If you’d like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, Manitoba might be the place for you. With its natural resources, attractions (it has over 100,000 lakes!) and laid-back atmosphere, it could be the perfect place for you to establish a small business.

Starting a small business can seem quaint and simple on the surface, but it does involve quite a bit of paperwork, planning, and legwork. Here is a quick guide to starting your own small business in Manitoba.


Starting a business, even a small one, rarely comes for free. You need to gather enough finances to pay for your business’s initial needs. 

There are various options for business financing. You can save up or apply for grants or loans. In fact, you can now borrow money easily online through reliable platforms.

You can also try presenting your business plan to investors. This requires a bit more work, but securing investments from successful business people could help your business take off.

The government of Manitoba has a helpful list of programs and incentives for which your business might qualify. If you meet the proper criteria, these programs could give your business the funding it needs and deserves.

Market Research

For your business to attain success, it has to fulfil a need within your community. You need to conduct market research to determine these needs.

In business, market research is a process that investigates the feasibility of a product, service, or business model in terms of its target market or audience. It is a growing industry, with its global industry market value exceeding 73.4 billion US dollars in 2019.

It is a significant step to take in the planning stages of your business, as it helps you fine-tune your business model. It helps you to get to know your potential customers so that you can adjust to their needs and values.

Choosing a Business Structure

Before becoming an official business entity recognized by the province, you must choose a legal business structure. A business structure will determine how your business will operate and pay its taxes.

There are three common types of business structures in Manitoba. These are:

  • Sole proprietorship. This business structure only has one business owner and doesn’t need registration. You don’t get a distinction between your personal and business finances. 
  • Partnership. A partnership involves two or more owners. Each owner may have some personal liability, depending on the partnership agreement.
  • Corporation. A corporation is an entity completely independent from its owners. However, you will need to pay corporate taxes, which can run relatively high.

Naming and Registration

If you won’t be running a sole proprietorship and want to do business under another name (such as a trade name), you are required to register your business name with the Manitoba Companies Office.

A name gives your business a unique legal identity that allows the government to communicate with you. It’s also an excellent way to establish a brand identity that will stick with your customer base.

Licences and Permits

Depending on your industry, you might need some specific licences and permits for operation. Having the appropriate licences helps show that your business is a trusted provider of a particular service or product.

For example, you want to get into the food industry. In that case, you will need permits that prove the sanitation of your premises, as well as specific qualifications for food handling and preparation.

You can find resources for obtaining Manitoba licences and permits here.

Starting a small business isn’t totally easy. As with all business ventures, it involves a lot of hard work. All these legal requirements might seem tedious or mundane, but they provide a solid foundation for your Manitoba business to flourish.