Financing Your Business in Nunavut

Entrepreneurs who are looking to open a business in Nunavut often require external funding in the form of loans or grants. While there are a few financial institutions in the regional centers, community organizations and the local government also offer support to startup businesses.

Government Programs

The Small Business Support Program individuals, organizations, and enterprises and includes three funds, the Sustainable Livelihood, Entrepreneur Development, and Small Business Opportunity Fund. The Sustainable Livelihood Fund offers support to address bookkeeping and legal issues, cover tourism operators’ liability insurance, and finance activities in the harvesting, arts and crafts, and tourism sectors. The Entrepreneur Development Fund offers support for training, including risk management, tourism safety, bookkeeping, and accounting. The Small Business Opportunities Fund supports wind-down, business expansions, start-ups, and pilot projects and offers assistance with marketing and business plans.

The Community Tourism & Cultural Industries Program offers financing to a wide category of individuals and groups, including municipalities, artist cooperatives and studios, artists, societies, and trappers and hunters organizations. Eligible applicants also include artist organizations, tourist establishments, and outfitters.

Private Lenders

Smart Borrowing has detailed list of private lenders that you can contact. Visit: or visit Refresh and Home Trust

Nunavut Business Credit Corporation

Funding of up to $1,000,000 is available to non-Inuit and Inuit businesses and residents, including food producers, artists, retail outlets, outfitters, and hotels and airlines. The types of financing that applicants can choose from are irrevocable standby letter of credit, interim construction financing line of credit, and term loan. Other credit facilities for businesses include indemnify bonds available through bonding companies, provide bonds, and guarantee loans. To apply for financing, borrowers are asked to provide documents such as shareholders register, certificate of incumbency, articles of incorporation, and certificate of compliance. They also need to provide information about key professionals such as their legal counsel, insurance brokerage, and accounting or bookkeeping firm. Additionally, applicants present a business plan that includes their budget, pro-forma financial statements, and resumes of key management and owners. Finally, all applicants are required to submit an environmental checklist with details such as construction date of buildings, property historical use, environmental assessments, and planned use of property (undeveloped, recreational, residential, industrial, etc.)

Nunavut Development Corporation

The corporation offers investment capital to operations based on demonstrated income-generation and job creation potential, commercial viability, and co-investment. Businesses are asked to fill in an equity financing application form and due diligence checklist, including history of the company and important events such as dispositions, acquisitions, mergers, and startups. Other details to identify are strategic priorities, value statements and corporate mission, and any subsidiaries, divisions, and shareholders.

Inuit Funding Organizations

The main Inuit organizations are Kivalliq Partners in Development, the Kakivak Association, and the Atuqtuarvik Corporation. Kivalliq Partners in Development offers financing in the form of grants for business relief, expansion, startup, and pre-startup. Funding up to $125,000 is available to Kivalliq businesses. The Kakivak Association offers grants and loans to businesses across sectors, including secured term loans and grants for expansion and startup and pre-startup. Small tool grants are also available to assist businesses with purchasing sewing machines and carving tools. The Atuqtuarvik Corporation offers equity investments and loans to Inuit-based businesses, including partnerships and sole proprietorships. Applicants are asked to present a business plan with details such as skills, training, and personal assessment, management, operating requirements, and project funding and costs. Other requirements to meet are to obtain a certificate of compliance, business number, and a license from the local community office. The latter is required for businesses in communities with a city, town, village, and hamlet status.

Exploring Nunavut – Canada’s Arctic

Nunavut is Canada’s largest territory and the home to a unique flora and fauna which makes it the ideal destination for fishing, hunting, and dogsledding. Some of the popular tourist spots not to miss here are the Auyuittuq National Park, Naujaat, and Iqaluit, offering plenty of opportunities to meet locals and learn about their traditions and observe wild animals in their natural habitat.

Auyuittuq National Park

Found within the Arctic Circle, the Auyuittuq National Park is dominated by rivers, deep valleys, mountains, and glaciers which attract skiers and hikers. As the terrain is challenging, visitors can use a snowmobile or dogsled to cross the 95-kilometre Akshayuk Pass. Its mountains, rugged cliffs, and glaciers offer excellent opportunities for backpacking, hiking, summer climbing, skiing, and camping in the wilderness. Visitors also have the chance to see remnants of traditional way of life such as fox traps, kayak stands, and tent rings. While wildlife and vegetation are scarce here, the park is bordered by sea and visitors can occasionally spot beluga whales and herp seals and ringed seals. Wildlife in the park is represented by Arctic hares and foxes, polar bears, snowy owls, wolves, and red foxes.


Also located on the Arctic Circle, Naujaat tends to experience some rough weather which is why just slightly over 1,000 people live here. Arctic tundra, charming inlets, and rolling hills characterize the landscape and makes it ideal for a variety of outdoor activities. There is plenty to do here, from bird watching and kayaking to hiking, ATV riding, and fishing. The area is the home to snow geese, peregrine falcons, tundra swans, and seagulls.


The capital of Nunavut Iqaluit is found in the Everett Mountains and has a population of 7,740. Its residents rely on sea connections for imported commodities as there is no rail or road for a good part of the year. The city can only be accessed by boat and air subject to weather conditions.

Here traditional culture and way of life is virtually everywhere, from annual festivals to musicians and arts and crafts. While Iqaluit has a polar climate, that doesn’t stop tourists from visiting from some great dogsledding, snowmobiling, and hiking. Traditional activities are also berry picking, fishing, and hunting.

The capital also has two sports complexes, Arnaitok and the Arctic Winter Games Arena.  There are plenty of opportunities to practice sports, with facilities like outdoor ice rinks, soccer nets, basketball courts, a golf course, skate park, and shooting range.

What to Do

Bird Sanctuaries

As Nunavut is the home to a number of parks and conservation areas, visitors enjoy diverse ecosystems and bird and animal species. There are 11 bird sanctuaries with interesting and protected species such as sea birds, cranes, and geese. Akimiski Island is a popular spot to observe ducks and geese in summer and spring and spot polar bears and beluga whales. Boatswain Bay, which is found on James Bay has large populations of geese and ducks, including the Lesser Snow Goose, Atlantic Brant, and America Black Duck.

Wilderness Lodges

Close to a range of outdoor activities, Nunavut’s wilderness lodges offer visitors the chance to experience a mix of freedom, unique culinary delights, and adventure. Season-wise, visitors will arrive by a snowmobile, dogsled, boat, or floatplane to enjoy nature. There is no scarcity of activities to try, from cross-country and para sliding and fat biking, to rafting down rapids, kayaking by icebergs, fishing, and trekking. Some lodges offer select activities such as hunting and fishing while others offer custom expeditions. Tourists also enjoy traditional food represented by freshly baked bannock, barbecued caribou burgers, smoked char, tundra blueberry compote, and muskox meatballs.

Hiking and Camping

In summer, tourists can hike the Akshayuk Pass, along the shores of Whale cove for beluga whale sightings, or the Polar Bear Pass and its migratory bird wetlands. Visiting the communities of Chesterfield Inlet, Ranking Inlet, and Baker Lake is a wonderful opportunity to observe calving grounds and caribous. Those who wish to experience authentic winter igloo-camping can do so with a local guide and near all of Nunavut’s communities.