The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) is an Ontario business funding program that supports large-scale investments in equipment and facilities. Through the program, companies can access business expansion grants, or a combination of grants and repayable funding (government loans), to offset the significant upfront costs of growth projects.
EODF helps recover up to 10-15% of eligible project costs up to $1.5M in Ontario government grants. Large projects can also qualify for repayable funding.
Projects well-suited for EODF funding have a significant impact on company productivity and create new employment opportunities. Generally, applicants must provide an investment of $500,000 or more, have a minimum 10 employees at the time of application, and create a minimum of 10 jobs over the course of the project. Other eligibility criteria apply; continue reading to learn if the Eastern Ontario Development Fund is suitable for your expansion plans.
What is the Eastern Ontario Development Fund?
The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) is a popular Ontario government funding program that helps companies expand and develop more competitive, productive organizations. By investing in new and improved facilities, applicants can grow faster and respond to opportunities more proactively. This is a key for domestic and international success.
While EODF also provides repayable funding for large-scale projects, most successful applicants receive up to 10-15% of eligible project expenses to a maximum $1.5M in Ontario small business grants.
The program evaluates project budget size when determining how much, and what type of funding, can be offered to applicants:
- Smaller projects with less than $10 million in eligible project expenses may receive a non-repayable grant contribution of up to $1.5 million.
- Larger projects surpassing $10 million in eligible expenses may qualify for up to $5 million as a no-interest loan. Up to $1.5 million can be forgiven if the project meets certain performance criteria, leaving a maximum $3.5 million to be repaid.
To learn more about how the program works, please read Mentor Works’ EODF overview blog.
Business Eligibility for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund
To qualify for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund, applicants must:
- Provide a minimum project investment of $500,000;
- Be incorporated and have at least three years of financial statements;
- Be located within Eastern Ontario (see below);
- Be in a priority business sector (see below);
- Maintain at least 10 employees at the time of application; and
- Create at least 10 new jobs upon project completion.
What is EODF’s Definition of Eastern Ontario?
Applicant companies must ensure their business operates in Eastern Ontario to qualify for EODF. Eligible regions include:
- Kawartha Lakes;
- Leeds and Grenville;
- Lennox and Addington;
- Prescott and Russell;
- Prince Edward;
- Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry.
What is EODF’s Definition of a Priority Business Sector?
To qualify for EODF funding, businesses must operate in a priority sector:
- Priority Sectors: Advanced manufacturing, information and communications technology (ICT), primary resources processing, life sciences, tourism, and cultural industries.
- Ineligible Sectors: Personal and professional services, restaurants, construction, consulting, retail, golf courses, primary resources production, electricity generation, and recycling programs.
Project Eligibility: EODF Business Expansion Grants
There are three types of projects that commonly receive Eastern Ontario Development Fund grants and loans. They include:
- New investments into Eastern Ontario businesses;
- Projects that increase high-value, sustainable jobs in Eastern Ontario; and
- Operational investments that improve productivity, innovation, and the potential to export goods.
EODF provides cost-sharing support for business expansion activities, and therefore does not provide funding for:
- Recurring or ongoing operations such as maintenance or capital replacement;
- Relocation of business operations from other parts of Ontario;
- Acquisitions and buyouts; and
- Refinancing of existing business operations.
Expense Eligibility: EODF Ontario Business Funding
The Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) only supports one-time costs that are essential to project completion. These may include:
- New machinery or equipment;
- Facility modifications, upgrades, or retrofits;
- Specialized third-party consultants required to plan/execute the project;
- Materials needed to configure or test production processes upgraded by the project;
- Internal labour fees;
- Employee training (either internally or through a third-party trainer); and
- Project permits, fees, and similar project-related expenses.
Project Expenses Ineligible for EODF Ontario Government Funding
Some project expenses cannot be claimed through the EODF program. These include, but are not limited to:
- Any recurring or ongoing operational costs, including labour;
- Overhead costs;
- Lease costs;
- Working capital costs;
- Marketing, sales, and distribution fees;
- Debt servicing costs;
- Vehicles and any off-site equipment;
- Replacement of capital equipment; and
- Purchase of land or buildings, or construction of a new building (except existing building expansions).
How to Apply for EODF Business Expansion Funding
EODF has an open call for applications; this means that companies can apply for funding year-round. It’s often best to submit applications a minimum of 4-6 months ahead of the project’s anticipated start date to ensure adequate time for application review. Upon application approval, applicants can begin incurring funding-eligible expenses.
To discuss your eligibility for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund and learn how to optimize its application process, please contact Mentor Works.