Chap. 2 : Where to Get Help

This page is part of our Starting a Craft Business learning module.

If you have an idea and don’t know how to get started, the great news is that there is a lot of help out there. The support agencies listed below can help you to answer the questions you need to know for business planning. Different agencies offer different kinds of support. They can also refer you to others who can provide specific assistance for your needs. Even if you don’t know whether your idea is good or not, these agencies can help you to figure that out.

Whether you are looking for help with business planning, financing or to learn skills related to your business, there is someone out there who can help you to find answers.

TCII – Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation

The Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation is Newfoundland and Labrador’s lead department in the areas of regional economic and business development, culture, and innovation. With 5 regional and 17 field offices around the province, the department works in all regions to support economic and tourism development through a suit of programs that support business start-up and expansion. These supports range from term loan financing, to general business counselling, providing linkages to other government supports and services, programs to assist in marketing initiatives, working with business to build export potential and one-on-one assistance with other areas that are of importance to businesses wishing to grow and expand in the province.

CII has offices in Charlottetown, Forteau, Happy Valley – Goose Bay and Labrador City. You can contact your local Economic Development Officer to find out about counselling and funding options offered by the department. The department also has craft specialists who can help you with specific questions about the craft industry.

TCII has a Small Business Handbook which you might find helpful:

NLOWE – Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs

From an inkling of an idea to your first year of operations, NLOWE’s Business Start-up Advisors can provide assistance. Their advisors can help you decide if entrepreneurship is right for you and provide you with free one-on-one confidential services throughout the start-up process. These services include:

  • Business concept assessment
  • Business plan counseling
  • Advice on conducting market research and gathering information relevant to your business
  • Assistance in identifying sources of financing
  • Access to Self-Employment Assistance Program
  • Assistance in identifying training needs and opportunities
  • Access to opportunities to establish contacts and networks within the business community

Business start-up services are free of charge and available to any woman in Newfoundland and Labrador who is interested in starting a business. NLOWE Business Start-up Advisors are located in every region of the province and will travel to meet with you at a convenient time and location. There is a business start-up specialist in Labrador. You can find contact information at:

You can also join NLOWE as a member. Membership in the organization provides additional connections to programs in the business community and to women business leaders and mentors; can help you market your business face to face, in print, and on electronic and social media; and can help you to expand your skills set through training opportunities, facilitated business matching experiences, and varied business development experts and mentors. NLOWE also offers learning and networking opportunities for members.

CBDC Labrador

CBDC Labrador is a community-based regional organization that provides financial and business support throughout Labrador. If you are starting with a business idea, or if you are already in business and want to expand they can assist with finance and support to help develop your business. The Self Employment Assistance Benefit Program is also administered by CBDC Labrador.

You can contact CBDC Labrador to discuss your idea to find out how they might be able to assist you. Once you have discussed your idea and determined that you may be eligible for a CBDC loan or service, you would need to develop a business plan, with cash flow statements and required financial documents. The CBDC staff can provide guidance on your business plan and cash flows. If you are looking for financing, these documents will form the basis of your loan application. CBDC Labrador has a business plan template on their website. CBDC Labrador staff can also provide advice for requirements you may have for business counselling or training.

SEA – Self Employment Assistance Benefit Program

This program is administered by CBDC Labrador for the Department of Advanced Education and Skills. Other support agencies like NLOWE and Nunacor can also help you to access this program.

The objective of the Newfoundland and Labrador Self-Employment Assistance Benefit is to help unemployed individuals create jobs for themselves by starting their own business.

There is an application process that will help to determine eligibility and individual suitability for entrepreneurship. If approved, the SEA Program allows participants to receive their Employment Insurance Benefits for up to 52 weeks while they are getting their business up and running. Individuals will receive income support, business counselling and advice as they develop and implement their Business Plan.

Youth Ventures

Youth Ventures assists students aged 12-29 to start their own business. Youth Ventures helps young people to turn their hobbies, interests, and passions into money making ventures. There are already youth craft businesses in Labrador that have been started with the help of local Youth Ventures coordinators. The program is available to students across the province from May-September every year, and the Provincial Coordinator is available year round for anyone who needs assistance.

Youth Ventures can help you come up with an idea, create a business plan, do market research or find financing to get your business up and running. Even if you only need a little help – even just making flyers – they can help with that too. Some services are available to younger students as well.

Youth Ventures is a program of the CBDCs in Newfoundland and Labrador. Loans are available for youth businesses through the program and the CBDC.

Nunacor, The NunatuKavut Business Centre

The NunatuKavut Business Centre has a variety of programs and services available for new and existing NunatuKavut entrepreneurs:

  • Business counseling to assist NunatuKavut entrepreneurs navigate today’s complex business landscape. Nunacor’s business advisors have a wealth of knowledge and experience across a number of industries and with businesses at various stages of the business life cycle.
  • Funding programs which include Consultant Advisory Services, NunatuKavut Entrepreneur Training, Self Employment Assistance and Tourism Business Development Grant.

ABC – Aboriginal Business Canada

Aboriginal Business Canada provides commercial funding and commercial grants for majority owned Aboriginal businesses. They channel funds through regional organizations. The regional organization in Atlantic Canada is Ulnooweg:

Ulnooweg offers a variety of aboriginal business services and loans to meet the diverse needs of clients with a range of interest rates and repayment periods. Aboriginal businesses can apply for one or a combination of loans, up to a maximum of $250,000. They also have non-repayable grants available. Ulnooweg has representatives in New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia, and offers personalized service to clients to help them succeed.

Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador

The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador is a member-based organization that works to maximize the artistic and economic potential of the craft community of the province. The Craft Council provides support by offering training and development programs as well as a range of retail and exhibition projects, opportunities and funding for members.

CRAFT COUNCIL REVOLVING LOAN FUND: This loan fund, administered by the Craft Council is intended to supply short term financial assistance to craftspeople. Applications are normally considered for loans to enable the purchase of equipment and supplies

SCHOLARSHIPS: The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador has an Awards Program for Study and Workshop Grants for full time or part time studies.

The advantages of membership include:

  • A community. Information about events and professional opportunities through a weekly email bulletin, a bi-monthly print newsletter, and our website. Events and exhibitions can put you in touch with craft and colleagues from across the province and country.
  • More exposure – Exhibit your work in the gallery? Sell it in the shop or at a fair? Promote your studio in the guide? Take part in special events? You decide.
  • Learning opportunities – workshops that can be media-specific, design-focused, business-related—or all of these.
  • New partners & support. The Craft Council’s affiliations with other groups bring you a range of opportunities and give your voice national scope. We regularly partner with government and its agencies to offer support programs, including a loan fund.
  • Professional credentials. When your work is successfully juried or wins a Craft Council Award for Excellence, it’s a sign of professional achievement and peer recognition of outstanding work.

There is a fee for membership. You can apply for membership on the Craft Council website: