$1 million Available for Labour Retention and Attraction as well as Training
The Addressing Labour Supply and Training Challenges program advertises 90% funding towards projects that implement new, enhanced or expanded approaches to attract, train and retain labour in the agri-food and agri-product sectors. Eligible Ontario public and private sector organizations include but not limited to food packaging produces, logistics/transportation operations, equipment manufacturers, veterinarian services, nutraceuticals, etc. as well as agriculture producers and processors. Examples of possible eligible projects are providing in-house technical skills training on specific technologies, outreach activities that connect labour supply with opportunities in the agri-food and agri-products, sector and regional employment events. and creating employee advancement programs. Although individual applications are accepted, preference will be given to multi-partnered projects that have broad sector benefit. Note that the program is not accepting application from aquaculture since the sector already has schools (of fish).
The Agri-Food Open for E-Business program offers two funding Streams to support online market development for Ontario agriculture, agri-food and agri-products businesses/organizations (e.g. farmers, processors, farmers markets, on-farm markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries, associations, etc.).
Steam 1: Provides up to 90% funding to a maximum of $5,000 towards establishing an E-business presence for retaining and/or expanding sales through selling directly to customers. Projects must begin no earlier than April 24,2020 and be completed by November 30, 2020
Steam 2: Provides up to 90% funding to a maximum of $75,000 towards projects that create new, expand or enhance e-business capabilities (including marketing and sales platforms for bringing products to customers), and/or towards projects that create and/or expand new markets and revenue streams. Projects must begin no earlier than April 24,2020 and completed by September 30, 2022
Eligible Activities include but not limited to:
- Development, enhancement and expansion of an online marketing/sales platform (e.g. e-commerce capability, website, online ordering, overall web presence)
- Initial or start-up licensing or subscription fees up to six months
- Domain acquisition
- Website design and graphic development
- Marketing (e.g. search engine optimization, web ads, building social media presence)
- Distribution system/model development
- Training key personnel on processes
- Initial development and validation of new operational processes, including creating processes for logistics of delivery through new marketing channels, shipping, delivery, fulfillment, warehousing and related transactions
- Minor facility modifications to address social distancing requirements that are directly related to the project (e.g. curb side pickup for online orders)
- Piloting sales practices and systems
- The market development and promotion of new “Ontario-only” branding that compete against another Province’s or Territory’s product.
- Business as usual expenses.
Applicants can apply for both Streams. Preference will be given to projects that have and benefit more than one eligible business.
Please note that obtaining funding will be highly competitive as the total program budget is $2.5 million.
The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SODF) advertised 15% up to $5 million in grants and four-year interest-free loans towards investments that create jobs and lead to economic growth. Eligible expenditures include equipment, consulting services, facility retrofits and expansions, as well as employee training and other project-related costs incurred over 3 to 4 years. Businesses are required to have 3 years of financial statements and be (or plan to be) located in one of the following Southwestern Ontario counties: (Brant, Bruce, Chatham-Kent, Dufferin, Elgin, Essex, Grey, Haldimand, Huron, Lambton, Middlesex, Niagara, Norfolk, Oxford, Perth, Simcoe, Waterloo and Wellington)
Applicants in rural communities (populations under 100,000) must have at least 5 employees and may receive up to $500,000 as a grant. Rural businesses are required to make investments of no less than $200,000.
Applicants in communities with populations over 100,000 may receive 15% up to $5 million as an interest-free loan. These businesses must have 10 or more employees and plan to invest at least $500,000. Up to 30% of the loan is forgivable to a maximum of $500,000 if the applicant achieves its job creation and investment targets. Only expenses incurred after receiving approval (i.e. July 15, 2020) will be eligible for reimbursement
Strategic new investments to Ontario (companies without a presence in Ontario), or companies whose investment plans (including new mandates, expansions or re-shoring/relocation) are subject to significant risk due to incentives offered from other jurisdictions, are eligible to receive 15% up to $1.5 million as a grant.
Businesses with 15 or more employees must create 5 jobs by project completion. Companies with fewer employees are required to increase their workforce by 30%. Only costs incurred after approval are eligible for funding.
There is also 50% grants funding up to $1.5 million for community economic development.
