Jumpstart Recovery Program

Jumpstart Recovery Program banner


Jumpstart Recovery Program supports independent small businesses in Windsor-Essex to modify their operations and increase the likelihood of business sustainability and growth during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


The WindsorEssex Small Business Centre (SBC) recognizes the need for local small businesses to adapt their business models to thrive during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. SBC invites Windsor-Essex businesses to submit a project proposal to receive a $5,000 Jumpstart Recovery Program grant. This program is delivered by the Small Business Centre at the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation and is funded by the Government of Ontario through the Starter Company PLUS program.

The SBC team will work individually with business owners to assess the progress of their Jumpstart project, provide business continuity planning resources and mentorship, training and to make referrals to expert professionals as required to help businesses prepare and enact their business continuity plans. Participants who are successful in receiving the grant will be required to participate in mentorship and submit progress reports identifying the outcomes of their Jumpstart project for an additional three months.

The program is open to early stage, independent small businesses located within Windsor and Essex County that were operational prior to March 2020, have been negatively impacted by the pandemic and can present a viable project to sustain, grow or pivot their business model.

Businesses can apply to use the grant for the following project activities:

  • Equipment and software needed to advance technology used in response to COVID-19 (eg. website creation/redesign, online software tools, hardware)
  • Advertising fees and its associated costs (eg. online ads, graphic design, photography, printed materials)
  • Leasehold improvements that bring the business storefront into compliance with COVID-19 health and safety regulations
  • Lease and commercial mortgage payments
  • Payroll

Ineligible project expenses include: 

  • Existing debt
  • Credit interest payments
  • Repayment of existing loans
  • Personal salary of business owner/directors
  • Building permits
  • Office supplies
  • Research and development costs
  • Vehicles for personal use

The ineligible project expenses above are not an exhaustive list. Any costs deemed not reasonable and/or not directly related to the eligible project activities will not be considered as well as costs incurred prior to applying to the Jumpstart Recovery Program.

Interested businesses will be required to submit an online application detailing the current impacts of COVID-19 on their business and an identified opportunity to sustain, grow or pivot their operations, including timeline for implementation and resources required. 



Businesses ineligible for the Jumpstart Recovery Program, or those seeking support for activities not covered by this grant, can visit our COVID-19 resource page for referrals to additional government support programs.


Business criteria: 

  • You can demonstrate a negative impact on your business operations due to COVID-19 and are ready to pivot, reopen and/or accommodate this new business environment
  • Your business operates from a commercial storefront located in Windsor or Essex County
  • Your business pays commercial property tax (directly or indirectly)
  • Your business has 1-50 employees (including owners)
  • Your business is registered or incorporated as a for-profit entity
  • You generate under $500,000 in annual revenue
  • Your business is independently owned and operated; it must not be a franchise, distributorship, pay-per-click, commissioned sales, multi-level marketing, single event or part-time/seasonal business
  • Business must have been fully operational and generating revenue between March 1, 2016 and March 1, 2020. Businesses operating prior to March 1, 2016 are not eligible for funding.

Business owner criteria: 

  • Over 18 years of age
  • Not a full-time student and not returning to school full-time
  • A resident of Ontario
  • A Canadian citizen or a permanent resident
  • Is not a previous Starter Company Plus grant recipient


Online application intake is open from Feb. 10-28, 2021. Applicants will be reviewed and approved on a first come basis. Applicants will be notified by email whether their project is approved for Jumpstart funding.

WindsorEssex Small Business Centre reserves the right to extend the review and due diligence period where applicable in order to receive and evaluate any additional documentation and substantiation. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Questions? Contact a program officer at 519-253-6900 or fill out our contact form.