There’s no question Newfoundland & Labrador is one of the most unique cultures in the world. And it features all the rugged, natural beauty of the Atlantic Ocean and Eastern Canada, to boot!
NL is also known as an area undergoing economic changes, making it an exciting time to start a business here.
Business opportunities are varied in the province. Our guide to Newfoundland and Labrador small business covers everything you need to know to prepare for starting or buying a business in this eastern most Canadian province.
Major Industries in Newfoundland & Labrador
Newfoundland & Labrador has many natural resources, and its economy traditionally relies on fishing, mining, manufacturing, forestry, and the petroleum industry. Other important economic sectors for Newfoundland & Labrador include tourism, agriculture, aquaculture, and technology.
Although the Newfoundland & Labrador economy suffered from a downturn in the cod fishery industry a few decades ago, it is rebounding in nearly all measurable areas in recent years.
Fisheries continue to be an important sector for the provincial economy. Species regularly harvested include cod, haddock, halibut, herring, mackerel, crab, shrimp, and clams.
Best Business to Start in Newfoundland & Labrador: 6 Promising Industries
Businesses that take advantage of Newfoundland & Labrador’s natural resources certainly continue to play a big role in business development in this province.
But there are definitely growth industries in NL as well. The Newfoundland & Labrador government has six priority sectors that it believes represent forward-looking investment opportunities for businesses, including:
When considering starting a business in Newfoundland & Labrador, it may pay to focus on options directly related to these industries or that provide support services for these industries.
Additionally, St. John’s, the largest city in Newfoundland & Labrador, has its own list of five key investment sectors where businesses starting here may want to focus, including:
How to Start a Business in Newfoundland & Labrador: Step-by-Step Instructions
1. Start with the basics:
2. Study any government requirements you must follow:
3. Write a business plan.
There are some endeavours where it’s best to jump in with no preparation work. You don’t want to think much about trying the tallest freefall ride at the theme park, for example, or you might chicken out.
However, when it comes to operating a business, going into freefall is the last thing you want to do. Therefore, some preparation work on your part is the best way to set yourself up for success, starting with creating a business plan.
The business plan is a blueprint for how you expect to start and operate the business. Items you should have in the business plan include:
4. Look for funding sources.
Finding the money to start your business is one of the most challenging steps.
You can consider seeking a business loan from a bank. You also may qualify for government funding. Check out our big lists of:
- Newfoundland & Labrador business grants (including grants for Newfoundland & Labrador startups)
- Newfoundland & Labrador business loans
- Newfoundland & Labrador rebates
- Newfoundland & Labrador tax credits
- Newfoundland & Labrador wage subsidies
5. Seek help when you need it.
The majority of successful small business owners in Newfoundland & Labrador and elsewhere had help at some point in the process. Seek out mentors from professional organizations, or consider requesting advice from accountants, attorneys, and bankers.
Newfoundland & Labrador Small Business Grants: Top 10 Grants to Grow Your NL Business
- Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador Job Grant (CNLJG)
- Self-Employment Assistance for Individuals
- Business Investment Fund – Business Development Support Program
- JobsNL Wage Subsidy
- Operating Grant Program
- Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy (AWS) Program
- Innovation and Business Development Fund (IBDF)
- Housing Catalyst Fund Grant
- Film Development Corporation Sponsorship Program
- Strategic Innovation and Expansion Pilot
Newfoundland & Labrador Small Business Loans: 3 Loan Programs to Start & Grow Your NL Business
Business for Sale Newfoundland & Labrador: Business Opportunities in Newfoundland & Labrador
When starting a business, you need to follow a lot of steps and jump through a lot of hoops. It can all seem like too much at times.
Rather than giving up on your dream of being a business owner in Newfoundland & Labrador, though, you could purchase an existing business and make it your own.
We collected some resources you can use to find a business for sale that matches your skills and desired area of the market.
Online Business Marketplaces
An online marketplace for businesses showcases various businesses listed for sale. Some of the best marketplaces for Newfoundland & Labrador businesses include:
Real Estate Brokerages
When you prefer to stick with a real estate broker to help you find a business for sale, multiple brokerages in Newfoundland & Labrador provide business listings, including:
Online Classifieds (For Sale by Owner)
When business owners are selling the business on their own, trying to avoid having to make commission payments to agents, they may list their Newfoundland & Labrador businesses on online classified websites, including:
Count on a business broker to simplify the process of trying to purchase an existing business. The business broker alerts you to new businesses as they come on the market – sometimes even before they are officially on the market – and helps you facilitate the purchase.