Next application intake deadline is Friday, May 29, 2020.
Program Supports Business Growth and the Adoption of Innovative Technology
The BioEnterprise Smartgrowth program advertises 40% funding from $40,000 to $100,000 to accelerate the expansion of companies operating in agri-tech, agri-food, agri-products, cleantech and related sectors*, as well as increase the adoption/adaptation of innovative agri-technologies. Eligible activities include but are not limited to:
- Marketing: implementation of strategies to expand or access new and emerging domestic or export markets.
- Demonstrations and Pilots: for retaining, expanding or accessing new domestic or export markets.
- Intellectual Property (IP) Protection: to accelerate growth including patents, trademarks, industrial design or copyright activities. Possible activities though not limited to education, technical literature reviews and prior art patent searches. Filing/office fees are not eligible.
- Regulatory Compliance: activities the support access to specialized technical services, certifications, regulatory requirements.
- Other Commercial Activities that support growth and expansion.
Eligible project costs are:
- up to 15% for equipment and internal employee labour
- up to 5% of legal and intellectual property professional services
- up to 40% for consulting and professional services (which BioEnterprise may be able to provide)
- up to 40% for consumable materials, and external premises rented specifically to carry out project activities
- economy travel and accommodations
Maximum funding per project is limited to 20% of the applicant’s annual revenues.
Businesses must be operating in Southern Ontario, have less than 500 employees, have 2 years of independently reviewed financial statements, and generate a minimum of $200,000 annually in sales. Moreover, to be considered for funding, applicants must agree to pay a minimum of $1,999 for an annual membership to Canada’s Food & Agri-Tech Engine.
Please note that successful applicants are required to pay BioEnterprise a 10% contingency fee (i.e. an administration fee) against approved funding (e.g. if approved for $100,000 the contingency fee is $10,000). This contingency fee must be paid prior to receiving reimbursement from the program. Also, note that there is a total of $2.4 million available to be awarded over 4 years/intakes. Letter of Intent deadline is 12:00 pm, Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
*Businesses must have technologies at or beyond Technology Readiness Level 7 to apply
The Second Career program offers $28,000 in non-repayable funding towards tuition fees, books, child care, transportation and basic cost of allowance ($410/week)expenses for temporary and permanent laid-off workers to pursue community or private college instruction. Although the program states that applicants must have been searching for work for 26 weeks prior to applying, attestation of this requirement has become less stringent during the covid-19 outbreak. Moreover, those laid off from the manufacturing or the auto sector on or after January 1, 2019 are fully exempt from this requirement.
Please be aware that a temporary laid-off applicant becomes no longer eligible for the funding if called back to work prior to being registered in training program. Most classroom programs do not confirm registration until July-August. However, there are numerous on-line courses available and confirm registration is as early as May 2020.
COVID-19 Challenge: Made in Canada filtration material for the manufacture of N95 respirators and surgical masks is offering $6 million towards the development and production of an alternative filtration materials for use in the manufacturing of NIOSH-certified N95 respirators and Surgical Face masks tested to ASTM F2100. The proposed filtration material must be able to be manufactured at a rate no less than 50,000 m2/year, and:
- meet superior requirements such as ASTM F2100 Level 2 or 3 for Surgical face masks, as demonstrated by test data.
- can be used at least twice without loss of efficiency, for example through washing or sterilization.
- able to deactivate viruses while being non-toxic to human health.
Phase 1 funding is up to $1 million to present a cost-effective solution for laboratory or pilot scale production of the alternative material. Funding is for a maximum of seven days and will be awarded to 2 applicants
Phase 2 is up to $5 million and is for commissioning the production of the alternative material including equipment purchases, retrofits, hiring of staff, etc. The funding is for up to 4 weeks and will be awarded to 1 applicant
Deadline for applications is April 13, 2020.
Please Note: Although not stated in the application description, we believe that selection will also be based on the applicant’s ability to quickly begin manufacturing. Conventional filtration materials are composed of polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), or bi-component fibers (PP-PE), or other appropriate polymeric fibers for medical applications. Those fibers, in the form of micro-fibers, nano-fibers or mixtures thereof, are commonly manufactured using extrusion technologies (such as melt blowing) before being assembled into a non-woven.