November 11th, 2015
The province of Ontario has a well-documented Innovation Agenda designed to drive a healthy economy that provides jobs for Ontarians. This agenda focuses on achieving high levels of prosperity across the province, creating healthy and sustainable communities.
Doing so requires attracting the best and brightest innovators from around the world while keeping Canadian talent in the province. Attracting innovation comes at a cost, but this is a price the province is willing to pay: there are several high value government funding opportunities for businesses in a variety of sectors, from creative arts to engineering to science to business.
The Ontario Government wants to firmly place the province on a global scale as a commerce-friendly jurisdiction focused on innovation, growth, and capital. One funding initiative designed to achieve this vision is the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII), established in July of 2012. SOFII gives interest-bearing business loans that support innovation and growth for small to medium-sized SMEs across the region.
This program’s goal supports not only job creation, but also increased competitiveness, market penetration, market share, and stability for eligible companies.
SOFII delivers funding through FedDev Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative. In 2014, FedDev announced a further $20 million investment into the Southern Ontario Fund. The program has been a great success to date, investing $12.75 million while leveraging $37.5 million into 23 projects. This translates to the creation of roughly 867 jobs across Southern Ontario as well.
SOFII supports SMEs from rural and urban areas in Southern Ontario, with focuses on late stage commercialization, new applications or markets, new product or service development, or the development and implementation of new processes or technologies. The program supports all stages of this process from concept to market launch.
The design of SOFII benefits SMEs that are unable to obtain funding from other lending sources. Applicants should have matching investments from private investment or equity partnerships to help offset some of the costs.
Eligible SMEs include those employing between 50 and 500 employees. If organizations lack 50 employees, they need to prove their ability to reach a 50-employee threshold within three years.
Applicants should be suitable for public funding while demonstrating a reasonable expectation for economic viability. This includes showcasing the organization’s abilities and experiences running its business. And, most importantly, there needs to be a job retention or creation aspect to all applicants that benefits Southern Ontario residents.
This fund supports the following industries (although not exclusively so): pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, software, new materials, health biotech, medical equipment, and avionics.
SOFII provides government funding for SMEs in rural and urban areas. They offer amounts ranging from $150,000 to $500,000 designed to offset any costs associated with growth.
As suggested, the design of SOFII is not intended as a primary funding opportunity. It operates as one element in a larger investment strategy for SMEs, serving as a catalyst for further investment from other sources. SOFII is but one of the success elements for emerging high-growth companies from Southern Ontario.
If you are looking for any more information on the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment, or any other government funding profile for your business, get in contact with Ontario-based INAC Services. Our team can help you put together a strong application that will get your SME noticed!