To accelerate the growth of innovative small and medium sized businesses in Ontario, the federal government offers a variety of funding programs to help offset scale-up costs. Ontario small business loans help businesses address organizational challenges, create new job opportunities, and increase the company’s capabilities.
The Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) program was established to help growth-oriented companies overcome business expansion and development barriers. The program provides up to 50% coverage of eligible project costs to a maximum contribution ranging between $150,000 – $500,000 in Ontario government funding with repayable conditions.
SOFII operates on an open-call basis and interested businesses may submit a Statement of Interest (SOI) to the program at any time.
Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation
The Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) provides repayable government funding to help small and medium-sized businesses accelerate innovative projects that result in job creation and increased competitiveness. High-growth oriented businesses in rural and urban communities are an ideal fit for funding. SOFII supports projects that allow businesses to address and overcome various growth barriers.
Eligible applicants may receive up to 50% coverage of project costs to maximum of $150,000-$500,000 in Ontario small business loans (repayable funding).
The SOFII program offers flexible, no fee loan terms and accommodating repayment plans. Typically, SOFII small business loans are provided with interest rates that have in the past ranged from 8-12%. Ontario government funding provided through the program is administered by two regional Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) Associations, however these rates are subject to change.
SOFII Eligibility Requirements for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
To be considered for the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation, businesses must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Operate in Southern Ontario;
- Have between 50 to 500 employees (or demonstrate how they will reach 50 employees within a three-year period);
- Demonstrate the ability to create and retain jobs in the region;
- Demonstrate the ability or experience to operate the business;
- Be suitable for public funding and unable to obtain financing assistance from other sources;
- Possess the ability to repay funds provided through the program; and
- Successfully secured funding through private investment, financial or equity partnerships, or working capital.
What Types of Projects Qualify for SOFII Small Business Loans?
The Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation will provide eligible businesses with repayable funding ranging between $150,000 – $500,000. To qualify for SOFII small business loans, projects should focus on:
- Late stage commercialization;
- The development of new products and/or services;
- New applications or markets; and/or
- Development or implementation of new processes or technologies
Please Note: Projects must demonstrate how the will be generate revenues within 24 months.
How to Apply to the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation
To get started, businesses must complete and submit a SOI to their local CFDC Network. Eligible applicants will be contacted within five business days if their project is a suitable fit for the program. If endorsed, candidates will be invited to submit a full application package, which can take between 4-11 weeks to approve once submitted. The program offers a continuous application intake.
Contact Mentor Works to discuss whether the SOFII program is a good fit for your business. Our team of Government Funding Planners can also assist with the application process.