Southwestern Ontario Development Fund Grants for Business Expansion

Ontario is one of the most ideal provinces in Canada to grow small and medium-sized businesses. The diverse and well-established economic landscape enables companies to scale quickly, and government incentives such as the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) can offset a portion of expenses for strategic growth projects.

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund was created to support business growth by encouraging investment and workforce expansion. Companies making large-scale investments into facilities and equipment are well-suited for SWODF funding and can offset a portion of these project expenses.

SWODF provides up to 10-15% of project expenses to a maximum $1.5M in Ontario government grants.

To access SWODF funding, companies must develop a competitive application that includes details around the project’s purpose, budget, timelines, and expected outcomes. Applications can be submitted year-round; review typically takes 4 months, upon which time successful applicants can begin incurring project expenses.

Southwestern Ontario Development Fund: Capital Investment Funding

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) is an Ontario government funding program designed to support capital investment projects which enable high-growth potential companies to boost their competitiveness and create new jobs within the province.

By applying for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, businesses may leverage up to 10-15% of project expenses to a maximum $1.5M in Ontario government funding.

Since the SWODF program was launched in 2013, more than $153 million in support has been provided to Ontario small and medium-sized businesses. This has spurred over $1.87 billion in company investments and led to the creation/retention of approximately 39,000 jobs.

SWODF Ontario Business Funding: Company Eligibility

To be a competitive applicant for funding through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF), companies must:

  • Maintain at least 10 employees;
  • Operate in an eligible southwestern Ontario region;
  • Operate in a high priority economic sector;
  • Be incorporated and have at least three years of financial statements;
  • Provide a minimum project investment of $500,000; and
  • Create at least 10 new jobs upon project completion.

Please Note: Companies with fewer than 10 employees may still qualify for funding through SWODF’s Small Community Pilot stream.

Eligibility of Business Regions

To qualify for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, businesses must operate in one of the following regions:

  • Brant;
  • Bruce;
  • Chatham-Kent;
  • Dufferin;
  • Elgin;
  • Essex;
  • Grey;
  • Haldimand;
  • Huron;

  • Lambton;
  • Middlesex;
  • Niagara;
  • Norfolk;
  • Oxford;
  • Perth;
  • Simcoe;
  • Waterloo; and
  • Wellington

Eligibility of Business Sectors

To qualify for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, companies should also be operating in a high-priority sector, including:

  • Information and communications technology (ICT);
  • Advanced manufacturing;
  • Life sciences;
  • Resources processing;
  • Tourism; and
  • Cultural industries.

Projects Eligible for Southwestern Ontario Development Fund Grants and Loans

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) provides funding to support business’ investment in innovative facilities and equipment. Capital investment projects well-suited for SWODF funding will:

  • Provide investment into new, expanded operations in southwestern Ontario;
  • Improve a business’ competitiveness, productivity, innovation, and exports; and
  • Create high-value, sustainable jobs.

Past Recipients of SWODF Ontario Government Funding

The Southwestern Ontario Development is constantly awarding businesses with funding to support capital investments. Some of the program’s best success stories include:

Apply for Southwestern Ontario Development Fund Small Business Funding

To access SWODF funding, eligible Ontario-based businesses must complete a three-stage application process which includes:

  1. Completing an eligibility checklist to ensure suitability for the SWODF program;
  2. Discussing the proposed project with a SWODF representative; and
  3. Submitting a full application

If you’re evaluating whether SWODF is a good fit for your business’ upcoming project, or would like to simplify the application process, please contact Mentor Works.

Apply for Canadian Government Funding

Posted: May 12, 2016 by Jeff Shepherd. Updated: February 23, 2018 by Jeff Shepherd

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Jeff Shepherd holds an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Guelph. He is passionate about Canadian business, economics, and politics. As Marketing Coordinator for Mentor Works, Jeff educates business leaders about proactive funding strategies.

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