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Government Funding

NOHFC INVEST North Program: Up to $5M in Funding

Earlier this month, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) introduced four new programs to provide government funding support for Northern Ontario businesses.

Designed to support companies throughout their entire business life cycle, the INVEST North Program has been designed to boost economic growth and attract investment to Northern Ontario by inspiring business development and expansion projects. The program further aims to support the research and development sector and further enhance local communities.

“With these new programs in place, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund has a renewed and refocused set of programs that continue to build strong and resilient communities, and create an environment where businesses thrive, grow and create jobs.”
– Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines

While NOHFC currently states that they will accept applications for the INVEST North Program on an ongoing basis throughout the year, they have also announced plans to open four annual rounds of funding intakes which will generate greater focus on the competitive nature of the program. Sign up for the Mentor Works Weekly Funding Newsletter to stay up to date on any changes that this program, and other Canadian government funding programs, may have in the coming months.

NOHFC Northern Ontario Region as Illustrated:

NOHFC’s territorial districts of Northern Ontario include: Algoma, Cochrane, Kenora, Manitoulin, Nipissing, Parry Sound, Rainy River, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, and Timiskaming.

NOHFC INVEST North Program: Funding Streams and Eligibility Criteria

Administered by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), the NOHFC Invest North Program intends to increase economic growth and innovation in Northern Ontario communities by offering government funding support to local businesses investing in growth development projects.

The program’s six streams aim to support productivity, business competitiveness, revenue growth, export expansion, job creation, and employee retention. Each stream has its own specific criteria and eligibility factors.

Innovation Stream

Amount: Up to 50% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $500,000 for R&D-only projects and up to $2M for combined R&D and demonstration & commercialization projects.

Eligible Applicants: Private sector businesses alone, or in partnership with a public sector academic or research institution.

Eligible Activities: Applied research & development projects, and demonstration & commercialization of new and innovative technologies. Eligible costs include, but are not limited to: technical labour costs, prototyping costs, product testing, IP costs, and R&D services.

Timeline: Ongoing intake.

Innovation – Industrial Research Chair Stream

Amount: Up to 50% of eligible costs to a maximum of $1M as a conditional contribution for the duration of the project.

Eligible Applicants: Northern Ontario universities, colleges, and research institutions. 

Eligible Activities: Must fit with the applicant institution’s strategic research plan, have a private sector partner, and be focused on business problem solving, and/or working towards the commercialization of a product or process in Northern Ontario.

Timeline: Ongoing intake.

Investments – Launch Stream

Amount: A conditional contribution of up to 50% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $200,000.

Eligible Applicants: Businesses starting-up operations in Northern Ontario.

Eligible Activities: Expenses related to starting-up operations in Northern Ontario, including capital construction, leasehold improvements, new or used equipment, land servicing costs, information & communication technology investments, marketing for new products and services (capped at 20%), and training costs incurred with third parties (capped at 20%).

Timeline: Ongoing intake.

Investment – Grow Stream

Amount: Funding can be provided through three options:

  • Conditional contribution only of up to 20% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $400,000.
  • Conditional contribution of up to 20% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $400,000, plus a term loan of up to 30% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $600,000.
  • Term loan only of up to 50% of total eligible costs to a maximum of $1M.

Eligible Applicants: Businesses expanding operations in Northern Ontario.

Eligible Activities: Expenses related to expanding operations in Northern Ontario, including capital construction, leasehold improvements, new or used equipment, land servicing costs, information & communication technology investments, marketing for new products and services (capped at 20%), and training costs incurred with third parties (capped at 20%).

Timeline: Applications will be accepted in competitive rounds. Intake 1 Deadline: April 30, 2021 | Intake 2 Deadline: July 31, 2021 | Intake 3 Deadline: October 31, 2021 | Intake 4 Deadline: January 31, 2022

Investment – Locate Stream

Amount: A conditional contribution or a combination of a conditional contribution and term loan, on a case-by-case basis based on net economic benefit to Northern Ontario, to a maximum of $5M.

Eligible Applicants: Businesses locating new business operations in Northern Ontario.

Eligible Activities: Expenses related to locating operations in Northern Ontario, including capital construction, leasehold improvements, new or used equipment, land servicing costs, information & communication technology investments, marketing for new products and services (capped at 20%), and training costs incurred with third parties (capped at 20%).

Timeline: Ongoing intake.

Regional Tile Drainage Stream

Amount: Conditional contribution up to 50% to a maximum of $1M, consisting of the following breakdown:

  • 50% of tile drainage contractor costs to a maximum of $500 per acre, and
  • 100% of the project management/admin fees which is calculated as 10% of the contactor costs to a maximum of $100 per acre.

Eligible Applicants: Not-for-profit, agricultural or community organizations that would, on behalf of an identified consortium, develop and administer a project to install tile drainage within a specific region.

Eligible Activities: Land to be tiled can be in production or new acreage. Eligible expenses include tile drainage contractor costs and project management/administration fees.

Timeline: Ongoing intake.

If your Northern Ontario business is interested in applying for any of the NOHFC Invest North Program streams, please contact Mentor Works and we will help you assess your desired project and support your business in streamlining the application process.

More NOHFC Funding Programs for Growth and Innovation

NOHFC programs aim to promote and stimulate economic development initiatives in Northern Ontario by providing funding to projects that stabilize, diversify, and foster growth and diversification within the region.

Separate from the NOHFC Invest North Program, the additional three NOHFC government funding programs currently available for Northern Ontario businesses are the:

  • NOHFC People and Talent Program: Offers two funding streams designed to attract, retain, and develop Northern Ontario’s workforce by creating and sustaining new and existing jobs.
  • NOHFC Community Enhancement Program: Offers three funding streams to help build strong and resilient Northern communities through infrastructure investments to upgrade and repair existing assets with the predominant goal of improving community quality of life through strategic initiatives.
  • NOHFC Cultural Supports Program: Offers two funding streams designed to help showcase Northern Ontario culture, geography, and talent through event partnerships and the production of films and television series.

If your business is located within NOHFC’s Northern Ontario region (see above map), and you are interested in applying for any of the four NOHFC government funding programs, please contact Mentor Works to see if you qualify for a funding discovery session.  

Funding Funding Now, Contact Mentor Works

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