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As a business owner in Canada, registering or incorporating your business is an important step, but sometimes it can be difficult to set aside the time needed. This is where Ownr can help. We spoke with Ownr and founder Shadi McIsaac, about how they’re not only helping Canadian entrepreneurs register or incorporate their business but providing them with the support they need to succeed.

Firstly, can you explain to us what Ownr is and how you’re helping Canadian business owners get started?

Ownr is a digital platform to register or incorporate your business simply, quickly, and affordably. We make the process of starting a business simple and seamless so that business owners can focus their time on what they do best. 

We understand that starting a business can be stressful, so we’ve created a platform that helps entrepreneurs every step of the way. We have an excellent customer success team to help guide business owners through the process of business registration, partner offers with an array of deals and discounts to help business owners save money, and useful tools and resources accessible through our blog. We are here to support entrepreneurs when they need it most.

Is there a story behind the launch of Ownr, where did the idea come from?

I am the daughter of immigrant parents who embraced their entrepreneurial grit, so I’ve seen first-hand the meaningful impact that entrepreneurship can have on Canadians and the opportunity it gives them not only to provide for themselves and their families but to shape their lives.

Being witness to the struggles entrepreneurs face, I wanted to give Canadians, with aspirations of all kinds, the opportunity to realize their goals and potential through new business creation. As an RBC Ventures company, this ambition aligns with RBC’s ongoing commitment to empower and enable small business owners.

In November 2017, Ownr registered its first business. We are proud to share that since then, we have helped launch over 17,000 businesses in Canada.

Does Ownr offer additional support to new Canadian small businesses looking for advice and guidance?

Absolutely. We’ve simplified the registration process so that it can be done quickly and easily on one online platform. Our customer success team is available for 1-on-1 consultations to help guide new business owners through the registration process and answer any questions they may have. We also provide a ton of useful content and resources on the Ownr Blog, covering a broad range of topics, to support entrepreneurs at any stage of their business. 

Ownr Perks sounds interesting, can you explain what it is?

Many entrepreneurs are cash strapped at the outset, and many are looking for the products and services they’ll need to run their business. We created Ownr Perks as a home for small business owners to access exclusive partner offers that have been carefully curated to help them start, run, and grow their business, and save money along the way. When you register or incorporate your business with Ownr, you instantly receive access to all Ownr Perks. Ownr customers can get thousands of dollars in value with exclusive offers from Telus, Etsy, ShipStation, Staples, RBC, and more.

When it comes to choosing between incorporation and a sole proprietorship, do you have any advice for business owners?

There are different legal and tax implications for choosing a business structure, so we recommend business owners take the time to consult with an accountant or lawyer to choose the structure that best suits their needs. While we cannot provide legal advice on the best structure for a business owner, we can provide the information needed to help make an educated and informed decision.

If a business owner registers as a sole proprietorship, they are able to incorporate at a later date, if they so choose. We highlight some of the key benefits and considerations of incorporation and sole proprietorship business structures here.

Technology obviously plays an important role for most Canadian small businesses, is the process of working with Ownr fully online?

Yes, we are proudly a fully digital solution. Ownr’s digital capabilities provide a platform that reduces the business registration process to minutes, saving business owners time and money. While our suite of business services is fully accessible online, depending on the province, the government may mail documents to your business address.

For a small business owner, what is the benefit of working with Ownr as opposed to tackling the registration process on their own?

Ownr has taken what can be seen as the intimidating and tedious process of starting a business and turned it into a simple, convenient and trustworthy experience for entrepreneurs. We have made the process of registering with the government more convenient by simplifying the process and making it easier to understand (no legal jargon!), and supporting you along the way. Ownr’s digital suite of services includes business registration and incorporation (within minutes!), custom logo and branding services, Ownr Perks to help you save on all your business needs, and even money back when you open an RBC business bank account after registering or incorporating with Ownr.

Do you have any future plans you would like to share? Are you planning on expanding the services Ownr offers to business owners?

We recently partnered with Tailor Brands, a custom logo and branding tool, that Ownr businesses get access to upon business registration. We continuously strive to provide business owners with a platform to not only register or incorporate their business but build and grow their brand. We are committed to helping bring businesses online and providing a breadth of services, tools, and education useful to business owners, so look out for some exciting updates soon.

Caitlin Wood avatar on Loans Canada
Caitlin Wood

Caitlin Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Loans Canada and specializes in personal finance. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. Caitlin has covered various subjects such as debt, credit, and loans. Her work has been published on Zoocasa, GoDaddy, and deBanked. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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