entrepreneur in renting for 12 months a vacant storefront in uptown Lymington.

Applications close on January 21 and the program runs until the end of March.


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Starter Plus Company

Since 2015, SBEC has delivered Starter Company PLUS in Windsor-Essex. This Ontario government program is geared toward individuals interested in starting, growing, or purchasing a small business. The program offers a grant of up to $5,000 as well as access to coaching, mentoring, networking, and one-on-one counseling support.

The program will run in the fall of 2022 with applications open in late summer.

summer company

Summer Company is an Ontario government program that has been delivered locally by SBEC since 2001. It provides high school and post-secondary students with the resources and training to start a new summer job. Full-time students, ages 15 to 29, receive hands-on business education, advice and mentorship from local business leaders, and a grant of up to $3,000.

Summer Company applications are accepted between January and May and the program runs from June to August.

Natasha Murar is the Director of Marketing and Entrepreneurship Programs at the Center for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

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