Growing Forward 2 Ontario is a 5-year (2013-2018) Ontario government funding program aimed at supporting innovative, competitive projects led by organizations within the province’s agri-food industry. Nearly $4.5 million is provided to Ontario applicants each year to solve industry challenges and enhance their competitiveness, which in turn boosts the province’s economic output.
Through these small business grants, businesses can access Ontario government funding for a variety of business expansion projects such as implementing new technologies that lead to productivity enhancements, performing strategic planning, and implementing new business processes including food safety and animal/plant welfare protocols.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario is organized into three distinct streams that businesses may apply to during various times of the year, otherwise known as application intake dates. This blog will help to clarify which stream of funding is most appropriate for your business, as well as the intake dates that your business must apply by to receive funding in 2016.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario: Small Business Funding Streams
Ontario business grants will be awarded to businesses and partnerships that fall under the following three classifications:
Growing Forward 2 – Processors
Agricultural and agri-food processors (businesses who manufacture or transform agricultural commodities, foods, or beverages in Ontario) may receive cost-sharing contributions up to 35-50% of expenses related to assessment projects (i.e. understanding the scope of projects or formulating project plans) and up to 35% of project implementation costs to a maximum of $350,000 in Ontario government grants over the lifetime of the program through one or more applications.
Eligible processor stream applicants may even manufacture pet food products, health and nutrition supplements, and tobacco-based pharmaceuticals.
Growing Forward 2 – Producers
Agricultural producers (businesses who produce agricultural commodities in Ontario) may receive cost-sharing contributions up to 35-50% of expenses related to assessment projects (i.e. understanding the scope of projects or formulating project plans) and up to 35% of project implementation costs to a maximum of $350,000 in Ontario small business grants over the lifetime of the program through one or more applications.
Producer stream applicants should have a valid Farm Business Registration Number prior to program application.
Growing Forward 2 – Organizations & Collaborations
Two types of applicants can apply for the Growing Forward 2 Ontario Organizations & Collaborations stream may apply, including:
- Ontario-based not-for-profit (NFP) organizations.
- Collaborations formed from two or more for-profit businesses, not-for-profits, or academic institutions.
Applicants may receive up to 50-75% of eligible project costs (higher than the other two streams) to a lifetime program maximum of $350,000.
Ideal Project Types for GF2 Ontario Business Funding
As defined by The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Ontario government funding agency who administers the program, projects that are submitted for funding consideration should fall into one or more of the following six categories:
- Assurance systems (including food safety, traceability, and animal welfare);
- Environment and climate change adaptation;
- Leadership and business development;
- Market development;
- Plant and animal health; and
- Productivity and labour enhancement.
When & How to Apply for Growing Forward 2 Ontario Small Business Grants
Ontario agri-based processors, producers, and organizations & collaborations will be able to apply for Growing Forward 2 Ontario cost-sharing grants during various application intake dates held throughout the year. To apply, consider the following dates, then access complimentary tools and resources to get started.
Growing Forward 2 Ontario Small Business Funding 2016 Deadlines
Agri-businesses in Ontario must ensure that they submit a Growing Forward 2 Ontario funding application prior to the ending date of the following intake periods. Please note that applicants must also complete a pre-proposal which identifies the project’s fit for the program. Pre-proposals require 5-10 days for approval (before a full application can be submitted), therefore applicants should try to apply towards the beginning of the intake period.
- June 23 – July 14, 2016
- October 14 – November 3, 2016
- June 17 – July 7, 2016
- October 14 – November 3, 2016
Organizations & Collaborations:
- July 14, 2016
- October 13, 2016
Please Note: Organizations and collaborations can submit program applications at any time, however should note the following cut-off dates that will affect when your applications will be reviewed. Failure to submit by the following dates will require your project to wait a longer amount of time for approval, and will also delay cost-sharing contributions from the Government of Ontario.
Small Business Grants: Tools and Resources to Find Funding
Ontario agricultural processors, producers, and organizations can learn more about applying for government grants and loans by accessing Mentor Works’ library of small business funding resources. By using these tools and tips, businesses can begin discovering their small business funding potential and identify how to implement projects that can receive Canadian government funding.
The most common place for businesses to start is to download our free Project Expense Planning & Funding Calculator. By constructing your project’s budget over the next 1-3 years, businesses can identify their true funding potential, including how much they could receive in government grants and loans (both as a percentage of costs and as a total dollar value.) With this information, companies can begin understanding what’s required in the application process and learn When to Apply for Canadian Government Funding.
To stay up-to-date on Growing Forward 2 Ontario application deadlines, as well as other Canadian business funding news, please access our informative Canadian government funding newsletter.
Continue Learning about Growing Forward 2 Business Grants Ontario
Ready to get started? Choose a Growing Forward 2 Ontario stream to find out more:
- Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance Awarded $331k in Funding for Agriculture
- Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Invests $180k in 4 Ontario Food Processors
- Canadian Agricultural Partnership Grants for Ontario Food Processors
- Growing Forward 2 (GF2) Invests over $250k in Agri-Food Businesses
- Get Ready for the Canadian Agricultural Partnership