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Small Business

In Peterborough & the Kawarthas, small businesses and entrepreneurs are helping to foster a thriving business community.

With over half of the enterprises in Peterborough & the Kawarthas being owner-operated, it’s no wonder that our region is able to offer a diverse range of services. From finance and food to manufacturing, arts, healthcare, agriculture, and more, there’s something for everyone.

When you open your small business in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, you join a vibrant community of active, engaged, and innovative entrepreneurs with a robust support network to draw upon.

Jamey Coughlin

Jamey Coughlin

Director of Business Attraction, Retention & Expansion

Woman behind counter in boutique shop handing a small bag to a smiling customer

Small Business is Big Business in Peterborough & the Kawarthas

In Peterborough & the Kawarthas, entrepreneurs are the backbone of the local economy. Whether you have a new business idea, or you are an established business owner, there’s no wrong door to step through to find the entrepreneurial support you need in Peterborough & the Kawarthas. We’re here to help. Every step of the way.

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As part of the Province of Ontario’s Small Business Enterprise Centre Network, the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Business Advisory Centre is connected to a vast network of 54 locations, providing valuable resources and support for businesses across the region.
In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, members of the Small Business Centre handled 137,877 inquiries, assisted in launching 4,727 businesses, contributed to the creation of 7,726 jobs in Ontario, and supported the sustainability of 5,101 businesses.

Why are small businesses drawn to Peterborough & the Kawarthas?

With its unique blend of affordability and healthy competition, a robust support network, and skilled local workforce, Peterborough & the Kawarthas stands out as an ideal destination to establish a small business.

Our region provides a cost-effective business environment, helping entrepreneurs to maximize their resources and investments. With a local pool of talented young graduates and professionals on hand, entrepreneurs have access to the support they need to grow and scale.

In 2023, a total of 4175 businesses were counted within the Peterborough & the Kawarthas region, providing a competitive landscape that fosters growth and encourages businesses to strive for excellence.

Local entrepreneurs benefit from a strong support network here, including valuable guidance and resources. Our region is also home to renowned, entrepreneurial-minded educational institutes: collaboration between businesses and academia is strong and continuous.

A Strong and Supportive Community

Support Networks

Join an active ecosystem of entrepreneurial support. Our diverse network of Community Partners provides essential resources such as funding, mentorship, networking opportunities, specialized training, and access to state-of-the-art incubator spaces.

A Welcoming Region

Experience a supportive community in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, dedicated to the success of small businesses. Our region fosters a welcoming environment, encouraging the growth and prosperity of local entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurial-Minded Educational Institutions

In Peterborough & the Kawarthas, the future of business ownership is taking shape through comprehensive education at our local post-secondary institutions. Students at Trent University and Fleming College are focused on understanding, analyzing, and developing 21st-century solutions across diverse sectors. The next generation of business leaders calls our community home.

Trent University’s School of Business

Trent University’s School of Business believes in going beyond teaching students to navigate the business world, instead inspiring them to question, challenge, and lead it. One of Trent’s largest and fastest-growing Schools of Study, the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) allows for a number of specializations including Entrepreneurship, as well as transformative experiential learning opportunities.

Fleming College

Fleming College graduates from various disciplines, including the skilled trades, are inspired and supported to pursue entrepreneurial career paths.

Fleming’s Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship continuing education course extends the institution’s entrepreneurial mindset. It teaches students essential concepts from Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, Health and Safety, Risk Management, and more, instilling practical knowledge and preparing individuals for the challenges and opportunities they’ll face as business owners.

Cropped shot of a diverse group of businesspeople sitting together and having a meeting outside the office.

Specialized Support for Tourism Businesses

Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism provides targeted assistance to small businesses in the tourism sector. Our team collaborates with local, regional, provincial, and national partners to develop customized strategic plans that promote growth and prosperity for businesses within the tourism industry. 

Small Business in Ontario

Small businesses in Ontario are set up for success. The province’s Small Business Strategy – a comprehensive plan for supporting the growth of Ontario businesses – underscores this by seeking to minimize costs, streamline processes, and enhance the accessibility of online government services for the province’s small business community.

Entrepreneurs in Peterborough & the Kawarthas are supported by the province’s initiatives. Between provincial support and collaboration with a welcoming local community, Peterborough & the Kawarthas is an attractive choice for new businesses in Ontario.

Small Business in Canada

As of December 2021, Canada was home to 1.21 million employer businesses, 97.9% of which were classified as small businesses, and more than half of which were found in Ontario or Quebec.1

These businesses significantly contribute to Canada’s economy, with small businesses employing 8.2 million individuals and making up 67.7% of the total private labour force.1

Thanks to its resilient economy, stable political environment and abundance of diverse and skilled talent, Canada is an ideal location for launching and operating a business. Its geographic location provides easy access to both U.S. and global markets, and business-friendly policies and supports ensure Canadian entrepreneurs can flourish within a variety of industries.

1. Source: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada