December 28th, 2015
In 2013, Canadian manufacturing revenues totalled $591 billion, with $270 billion originating in Ontario. There are nearly 80,000 manufacturing establishments across the country that are all important contributors to national and local economies, generating significant amounts of exports. Over 30,000 of these are in Ontario alone.
As Gary Goodyear, the Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario argues, “[o]ur Government’s continued support for advanced manufacturing in southern Ontario is creating high-quality jobs, growth and economic prosperity in the region. A key part in this continued success is to ensure that government, researchers and Canadian businesses are working collaboratively in order to bridge the gap between new ideas and the marketplace.”
Of course, Ontario does not rely on manufacturing alone. This is where the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund comes in. This initiative provides government funding for businesses, municipalities, and not for profit organizations who encourage economic development in Southwestern Ontario. This includes a focus on job creation, innovation, collaboration, attracting private sector investment, and cluster development.
This fund classifies Southwestern Ontario by the following eighteen geographic areas:
Eligible projects within these areas include advanced manufacturing, covering the automotive, aerospace, plastics, and clean technologies industries; life sciences; primary and secondary food processing; information and communication technology, cultural industries, and tourism. Eligible businesses meeting these criteria can apply to one of two streams: the business stream and the regional stream.
Applicants for the business stream include businesses that employ at least ten people who have a committed plan of employing at least ten additional employees. Prospective applicants need to provide three years of operations or financial statements for relating to their business. These businesses also need to invest a minimum of CAD $500,000 into their venture.
The Southwestern Ontario Development provides government funding not only for large businesses, but for small ones as well. Businesses composed of five to ten employees can also receive funding under the Small Community Pilot initiative, which is a subset of the Business Stream. A “small community” covers municipalities with populations below 20,000 individuals, or an area with a population density below 100 persons per square kilometre. These businesses require a minimum investment of $200,000 over four years, with a 50% increase in employment during this time.
The regional stream provides a broader approach. Applicants for this stream work within a geographically defined area, which make plans to generate business development and job creation. These initiatives should be in line with wider provincial and regional expectations, such as the creation of innovative processes or techniques, or any other existing provincial government initiatives.
These regional initiatives need at least CAD $100,000 in investment, and they require private sector support. For organizations, any proposed activities should be outside the parameters of activities they currently perform.
Under the business stream, the Southwestern Ontario Development fund covers up to 15% of qualified costs to a total amount of CAD $1.5 million. For investments greater than CAD $10 million that might generate over fifty new jobs, there are available loans of up to CAD $5 million. Applicants need to cover at least half of their overall costs using their own funds, or use private financing to do so.
For the regional stream, funding covers up to 50% of qualified costs up to a total amount of CAD $1.5 million. Applicants must cover at least 35% of overall costs, or provide this amount through private investment.
Successful applicants cannot combine the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund from either stream with any other provincial programs.
All applicants need to meet this fund’s goals of creating investment and job opportunities in their particular regions. Projects must be achievable while demonstrating their economic benefits to the business and the overall region. Contact us at INAC today so we can help you customize your application to meet and exceed the listed requirements. We can provide you with information on any other government funding opportunity that can help your business as well.