The Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario (FedNor) has teamed up with Innovation Initiatives Ontario North (IION) to develop the Step Forward Entrepreneurs Program (SFEP). SFEP offers non-repayable grant funding for small business owners in Northern Ontario to expand their sales and product offerings through several funded activities.

Step Forward Entrepreneurs Program (SFEP) – Funding Details

The SFEP program provides up to $5,000 in non-repayable government grants for small business development and marketing activities deemed eligible under the program guidelines. Applicants are expected to contribute approximately 18% of the government funding amounts requested.

Eligible Government Funding Applicants

In order to be eligible to apply, applicants must be an established for-profit entity located in one of the following regions/municipalities:

  • Nipissing
  • Temiskaming
  • West Nipissing
  • Parry Sound
  • Muskoka

Funding is intended to support small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are looking to expand their client base or commercialize and bring new products to market. Businesses operating as distributors or re-sellers would not be considered eligible to receive funding through SFEP.

Eligible Program Activities and Costs

SFEP provides grant funding for business owners to employ new or contracted expertise and services related to the following list of activities:


Product Development:

  • Product/Market Feasibility Studies
  • Product Research, testing or shipping
  • IP Assessment/Protection
  • Certifications, Licences, Market-entry Fees

Business Enhancement

  • Third party management support or training
  • Process mapping/Capacity development
  • Assessments for New Technology and Software
  • Lean manufacturing and productivity studies.




Sales and Marketing

  • Trade Show Exhibits
  • Marketing/Promotional Materials
  • Travel Expenses
  • Sales Training
  • Test Marketing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Distribution
  • Market Research



Canadian Government Funding for Start-Up Business Ventures

Those interested in learning more about the alternative Canadian Government Grants for Small Business and Start-ups can browse through our funding articles regarding Canadian Entrepreneurs & Start-Ups or subscribe to our Weekly Canadian Government Funding E-Newsletter and follow our posts on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, and Google+. Ontario startups can also receive additional funding advice by getting into contact with their local Regional Innovation Centre (RIC).

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Mike is a Business Development Intern with Mentor Works. He is currently in the midst of receiving his Undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo’s Environment & Business Co-op Program. He plans to specialize his degree in Economics and Environmental Finance.

Comments 2

15 January 2013 Reply

I am looking for grants/ loans for a new business in Burks Falls, Ontario.

Please advise.

Thank you!

15 January 2013 Reply

Hi Andrew. Burk’s Falls is within SFEP’s focus regions, making your company eligible for funding. To get started, please contact the staff at IION by calling 705-474-3450 extension 4075, or email at today. If you would like to move forward with the application, it can be downloaded here: SFEP Application Form.

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