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Business (Northwest Territories) Assistance Programs Info-Guide

State/Province Resources


1. Business Development Fund
The Business Development Fund (BDF) is a contribution fund that provides funding to individual entrepreneurs and small businesses aimed at stimulating employment and economic development throughout the Northwest Territories. It comprises eight programs which are designed to assist businesses during all phases of the business cycle. The levels of assistance and minimum equity requirements vary depending on the level of economic development in a community. For the purpose of implementing this program communities are grouped in categories of economic circumstance, based on such factors as employment, remoteness and market size. Communities groupings are as follows. Group 1 communities (Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Smith); Group 2 communities (Fort Simpson, Norman Wells, Rae Edzo); Group 3 communities (all other Northwest Territories communities).

Planning & Development (Schedule A - Part 1)
This program is designed to assist Northwest Territories businesses meet pre-establishment or pre-expansion costs when there is a good possibility of increasing regional sales or displacing imported goods or services. One-time assistance is available to help defray costs of activities such as planning, legal help, engineering/feasibility studies, pilot or demonstration projects, and new product testing. Applicants may receive funding for eligibile studies of up to maximum of 75% of eligible costs. Total assistance for any project shall not exceed $20,000.

Pilot & Demonstration Projects (Schedule A - Part 2)
This program is designed to assist businesses to establish pilot or demonstration projects to test the application of new technology in current or planned business ventures. Total assistance for any project shall not exceed $75,000. Example of eligible costs include purchases of equipment and materials, leasing of equipment and/or facilities, and contracted cost of technical support people. Funding assistance of eligible costs are provided to a maximum of: Group 1 communities, 80%; Group 2 communities, 90%; Group 3 communities, 95%.

Business Creation or Expansion (Schedule B - Part 1)
This program is designed to assist trade, service, renewable and manufacturing businesses throughout the Northwest Territories to acquire or develop capital where it will result in an increase in Northwest Territories employment. Contributions are tied to employment to a maximum contribution of $25,000 per person-year of employment created. Eligible costs might include buildings, equipment, site development costs, and working capital. Total contributions will be limited to: Group 1 communities, 30%; Group 2 communities, 50%; Group 3 communities, 70%.

Market Development & Product Promotion (Schedule C)
This program is designed to help businesses generate and increase sales of Northwest Territories products, goods and destinations in new markets or to develop markets for new products. Total assistance for any project shall not exceed $10,000 per year. Funding assistance will be limited to: Group 1 communities, 30%; Group 2 communities, 70%; Group 3 communities, 70%. Eligible costs include marketing campaigns, product demonstrations, promotional materials, booth space at industry shows, etc..

Business Skills (Schedule D)
This program is to assist businesses acquire professional or trained assistance to receive short term support to meet the needs of extraordinary projects and undertake training in specific skills. Total funding will be limited to $20,000 per year up to a maximum of $60,000 for any one business. Funding assistance will be limited to: Group 1 communities, 30%; Group 2 communities, 70%; Group 3 communities, 70%.

Business Relief (Schedule E)
This is an emergency short term relief program. It also assists businesses in difficulty to access professional assistance to identify problems prior to developing a recovery plan or to access professional assistance to develop a recovery plan. This program also helps in the winding down of a business that is not viable or assist in attracting investors or potential buyers to minimize negative effect on creditors. The maximum amount available is $25,000 per applicant.

Community Initiatives (Schedule G)
This program is designed to work in partnership with other community development programs to build a stable economic base at the regional and community level. A wide range of economic initiatives that support community, regional or sectoral strategies are eligible for support under this program. Applicants will normally be required to contribute equity, either in the form of a financial commitment, project management, administration cost, or sweat equity. Minimum percentage of equity required include: Group 1 communities, 10%; Group 2 communities, 5%; Group 3 communities, 5%.

Traditional Arts and Fine Crafts - Raw Materials (Schedule I)
This program is to enagle artists and crafters to purchase raw materials for the production of traditional Art and Fine Craft products for sale. It is available to NWT residents aged 18 and older. Applicants may receive funding up to a maximum of 90% of eligible costs.

2. Grants to Small Business
Grants to small businesses may be provided for two purposes:

1. to assist in overcoming immediate problems involving legal or accounting expenses or to assist with minor capital expenditures or extraordinary costs which, if not provided, may threaten the continued viability of the business; minor capital items may also be funded where required and beneficial and where other sources of funding are unavailable.
2. to arts and crafts producers and renewable resource harvestors, who meet eligibility requirements, for the purchase of tools and equipment to assist them in increasing their level of quality or production and income.

