Starting Your Business

October 18, 2021

Small businesses make up about 92% of Nova Scotia’s business community. They create jobs, build our communities and contribute to economic growth.

Let’s Get Started

Here are some common steps for entrepreneurs at the early stages of developing their business.

Whether you are determining what type of business ownership is right for your business or need guidance on how to write a successful business plan, the Government of Canada’s website has lots of resources on how to Plan a Business.

For resources within Nova Scotia, check out the Province of Nova Scotia’s Registry of Joint Stock Companies Business Planning Tool to get you started on a local level.


When selecting a name for your business keep these things in mind:

  • Be sure the name reflects the products or services you offer
  • Think about how you would like your business to be perceived
  • Pick something that is easy to pronounce and remember
  • Make it unique and distinctive to avoid confusion and legal issues

By law, the name of your business can’t be the same as, or very similar to, an existing corporate name or trademark. There are a few places you should check to see whether a name is taken:

In Nova Scotia, it is easy to register your business or non-profit with Registry of Joint Stock Companies. Most businesses and non-profits need to register before they start operating.

Step 1: Decide what legal structure is good for you and your business

How you set up the structure of your business depends on what sort of work will do. This can also affect the way you pay taxes on a federal and provincial level. Before you register with Registry of Joint Stock Companies, choose a legal structure for your business.

Step 2: Reserve a name

Sometimes there are guidelines you need to follow when choosing a name for your business. The Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies has a Guide to Reserving a Name. Businesses are required to apply to reserve a name before they register, incorporate or change an existing name. Click here to see how to Reserve a name for your business.

Step 3: Register your business

Once your name is Reserved, you can register your business! Nova Scotia’s online service makes registering easy!

When starting a business you might apply for permits and licenses that you may need for your business from all three levels of government.

BizPaL is a service provided by the federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments to help entrepreneurs find the permits and licenses they may require when starting and operating their businesses.

A number of different organizations are available to help businesses with financing, depending on your needs and current situation.

Nova Scotia Association of CBDCs assists in the creation of small businesses and in the expansion and modernization of existing businesses by providing financial and technical services to entrepreneurs.

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) works to create opportunities for economic growth in the region by helping businesses become more competitive, innovative and productive, by working with communities to develop and diversify local economies, and by championing the strengths of Atlantic Canada.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada supports the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector through initiatives that promote innovation and competitiveness.

You can find more business support and financing opportunities from the Government of Canada.

From Concept to Reality

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