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Research Guides

Researching your Business Model Canvas

Selecting and using the best library resources to help you plan your business


At this workshop, attendees will:

  • Review the basics of the Business Model Canvas and how it applies to your startup or business
  • Learn which library databases (and free resources) may be the best fit for your canvas
  • Develop sources and search know-how that should save you time and effort, and
  • Get market, industry, or competitor information you can use for your startup or venture.

You may find you get more out of this workshop if you already have a canvas under development for your venture. If you have one, bring it along!  However, this is not required.

What is the Business Model Canvas?

Just getting started on your canvas? Need a refresher before the workshop?

The Business Model Canvas was created by Alexander Osterwalder and is available for free on the Strategyzer website.

This video offers a brief introduction to the structure of the Business Model Canvas.


The online Harvard Business Review article from which the above video was sourced provides some additional context and also links to another video that shows how a canvas applies to an existing company, Nespresso.

Want to know how to apply the canvas for social enterprises or a non-profit venture? The Social Business Model Canvas website provides a free template for social businesses and a sample canvas for the organization. 

The Feminist Business Model Canvas designed by Feminists at Work gives an overview of one feminist approach to building a business, and to compare this approach to more conventional business modelling and tools.

Startup guru Steve Blank also worked with Alexander Osterwalder to create the Mission Model Canvas for organizations whose success metric is not revenue.  A free download of this version of the Canvas can be accessed here on the Strategyzer website.

You can also access the e-book version of Business Model Generation from University of Toronto Libraries.

Workshop Downloads

Download the Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is available for you to use for free under a Creative Commons licence.

Here's how the creators recommend you print and use it:

  • Treat it as a living document, which means revising all the time.
  • To make this possible without killing a bunch of trees, use sticky notes to fill in the canvas sections
  • Or print it in poster format and tape it to the wall.
  • Credit when you use the canvas.