Provincial funds available for businesses in Ontario

The Eastern Ontario Development Fund is a source of funds for business expansion

The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) gives money to businesses, municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for economic development in eastern Ontario. Likewise, the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) gives money for economic development in southwestern Ontario.

Both funds are similar, so, in this article we will primarily focus on EODF. The fund supports projects that create jobs, encourage innovation, collaboration and cluster development, and attract private sector investment

Eligible businesses

Two types of funding are available through the fund: business and regional.

To be eligible for the business stream, businesses need to employ at least 10 people; commit to creating at least 10 new jobs; be able to provide three years of operations/financial statements; be located in, or plan to locate in, a community in eastern Ontario; and invest at least $500,000 in their project.

If your business has between five to 10 employees and is located in small communities, you may be eligible for funding from the Small Community Program. Note that a small community is defined as a municipality with a population less than 20,000 or with a population density of less than 100 persons per square kilometer. In this case, the project needs a minimum investment of $200,000 over four years with a 50% increase in current employment.

To be eligible for the regional stream, projects need to focus on economic and business development and job creation in the community or region; align with provincial and regional priorities, e.g., introducing new forms of innovation, taking part in province-led economic development initiatives; invest more than $100,000; have private sector support; and be used for activities that are new to the organization. For businesses in the graphic arts industry, you must apply to the business stream.

Eligible sectors

Projects in the following sectors are eligible for funding: advanced manufacturing (automotive, aerospace, plastics, clean technologies); life sciences; processing (primary and secondary); information and communication technology; tourism; and cultural industries.

Eligible projects

The following are examples of projects eligible for funding under the EODF/SWODF business stream: New investment in new operations in Eastern or Southwestern Ontario; investment in existing operations to improve competitiveness, productivity and pursue new markets or business expansions involving the introduction of new products or services. For example, new or modified offerings to the marketplace to better meet customer and client needs, entirely new product lines or mandates from within the corporate group.

Funding Amounts

For the business stream, funding amounts can be up to 15% of eligible project costs for a maximum grant of $1.5 million. Successful applicants are expected to contribute at least 50% of total costs from your own resources or through private financing. Applications with investments of more than $10 million that also create more than 50 new jobs may be eligible for a loan of up to $5 million.

Eligible costs 

Costs must be directly attributable to the project. Only project expenses incurred after a project is approved or contracted are eligible and do not include ongoing costs of production or operations. Labour, materials, overhead, and other costs for the production of saleable items are not eligible.

How to Apply

The first step in the application process is the eligibility checklist. Complete the checklist first and submit it to the Eastern Ontario Development Fund office. After your checklist is reviewed, a staff member will contact you. He or she will work with you on the next step: the full application form. 

If you have been contemplating a project, but the return on investment didn’t quite meet your expectations, look again to see how EODF changes the ROI. Beware that like all government programs, this can be cancelled at anytime, so, apply sooner, not later, and as always, you can contact us for further help.

Geographic areas and eligibility 

Download the eligibility checklist at grants.gov.on.ca/GrantsPortal/en/OntarioGrants/GrantOpportunities/PRDR017554 .  

Comments

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