While businesses may apply more than once for this grant, the cumulative total financial assistance awarded to any applicant is limited to a maximum of $5,000.

3. Business Counseling & Support Services
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment offers business counseling and support services to assist Northwest Territories businesses to become established, modernized or expanded, so that local economies may become strengthened. Economic Development Officers (EDO\'s) are located in many Northwest Territories communities and offer services to all communities to provide the following services:

- Participate in and encourage community development;
- Offer business and management advice to business owners;
- Help develop business plans;
- Assist in developing proposals and processing applications for financial assistance.

4. Business After Care
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment provides ongoing business advice and technical training to businesses after they have received funding to assist with specific operational problems.

5. Commercial Fishery Assistance
The purpose of this program is to support development and competitiveness of commercial fisheries in the Northwest Territories by offsetting the high freight or production costs associated with their operation. Only licensed fishermen are eligible for assistance under this program.

6. Forest Industry Assistance
This program is intended to stimulate the forest industry by reducing the high costs of accessing timber supplies and maintaining inventories of logs or lumber. It applies to forest industry businesses that are licensed and actively operating in the Northwest Territories.

7. Community Market Garden Development Program
The purpose of this program is to support development of small scale market gardens production in the Northwest Territories by offsetting specific developmental costs for individual producers, groups, community organizations or businesses. The program will pay up to 100% of the cost of capital and initial operations to a maximum of $5,000 per operation.


For more information on the Business Development Fund & its Schedules, Grants to Small Businesses, Business Counseling & Support Services, Business After Care, Commercial Fishery Assistance, Forest Industry Assistance, Community Market Garden Development Program contact the Industry, Tourism and Investment office in your region (listed at the end of this document) or the local Economic Development Officer.

8. Business Incentive Policy
The Business Incentive Policy (BIP) provides approved northern businesses with preference when bidding on the provision of goods and services to the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). BIP applies to any GNWT department, agency or corporation, as well as any community and other organizations whose total funding for a specific project is obtained directly or indirectly from the GNWT.

For more information on BIP contact the Industry, Tourism and Investment office in your region. They are listed at the end of this document.

9. Mining Assistance - NWT Grubstake Program
The Prospectors Grubstake Program provides partial funding for NWT prospecting projects up to a maximum of $8,000 per individual per year. To learn more about the program and how to qualify contact the Community Minerals Advisor at the Northwest Territories GeoScience office at (867)669-2636.

10. Community Futures Program
Community Futures is a community based economic development program delivered in each region by a Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs). While each CFDC has some flexibility to set its own priorities for economic development in its respective region, all offer a core set of services consisting of:

* Business loans or loan gaurantees
* Business counseling and assistance for entrepreneurs beginning or expanding a business
* Delivery of the Self Employment Option which provides a wage subsidy to those unemployed who want to start a new business
* Delivery of the Regionalization Initiative of the Canada/Northwest Territories Business Sevice Centre which provides walk-in clients access to a business/resource library and a public work station.


Fort Simpson:
Deh Cho Business Development Center
Tel: (867) 695-2441
Fax: (867) 695-2052

Hay River:
Southwest Territorial Business Development Corporation
Tel: (867) 874-2510
Fax: (867) 874-3255

Norman Wells:
Sahtu Business Development Centre
Tel: (867) 587-2016
Fax: (867) 587-2407

Western Arctic Business Development Services
Tel: (867) 777-2836
Fax: (867) 777-3470

Behchoko and Edzo area:
Dogrib Area Community Futures
Tel: (867) 392-6875
Fax: (867) 392-6322

Akaitcho Business Development Corporation
Tel: (867) 920-2502
Fax: (867) 920-0363

Fort Smith:
Thebacha Business Development Centre
Tel: (867) 872-2795
Fax: (867) 872-2824

11. Northwest Territories Film Commission
The role of the Commission is to provide location scouting assistance, including augmentation of location research and to liaise with industry facilities and services as well as with community, production companies, and government. For more information contact the Film Commissioner at (867) 920-8793.
Web site:

12. NWT Export
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment provides assistance to businesses exporting their products in five inter-related areas:

1. Identifying export capacity
2. Training to exporters and potential exporters
3. Assist in market identification
4. Assist in the promotion of export companies
5. Evaluation

For more information on exporting contact the Trade Officer at (867) 873-7360.

The BDIC is a territorial crown corporation established to support the economic objectives of the GNWT by encouraging the creation and development of business enterprises and by providing information and financial assistance to, and making investments in, such enterprises.

