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What is ILEO Storefront Starter?

ILEO Storefront Starter Golden Mile is a FREE three-phase program to help new and aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners from the Greater Golden Mile launch their business idea. Supported by United Way Greater Toronto, the program includes:

  • Over 40 hours of business training from Business in the Streets
  • Real life retail opportunities facilitated by BRIKA in prime locations in Toronto including a month-long storefront in the Distillery District
  •  Access to start-up capital
  • The opportunity to build relationships with some of Canada’s largest corporations participating in the ILEO Initiative convened by United Way Greater Toronto and BMO Financial Group

By joining the program, new and aspiring business owners will build business relationships, skills, confidence, and knowledge in a supportive environment to bring their business idea to the next level.

How Kristiana transformed her business into a reality

Learn how ILEO Storefront Starter has helped Kristiana build Laboterra Cosmetics into a thriving business.

Read the post

Phase 1

Support to Launch​
April 22 to June 17, 2023​

  • Receive free online training led by Business in the Streets (BITS) on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ​
  • Learn business concepts and apply them to your business
  • Develop and execute a strategy to validate your business idea

Phase 2

Test & Learn​
Summer 2023

  • Participate and showcase products in the Distillery District managed by BRIKA
  • Receive free market training from professional retail managers
  • Access a $1,000 grant to help you prepare for the market

Phase 3

Support to Scale​
September 2023 to March 2024​

  • Receive free bootcamp training led by BITS to scale your business idea​
  • Participate in additional retail opportunities around Toronto
  • Access additional start up grants and loans 

llustrations by Storyset

A shop owner at the ILEO Community Storefront in the Distillery District standing in front of a stall.

Meet the Entrepreneurs in the ILEO Community Storefront

Learn about the 20 amazing ILEO Storefront Starter entrepreneurs participating in the ILEO Community Storefront this summer!

Please note that candidates who live or are interested in setting up a business in the following postal codes/neighbourhoods will be given priority:


  • Golden Mile
  • Ionview
  • Victoria Village
  • Eglinton East
  • Kennedy Park
  • Flemingdon Park

Postal Codes (first three characters)

  • M4A
  • M3C
  • M1L
  • M1K
  • M1J
Map of the Golden Mile area outlining the neighbourhoods listed as part of the program.
Eligible Postal Codes: M4A, M3C, M1L, M1K, M1J

Meet previous Storefront Starter Participants

In the 2022-23 program, 10 entrepreneurs received over 40 hours of business coaching, built business relationships with top corporate partners in Canada and participated in multiple pop-up markets  (including at First Canadian Place) and other ILEO corporate purchase initiatives.  Collectively, the 10 participants made over $47,000 in total revenue. Participants were also eligible to receive loans and grants.

Kadaesha Lindsay, Untainted Bath and Body Care.

As a Scarborough native, I am very honoured to be part of this amazing initiative. It brings the community together. It allows us to have exposure. That means a lot.

Kadaesha Lindsay, Untainted Bath and Body Care.

Just even getting a grant to validate this idea really gave me the inspiration and the belief that I really needed to just even get started.

Leo Mai, Akai Organic
Leo Akai creator of Akai Organic
Brian Osoteo creator of Couple Stripes

Storefront Starter allowed us to bring both new and existing customers into one space. It also brought together young, gifted and ambitious entrepreneurs who are like minded and were able to share experiences to help each other grow.

Brian Osoteo, Couple Stripes

Photo Gallery

Do you have a business idea or product that you’d like to take to the next level? Tell us and we will notify you as opportunities come up!

ILEO Partners


The Daniels Corporation

BMO Financial Group

PwC Canada

ACCES Employment

City of Toronto – Entrepreneurship Services


Choice Properties REIT