With a decreasing population that is largely comprised of aging citizens, northern Ontario provides challenges for growing businesses. Due to immense migration of youth talent, either to other provinces or moving to southern Ontario, businesses in the northern part of the province are having difficulties finding quality workers – especially skilled labour.
Although northern Ontario business grants are available to hire workers, this approach alone may not be enough for manufacturers and other larger businesses who require have production requirements. Therefore, also investing in your business to become more efficient and innovative is a critical growth strategy.
Northern Ontario government funding can also assist manufacturers with business expansion activities, including operational assessments and productivity improvements. Through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program (NODP), businesses can receive repayable funding contributions that will help perform long-term growth activities. The Targeted Manufacturing Initiative is one of many government funding programs included in NODP and specifically targets productivity improvements among manufacturers in the region.
Targeted Manufacturing Initiative: Northern Ontario Funding for Manufacturers
The Targeted Manufacturing Initiative seeks to increase manufacturing capacity across northern Ontario by providing up to 33% of capital expenses and up to 50% of non-capital expenses to:
- Increase the efficiency for production facilities;
- Enhance the capabilities of manufacturers;
- Increase the competitiveness of northern Ontario’s manufacturing sector; and
- Increase a business’ profitability and export revenues.
These mandates will be supported through two streams of repayable government funding contributions. Each stream provides 0% interest loans; this enables businesses to make strategic investments that provide enhanced opportunities in the future:
Operational Assessments: Often the first stage in business investment/expansion, receiving operational assessments from a manufacturing facility expert will help identify the areas of your business in greatest need for improvement. A manufacturing assessment expert from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) will reveal the most important investments to help manufacturers increase production and profitability.
Productivity Improvements: Once an assessment has been completed, either internally or by a CME expert, businesses can request northern Ontario government funding to complete these upgrades. Enhanced productivity across the company will then help businesses to hire new employees and continue their expansion plans.
Businesses Eligible to Receive FedNor Targeted Manufacturing Initiative Funding
To be considered eligible for this Ontario small business funding program, please ensure that your organization:
- Is located in northern Ontario;
- Manufactures goods as its primary business activity;
- Maintains fewer than 500 employees; and
- Has plans to grow within northern Ontario.
Projects Eligible to Receive Targeted Manufacturing Initiative Funding from FedNor
Small business modernization projects are the primary focus of FedNor’s Targeted Manufacturing Initiative. Almost any activity that will improve, innovate, or automate the manufacturing process is likely to receive Ontario government loans. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Production/Operations assessments for lean manufacturing, quality controls, ISO standardization, and information and communications technology (ICT);
- Implementation of business systems, such as ERP and CRM solutions; and
- Plant equipment and other capital expenses.
Small Business Expenses Eligible for FedNor NODP Funding
A variety of business expansion expenses can be included in Targeted Manufacturing Initiative project proposals. These include:
- Production equipment including digital hardware and software that improve the manufacturing process;
- Equipment installation fees;
- Employee training programs to accelerate adoption of the new equipment; and
- Upgrades to existing production equipment via automation.
Expenses Ineligible for FedNor NODP Manufacturing Funding
Any costs that are not directly related to project completion will not be considered for funding. This includes:
- Vehicles and transportation;
- Studies performed by organizations other than Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME);
- Overhead costs; and
- Depreciation costs.
Receive Canadian Government Funding for Manufacturing Expansion Projects
Across Canada, manufacturers are often the primary targets for government grants, loans, and tax incentives. Accessing this Canadian business funding can be a tricky process, however for most manufacturers, it makes sense to start by completing a project budget that outlines a project’s expenses over the next 1-3 years.
By accessing a Project Expense Planning & Funding Calculator, businesses can quickly and easily discover the value of government grants and loans that their unique project may be eligible for. Businesses should then consider registering for a small business funding webinar. Mentor Works hosts frequent sessions devoted to Canadian government funding for manufacturing growth; register to discover how to get started with grants and loans.
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