Financial help for the manufacturing sector

It started April 1, 2014 as part of the Government of Canada’s 2013 Economic Action Plan introduced in December of that same year. The Advanced Manufacturing Fund (AMF) is a $200 million fund targeting the southern Ontario manufacturing sector and is being delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Specifically, the AMF is targeted to promote continued growth of Ontario’s advanced manufacturing sector by supporting efforts to develop cutting-edge technologies and large-scale activities that will improve processes and increase productivity. Its aim is to establish clusters or global supply chains in collaboration with the private sector, as well as research and post-secondary institutions.

In introducing the new fund, Minister Gary Goodyear, Federal Minister of State for FedDev Ontario explained it this way: “Through the Advanced Manufacturing Fund, our government is looking ahead to the new and innovative products or production methods that will push Ontario to the forefront of high-tech manufacturing. With this investment, we are helping manufacturers in the province to build momentum and push to be more competitive on the global stage.”

Repayable funding is available for manufacturing companies that are either undertaking manufacturing activities or conducting research and development in Ontario. Fifty percent support to the total project cost must be provided by industry, or in the case of collaboration with post-secondary and/or research institutions, from other sources. It’s expected that the AMF-supported investment will create new and innovative products or production methods, with market entry or commercialization within five years. Technologies developed and/or adopted under AMF must be new, or applied in a unique and innovative manner.

Activities that are eligible for funding
Activities related to prototyping, demonstration projects, advanced product testing, and applied research leading to a practical application.
Work undertaken to achieve technological advancement through the creation/improvement of existing materials, devices, products or processes and/or…..
The adoption or adaptation of highly innovative products, technologies (e.g., machinery and equipment), and processes that support product or process innovation.

Eligible activities led by not-for-profit organizations, in addition to the above, include industry-relevant, scientifically-advanced research in cutting-edge technologies with the potential to support commercial applications and a long-term competitive advantage for manufacturing in Ontario.

Eligible costs
Eligible costs can include labour, expertise, capital and non-capital expenses. As stated in the AMF Guidelines: “All costs must be reasonable, necessary and directly related to eligible activities. Any costs determined as not reasonable, and/or necessary and/or not directly related to the eligible project activities will be ineligible. Also, any costs incurred prior to the eligibility date as defined by FedDev Ontario and any costs incurred after December 31, 2018 will not be supported.

Federal Government goals for AMF
As stated at the fund launch, AMF will promote continued growth of Ontario’s advanced manufacturing sector by supporting large-scale, transformative manufacturing activities that will increase productivity, lead to greater economic output, create cutting-edge companies driven by innovation, establish clusters or supply chains, and foster collaboration between the private sector, research institutions and post-secondary institutions. Advanced manufacturing includes the development and/or adoption of cutting-edge technologies that demonstrate a commitment to product, process and technological innovation.

While the fund will be targeting projects between $10 million and $20 million for up to one-half of total eligible project costs, projects seeking less than $10 million or more than $20 million may also be considered. If you have a project in mind, but need a boost in funds, your application must provide evidence of industry support from non-government sources for at least 50% of the project costs – and it must clearly demonstrate how the project responds to innovation, market relevance and spillover economic benefits. As always, the better organized your proposal, the more likely you will be granted the funds.

Applications can be submitted during two intake periods. Intake 2014 will be accepting applications until October 1, 2014. Intake 2015 will start on January 1, 2015 and end on October 1, 2015. Like all governmental funding programs, there is a budget. Once it’s used up, that’s it! So as the old adage says…..“the early bird gets the worm.”

To learn more about this program, you can consult http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/irap/index.html and of course you can always contact the author by email at eschiller@teegerschiller.com or phone at 1-888-816-0222 Ext. 102.

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Elliot Schiller is a Director at Toronto’s Teeger Schiller Inc., a firm specializing in government funding and systems selection/implementation. His clients receive over $5 M annually to support ongoing business innovation. E-mail eschiller@teegerschiller.com, visit www.FundingHelp.ca or phone 1-888-816-0222 Ext. 102