It accomplishes these objectives by:
- investing as a majority shareholder in business (subsidiaries)
- providing loans to businesses
- investing as a minority shareholder in businesses (ventures);
- providing business related information

BDIC Contribution Programs

1. Business Development Project Fund
This fund provides a one-time contribution to a maximum of $10,000 to offset some of the costs incurred by small NWT businesses. Funds may be used for feasibility assesments, project start-ups, research projects and occasionally short-term projects that create employment opportunities. Funding for conferences may be considered if the conference has an economic development orientation.

2. Home Based Business Program
This program offers support and encourages the development and sustainability of businesses of the NWT. Financial assistance may be available in the form of repayable contributions up to a maximum of $2,000 per project. Projects are expected to create employment opportunities.

For further information contact the office of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment in one of the five regional centres. (Listed at the end of this document.)
Corporate Office:
NWT Business Development and Investment Corporation
Suite 701 5201 - 50th Avenue
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, X1A 3S9
Tel: (867) 920-6455
Fax: (867) 765-0652


1. Apprenticeship Training Assistance
Apprenticeship Training Assistance is a wage subsidy, whereby an employer and an apprentice enter into an agreement which provides a portion of the apprentice\'s salary to assist the employer in training an apprentice for permanent employment.

2. Training on the Job
Training on the Job financially assists employers in training northern residents. Trainees obtain the necessary skills to access and retain meaningful work. Training may be on the job, institutional or a combination of both. Wage subsidies are provided to employers to offset the costs of training.

3. Self Employment Option
The Self Employment Option provides participants with formal instruction in business plan development and business advise. An expert evaluates the business idea, and provides coaching, guidance and follow-up during the implementation of the business plan.

4. Local Labour Market Partnerships
Labour Market Partnerships support community partners in identifying economic trends and creating strategies to develop a responsive local labour force. Community partnerships are formed to identify and initiate projects. Contributions may be solely financial or combined with in-kind supports.

5. Youth Employment
The objective of the Youth Employment program is to provide opportunity for youth and students to obtain essential skills through work experience. Wage subsidies are provided to employers to offset the costs of training.

6. Employer Services
Employer Services helps employers find employees, provide information on employment programs, employment market information, training needs, human resource planning, and occupational standards.


If you want to learn more about the programs mentioned above visit the Department of Education, Culture & Employment Web site at or contact your local Career Development Centre.

7. Labour Services
The principle function of the Labour Services section is to administer the Labour Standards Act which governs employment standards in the NWT. The Labour Standards Officer has the authority to make certain rulings when a disagreement arises between an employee and employer. For labour information in the NWT contact Labour Services at (867) 873-7486 or 1-888-700-5707 (Canada wide toll free).

8. Northwest Territories Arts Council Funding
The Northwest Territories Arts Council provides grants to individuals, groups and organizations to carry out creative artistic projects in the Northwest Territories. Individual applicants must be artists active in music, writing, visual art, media art, photography, dance, theatre, or performing arts.

9. Support to Northern Performers
Support to Northern Performers program helps to promote and develop northern performing arts, and helps to support and preserve cultural traditions while strengthening national and international understanding of the Northwest Territories.

For more information on the NWT Arts Council Contributions and Support to Northern Performers programs contact Community Programs, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre at (867) 920-6963.


1. Risk Capital Investment Tax Credits
The Risk Capital Investment Tax Credits Act is designed to promote healthy economic growth of territorial businesses, and to create and sustain employment in the Northwest Territories. The program allows taxpayers to qualify for tax credits by investing, either directly or indirectly in corporations that carry on business in the Territories, and that qualify as an \"Eligible Business\". For more information contact the: Program Administrator, Carron Business Services Ltd. at (867) 873-9804 or by email
Web site:

2. Northwest Territories Bureau of Statistics
The NWT Bureau of Statistics has overall responsibility for the territorial government\'s statistical program. To fulfill this role, the Bureau of Statistics:

1. Develops, interprets and disseminates those economic, social and demographic statistics required by the government;
2. Implements statistical programs for territorial government purposes and provides statistical advice and assistance to departments, regional offices and central agencies;
3. Co-ordinates statistical activities within the government to minimize the duplication of statistical effort and to help ensure that the statistics used by the government are current, consistent and accurate;
4. Provides for the continuing and effective representation of territorial statistical interests within the national statistical system.

In addition, the Bureau of Statistics also provides a limited statistical service to the general public, to the private sector, and to other governments.

Statistical information specific to Northwest Territories can be found at the following link:
or by calling (867) 873-7147


Industrial Research Assistance Program
The NRC\'s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) provides a range of both technical and business oriented advisory services along with potential financial support to growth-oriented Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) NRC-IRAP supports innovative research and development and the ability of SMEs to commercialize their new products and services and to enhance their productivity. For more information contact the Technology Advisor at
(780) 495-6509 OR National Toll-free 1-877-994-4727.


