Starting your business in Lambton Shores

Congratulations! If you are looking to start a business in Lambton Shores, it is reason to celebrate! This section of our website will help guide you through the process of launching a business in Lambton Shores and provide you with the information and resources needed to succeed.

 Find a location

If you are looking to set up shop and need a physical location, this section will help you find that perfect spot. Occasionally, the Municipality has surplus lands and buildings, but we always recommend reaching out to a local real estate agent to learn more about what is available for lease or purchase in the area that would suit your needs.

When you are considering a location, we also recommend exploring the different communities within Lambton Shores to determine which community is the best fit for your business. We offer a breakdown of our community profile on our Why Lambton Shores page, including a detailed look at each of our six unique communities: Arkona, Forest, Thedford, Ipperwash, Port Franks, and Grand Bend.

Lambton Shores has also partnered with the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership to promote its Forest Industrial Park land. Visit their website to learn more about the opportunity.

Other surplus lands and buildings will be listed on our Tenders and RFPs page as they become available.

 Register your business: business licensing and registration

One of the earlier steps of starting any business is registering it with the Ontario or Canadian government. Although you do not need a business license from the Municipality when starting a business here, there are steps you need to take with the Provincial and Federal governments. This section will help you navigate through the process.

When registering, you must declare what legal structure your business is:

Types of legal business structures

Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business with one individual owner. The individual is personally responsible for the debts of the sole proprietorship. It is the simplest business type to form. 
There are various types of partnerships that you can form. A general partnership is an unincorporated business between two or more owners. Owners can be individuals, unincorporated or incorporated businesses. Other types of partnerships are Limited Partnerships and Limited Liability Partnerships which are subject to the Limited Partnerships Act and may offer more legal protection over personal assets.  

A corporation is an incorporated entity with its own rights and responsibilities under Provincial and Federal law. A corporation is owned based on percentages of ownership (shares) by shareholders. A corporation is managed by directors that are chosen by the shareholders. Owners of a corporation are not personally responsible for the debts of the business.

Your corporation can be registered provincially or federally. If you register as a Canadian corporation, you must still register your business in each province that you do business in. This can be done at time of incorporation. 

Additional links to help you through the registration process:

If you have a question or would like to talk through your options, contact our partners at Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership and set up an appointment to speak with one of their business consultants.

Registering your business name

You may be required to register your business name through the Province of Ontario.  For information on registering your business name, please visit the Service Ontario website.

 Taxes and utilities

You will need to remember to set up utility services when opening your business. Water and wastewater services are provided by Lambton Shores, while other utility services are provided by local utility service providers.

You can find more information on rates and payment options on our taxes and utilities pages.

 Resources to get your business off the ground

Lambton Shores is home to several business groups and associations to support your journey.

Local Business Associations

The Municipality of Lambton Shores is home to two business groups:

 Grand Bend & Area Chamber of Commerce

The Grand Bend & Area Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based group that offers local businesses networking opportunities, member-only benefits, and more. Memberships are available to any business in the area.

Visit their website for more information.

 Forest Business Improvement Area

The Forest Business Improvement Area comprises of local downtown businesses and focuses on the promotion of these businesses and the beautification of the area. Its main purpose is to stimulate the economy within the defined area through events and promotion of the downtown.

Visit their website for more information.

Local Business Support and Organizations

There are also local and county-wide resources available through the Municipality's partner organizations. Explore the list below for further information and support in key areas of developing and growing your business:

 Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP) is an economic development agency for the Sarnia-Lambton area. Funded by the County of Lambton, they have a focus on promoting the distinct advantages that Sarnia-Lambton proudly offers companies and residents. Their focus is to foster new business creation, helping to ensure that established firms remain and grow here, and work to attract growing businesses to the Sarnia-Lambton area.

Services they offer include:

  • Business counselling and resources through the Sarnia-Lambton Business Enterprise Centre (SLBEC)
  • Industry and demographic market research
  • Business directory
  • Business plan writing and guidance
  • Grant information and writing support

To learn more and explore their services, visit their website.

 Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation

Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation (SLBDC) helps small business owners in Lambton County succeed and thereby create permanent, long-term employment opportunities and help build our economic community. Their goal is to reduce small business failures, and empower business owners to succeed by providing access to the funding and resources they need to build stable work environments and sound business plans.

Services they offer include:

  • Business counselling
  • Business plan template & guide
  • Loans and financing up to $300,000

To learn more and explore their services, visit their website.

 Sarnia-Lambton Workforce Development Board

Sarnia-Lambton Workforce Development Board (SLWDB) is a community-directed, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to leading Sarnia-Lambton in its approach to workforce development and labour market planning through research and regular publications.

Services they offer include:

  • Market research and labour reports
  • Resources for employers

To learn more and explore their services, visit their website.

Financial Resources

Through partner organizations and funding opportunities at all levels of government, there may be financial support available to you when starting your business in Lambton Shores.

Explore the following programs and tools to see which opportunities are relevant to you:

If you are unsure where to start with funding your business, contact Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership and they can support you.

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