The broker serves as the middleman for negotiating the deal, hopefully making the transaction go faster and smoother. Brokers may even be able to help you find a business in a niche area, because they understand the local market so well.
Some of the best Newfoundland & Labrador business brokers include:
Business Registration in Newfoundland & Labrador
- Decide whether to register as a sole proprietorship, corporation, or partnership
- Choose a name for your business
- Search for existing names of businesses in Newfoundland & Labrador to ensure your desired name is available
- Reserve the name you want through the provincial government
- Wait for confirmation that the government approved your name
Business Licences in Newfoundland & Labrador
You may need to obtain certain business permits and licences to be able to operate in Newfoundland & Labrador, as well as in specific cities within the province. Read more about the permits and licences you need at the following links.
Business Insurance in Newfoundland & Labrador
The provincial government of Newfoundland & Labrador does not regulate the types of insurance that local businesses purchase. However, this doesn’t mean you should skip purchasing insurance.
Insurance for your business protects you financially from unforeseen problems and catastrophes. It’s almost like a safety net. The most common types of business insurance you want to consider purchasing include:
Business Laws in Newfoundland & Labrador
Provincial laws in Newfoundland & Labrador may directly affect the way you operate your business and treat your employees. Such laws include:
Business Taxes in Newfoundland & Labrador
All business owners want to be successful. With big success, however, comes big tax bills. Learn more about the taxes you may owe with your business in Newfoundland & Labrador through the following links.
The current provincial tax rate for business in Newfoundland & Labrador ranges from 3% to 15%.
Newfoundland & Labrador Business Immigration
The provincial government of Newfoundland & Labrador encourages immigrants to start businesses in the province, with an eye toward establishing residence here and contributing to the local economy. The International Entrepreneur program spells out the eligibility criteria for potential immigrants who want to start or buy a business in Newfoundland & Labrador.
Small Business Resources in Newfoundland & Labrador
Starting a small business is a challenge. No one wants to make a mistake when putting their professional life on the line with a new business. Fortunately, Newfoundland & Labrador has numerous resources to help you with your plans to become an entrepreneur in the province.
Newfoundland & Labrador Business Directories
General Business Directories
Indigenous-Owned Businesses Newfoundland & Labrador
Newfoundland & Labrador Business Associations & Organizations
Newfoundland & Labrador Business News
Other Newfoundland and Labrador Resources for Business
Government Websites for Newfoundland & Labrador Businesses
- Business Structure: Which One is Right for You?
- Forms related to Corporations
- Forms related to Limited Liability Partnerships
- Forms related to Limited Partnerships
- Name Approval Policy for Corporations
- Demographics and Statistical Information of Newfoundland and Labrador
- Recent Economic Trends
- Registry of Companies
- Schedule of Fee for Registration
- Benefits of Incorporating a Business
- Setting up a Business in NL
- Find Permits and Licenses with the BizPaL Tool
- Corporations Act
- Limited Partnership Act
- Occupational Health and Safety
- Workplace NL
- Companies and Deeds Online (CADO)
- Innovation Programs and Services
- Labour Market Information
- Labour Standards
- Business Retention and Expansion
- Community Enhancement Program
- Financial Support Programs
- Growing a Business
- Manufacturing Insights Workshop
- Self-Employment Assistance
- Services for Employers
- Support for Business Sectors
Newfoundland & Labrador Industry Links
- Labrador North Chamber Of Commerce
- Gander and Area Chamber of Commerce
- Exploits Chamber of Commerce
- Mount Pearl Paradise Chamber Of Commerce
- Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association
- Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs
- Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council
- Skills Canada
- Women in Resource Development Committee
- Canadian Apprenticeship Forum
- Association for New Canadians NL
Other Resources for NL Businesses
- The Way Forward – Technology Sector Work Plan
- Pan-Can Framework on Clean Growth & Climate Change
- Climate Change Action Plan
- Business Innovation Agenda
- Genesis Centre
- Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship
- Navigate Small Business
- Starting a Business Checklist
- Canadian Intellectual Property Office
- Business Plan Writer
- Business Plan Template
- Marketing Plan Template