Canadian Executive Service Organization
The Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) offers the services of retired or semi-retired business professionals to assist northern businesses to expand, increase productivity and increase profit margins. CESO volunteers are retired individuals from leading Canadian industries who possess a wide range of knowledge. They are able to assist local firms with accounting, funding applications, finding new markets, improving procedures, purchasing specialized equipment, appraisals and designing and installing new facilities.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment will cover the expense of bringing a CESO volunteer to any community in the Northwest Territories. Thus local business people have free access to the wide range of knowledge CESO volunteers possess.

For more information contact the Industry, Tourism and Investment office listed at the end of this document in your region. National contact is (780) 421-4740 or toll free at 1-800-763-6372.


The Northwest Territories Metis Dene Development Fund provides financial services and business assistance service to Metis and Dene people of the Northwest Territories in order to stimulate the growth and development of aboriginal entrepreneurship.

First Nations and Inuit Youth Business Program
The First Nations and Inuit Youth Business Program is a new program designed by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Assocation (NACCA) with the assistance of Indian and Northern Affairs.

The program is in five parts corresponding to the various stages involved in launching an enterprise or starting a business: assessment of entrepreneurial potential, summary of the business project, starting a business, project financing, and post startup follow-up. First Nations and Inuit youth of 30 years or under can apply for this program.

For more information on these programs contact the Northwest Territories Metis Dene Development Fund at (867) 873-9341 or Toll-free 1-888-554-6333
Web site:


1. Term Financing Solution
BDC offers flexible term financing solutions for a variety of commercially viable projects, including expansion projects, plant overhauls, the purchase of existing businesses and the acquisition of fixed assets. In some cases, the financing may be used to reconstitute working capital depleted by capital expenditures or to finance sales growth.

2. Productivity Plus Financing Solution
Productivity Plus Financing is designed for manufacturing and processing companies that want to increase their productivity but need financial support to acquire equipment. These loans can range as high as $5 000 000, including a portion of the incidental expenses. Principal payments may be postponed by up to twelve months to allow the equipment financed to reach its optimal productivity.

3. Innovation Financing Solution
In order to support innovative companies, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has developed Innovation Financing Solution (up to $250 000), a new product designed to fund projects to develop e-business, explore new export markets, and to cover the costs of R & D associated with the introduction of new products and services.

4. Growth Capital for Aboriginal Business
Growth Capital for Aboriginal Business aims to increase access to capital for Aboriginal entrepreneurs who want to start a small business or expand an existing business operating on or off a reserve in Canada. Financing of up to $100 000 is available for existing businesses and up to $25 000 for start-ups.

5. Venture Capital
BDC Venture Capital is a major venture capital investor in Canada, active at every stage of a company\'s development cycle, from start-up through expansion. Its focus is on technology-based businesses with high growth potential that are positioned to become dominant players in their markets.

6. Tourism Investment Fund
The fund helps finance high-end tourism operators, or start-ups in potentially viable destination centres. It is designed specifically to finance single season tourism infrastructures or operations that have the potential to expand beyond a single season.

7. Co-Vision: Start-Up Financing Solution
For entrepreneurs at the start-up stage or experiencing their first wave of growth, the Business Development Bank (BDC) offers Co-Vision, a customized term financing solution up to $100 000 for new businesses demonstrating long-term viability.

8. Consulting Group
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) provides customized consulting solutions to meet the complex challenges faced by today\'s Canadian entrepreneurs. Whether it\'s through individual consulting, group training, or a combination of both, BDC\'s Consulting Group (CG) helps innovative Canadian business succeed. These services are often combined with financial services to support an increasing number of innovative Canadian businesses prosper in today\'s global economy.


Business Development Bank of Canada
4912 - 49th Street
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, X1A 1P3
Toll-free: 1-877-232-2269
Telephone: (867) 873-3565
Fax: (867) 873-3501
Web site:

Regional Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Deh Cho Region
Fort Simpson
Tel: (867) 695-7234
Fax: (867) 695-2442

Inuvik Region
Tel: (867) 777-7126
Fax: (867) 777-7321

North Slave Region
Tel: (867) 920-8966
Fax: (867) 873-6109

South Slave Region
Fort Smith
Tel: (867) 872-6400
Fax: (867) 872-4250

Sahtu Region
Norman Wells
Tel: (867) 587-2016
Fax: (867) 587-2204

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Business (Northwest Territories) Assistance Programs Info-Guide