There are many business development agencies, programs and resources for entrepreneurs seeking assistance to start or grow a business. To find out what fits for you, contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at 902-275-2599 to help you navigate.

Provincial Resources:

  • Nova Scotia Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism
  • Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI): NSBI focuses on attracting and retaining businesses, promoting trade, lending and finance. Its business-focused, private sector-based approach to provincial economic growth provides companies with the right blend of assistance for start-up or growth. While financial assistance is normally available by way of loans, loan guarantees, and equity investment, the nature of assistance may vary based on your business. These programs are designed to assist in offsetting a significant portion of business program implementation costs.
  • Innovacorp:  Innovacorp helps high potential early-stage Nova Scotia companies commercialize their technologies and succeed in the global marketplace. Primarily interested in clean technology, information technology, and life sciences industries.

Federal Resources:

  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA):  This federal government agency headquartered in Atlantic Canada is dedicated to improving the economy of the region's communities through the successful development of business and job opportunities.
  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC):  This group is committed to helping entrepreneurs develop successful Canadian small and medium-sized businesses. The BDC supports these businesses at every stage of growth through flexible financing, affordable consulting services, and venture capital.
  • Canada Business Government Services for Entrepreneurs: This federal government service can provide business with the resources needed to grow and prosper.
  • Export Development Canada: This is Canada's export credit agency. They support and develop Canada's export trade by helping Canadian companies respond to international business opportunities.

Financial Assistance:

  • CBDC- South Shore Opportunities: South Shore Opportunities knows where to find the capital you need for your viable business idea to start and expand your business.
  • The Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board:  This organization supports the development of sustainable agriculture and agri-rural business in Nova Scotia through responsible lending. The Board is a leader in agricultural lending and creating opportunities in rural Nova Scotia.
  • Nova Scotia Payroll Rebate:Nova Scotia Payroll Rebate: Eligible companies can receive a return of between 5%-10% of their total payroll. The amount depends on the economic benefit generated to the Province and is generally paid out annually over a term not exceeding five years. To be eligible for the rebate, a company must create or retain a targeted number of jobs, at a minimum determined salary, within a set timeframe, and must also demonstrate it is meeting set targets associated with the coinciding project, including expenditure targets.
  • ACOA's Atlantic Innovation Fund:  A $300 million pool of research funding available to eligible companies operating in Atlantic Canada. Administered by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the Atlantic Innovation Fund aims to increase the region's innovation capacity by funding research and development projects explicitly linked to the commercialization of technology-based products, processes or services. Eligible costs could include wages, salaries, capital costs and other operating expenses directly related to the research project. The AIF can provide assistance of up to 80% of total eligible costs for non-commercial projects and up to 75% of total eligible costs for commercial, private sector projects.
  • Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program:  This program supports the development of unique and advanced skills, knowledge and technological capabilities that will enable your business to better compete in domestic and international markets. Depending on the size and nature of your business, federal SR&ED tax credits can be either 20% or 35% of the eligible expenditures. If you're a Canadian controlled private corporation, you may be eligible to have a portion (or all) of the 35% federal tax credits paid out in cash. If you qualify for the 15% Nova Scotia R&D tax credits, you may be eligible to have a portion (or all) of the credits paid out in cash, if there are no other taxes owing.
  • Productivity Investment Program (PIP):  The Capital Investment Incentive contributes 20%, up to a maximum of $1 million, toward the cost of technologically-advanced machinery, clean technology, equipment, software and hardware with preference given to exporters in qualified industries.
  • The Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive: This provides funding to companies to encourage investment in skills development and certification. A company may apply for support toward the cost of the following activities: purchase of training from a formal training institution or qualified external or internal training provider; registration, tuition or course fees; international training; management skills development; skills development training leading to certification; training that supports workplace diversity; and other skills development and training based on a valid business case.
  • Invest Nova Scotia Board: This is an independent board that invests in projects to advance Nova Scotia's economy. The Board provides economic development incentives from the Invest Nova Scotia Fund for sector development or economic diversification, workforce skills for competitiveness, applied research and development and pilot projects. The Board can also provide incentives for trade, gateway and economic infrastructure, leveraging significant investments in new technologies or expansions and regional development with emphasis on high-unemployment areas.
  • Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIF):Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIF): CEDIF is a pool of capital, formed through the sale of shares (or units), to persons within a defined community, created to operate or invest in local business. It cannot be charitable, non-taxable, or not-for-profit, and must have at least six directors elected from their defined community. These offerings constitute an exempt offering of these securities only in Nova Scotia by authorized sales agents.
  • Small Business Development Program (SBDP): This program helps small businesses get started and existing businesses expand. It provides help through qualified consultants for business operators to review and assess their practices and develop new approaches to ensure success. Support for approved services for start-ups and existing businesses will be made at 50 per cent of total eligible project costs, to a maximum contribution of $15,000.

Hiring Students:

  • Strategic Cooperative Education Incentive (SCEI):  This incentive assists high-value businesses and organizations recruit and retain university and community college students by providing quality work experience, encourage youth retention leading to full-time long-term employment, and improve workforce productivity.
  • Student Career Skills Development Program (SCSDP):  SCSDP partners with not-for-profit organizations to create career-related summer jobs for post-secondary students. The jobs will be distributed across the province based on population and unemployment for each county.