The Ontario government has a well-documented plan to revitalize and grow Ontario’s economy towards prosperity by increasing available jobs while improving quality of life for residents. Ontario’s Innovation Agenda is living proof of their dedication to this cause.
The Innovation Agenda encourages investments towards research and innovation that will help the province become more profitable, investing in external entrepreneurs and home-grown talent at the provincial level. The Ontario government desires global recognition as commerce-friendly jurisdictions in science, engineering, business, entrepreneurship, and the creative arts. They are ready and willing to support the growth of companies looking to expand their innovations and successes.
As such, they provide a variety of different government funding for business opportunities for new companies hoping to establish themselves within Ontario. One such initiative is Investing in Business Innovation (IBI). Innovation is in this funding profile’s name for a reason: it supports new and developing entrepreneurs looking to create locally and globally products that are relevant and competitive.
Private sector investments and insider expertise are essential elements required for increasing competitiveness. IBI support helps businesses succeed by providing the necessary angel investors and partnerships that businesses need, giving them the tools and knowledge to become industry leaders. IBI measures the potential success of these businesses on their attractiveness to angel and/or venture capital investors to support their endeavours.
Who Can Apply?
IBI provides government funding for not-for-profit organizations that deliver skill development and seed financing to upcoming entrepreneurs.
Funding is also available for innovative, early stage businesses comprised of less than fifty employers. This is designed to help them leverage angel and capital investment initiatives.
Finally, the IBI supports Southern-Ontario based angel investor networks.
What are the Eligible Activities?
Not-for-profit organizations supporting entrepreneurs to grow their business skills can apply for IBI finding in order to provide entrepreneurs with the education and seed financing that they require for investment readiness. This might cover areas such as business and market development skills programs, early stage business development programs, or seed financing programs and support.
For early-stage businesses focusing on furthering their growth strategies, this initiative supports activities tied to the late or early stage commercialization of unique or innovative processes. This includes business development, such as creating high-performance teams, improving governance and investment readiness, and tailoring management strategies to make the best uses of processes and systems.
The IBI also encourages early stage businesses with focuses on late-stage product development for market diversification and growth, customer and market development, and increasing and executing marketing distribution strategies.
The initiative also assists eligible Angel Investor Networks in Ontario. So far they have invested close to $184 million into 313 firms. IBI hopes to streamline this process, making it more efficient and effective so that contributors centre their investments towards start-up businesses with high growth potential. These areas of focus include building capacity, outreach, mentorship provision, education and resource development, and coordination or convening.
Eligible Applicants and Projects
In order to receive funding, projects need sufficient outlining, including project cost, other funding, and a demonstrated ability to complete projects on time. Applicants require a sustainable business model, including the proper staff and management with the skills to help support developing entrepreneurs become investment-ready businesses.
Projects relating to business and market development skills, early-stage business development programs, and seed financing programs and support receive priority consideration, with costs ranging from labour to expertise to non-capital expenditures. Any outlined project cost requires justification in relation to the proposed activities.
Available Funding Amounts
The IBI considers eligible candidates for non-repayable contributions of up to $20 million per project, covering up to 100% of eligible costs.
Here are some specific breakdowns for these costs:
- Successful applicants can provide up to $10,000 per new entrepreneur for the purpose of business training
- Matching funding for new start-up entrepreneurs covers up to 50% of eligible costs required for starting a new business, to a maximum of $30,000. Start-ups contribute the remaining 50%
- Focusing up to 10% of the financial contributions towards an organization’s support outreach and project administration costs
- All projects require completion by December 31, 2018
Successful projects negotiate and execute a contribution agreement. Investing in Business Innovation rewards government funding towards businesses based on the percentage of approved funding in relation to eligible costs, which are determined on a per-application basis. To find out more information about the application process, contact our team at INAC today. Our company has strong roots in Ontario, and we are committed to helping new entrepreneurs succeed in this province. Whether you are an entrepreneur or an investor, let us get you started today!