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) and Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EDOF) can offset a portion of expenses for strategic growth projects.
The Southwestern and Eastern Ontario Development Funds were created to support business growth by encouraging investment and workforce expansion. Companies making large-scale investments into facilities, equipment, and talent are well-suited for SWODF/EDOF funding and can offset a portion of these project expenses.
Both programs provide up to 15% of project expenses to a maximum of $500k-$5M depending on whether businesses are applying for a grant or a loan.
To access SWODF/EDOF funding, companies must develop a competitive application that includes details around the project’s purpose, budget, timelines, and expected outcomes. There is an upcoming intake of December 2, 2019 – January 20, 2020. Applicants are expected to be notified of decisions by April 16, 2020. This article will cover the SWODF and EODF Business Stream deadlines. The Community Economic Development Stream is available to read here.
SWODF/EODF: Capital Investment Funding
The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) provide support for projects and investments to businesses, municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations for economic development in southwestern and eastern Ontario.
The Business Stream supports capital investment projects which enable high-growth-potential companies to boost their competitiveness and create new jobs within the province.
SWODF and EODF offer two types of funding support:
- Performance-Based Loan: Up to 15% of eligible project expenses to a maximum of $5 million.
- Conditional Grant: Up to 15% of eligible project expenses to a maximum of $500,000 for small and rural companies (less than 100 full-time employees (FTEs) in a municipality with less than 100,000 population).
- $1,500,000 for strategic projects that are foreign direct investments or from companies competing against other jurisdictions.
Ontario Business Funding: Company Eligibility
- Have 10 or more FTEs or, if in a rural community, 5 FTEs;
- Have been in operation for at least 3 years;
- Commit to creating at least 5 new jobs (or 30% increase for companies with fewer than 15 employees);
- Be located in, or plan to locate in, a community in southwestern or eastern Ontario; and
- Have a project budget greater than $500,000 (or $200,000 if in a rural community).
Eligibility of Business Regions
To qualify for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, businesses must operate in one of the following regions:
To qualify for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund, businesses must operate in one of the following regions:
- Kawartha Lakes
- Leeds & Grenville
- Lennox & Addington
- Prescott & Russell
- Prince Edward
- Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry
Eligible Projects: Southwestern/Eastern Ontario Development Fund
The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund and Eastern Ontario Development Fund provide funding to support businesses’ investment in innovative facilities, equipment and talent and training. Projects must start a minimum 60 days after submission and can have a duration of three to four years. Capital investment projects well-suited for SWODF and EODF funding will:
- Invest in new operations in eastern or southwestern Ontario;
- Invest in operations that improve productivity, innovation, the potential to export goods,and competitiveness; and
- Create high-value, sustainable jobs in Ontario.
- Project facilities & infrastructure – project facility modifications;
- Equipment and machinery – CNC machines, robots, etc.;
- Specialized expertise – third-party engineering services;
- Materials – materials for configurations and testing;
- Labour – set up/commissioning of new equipment, incremental R&D for a max of two years;
- Training and talent costs – employer-provided training (trainer hours are eligible), training infrastructure; and
- Permits and fees – building permits.
Apply: Southwestern/Eastern Ontario Small Business Funding
SWODF and EODF have announced four application periods, so businesses should prepare well in advance of funding intakes to make the most of their upcoming strategic growth projects. The deadlines are as follows:
- Application Period One: December 2, 2019 – January 20, 2020
- Application Period Two: March 5, 2020 – April 20, 2020
- Application Period Three: June 5, 2020 – July 20, 2020
- Application Period Four: September 3, 2020 – October 19, 2020
If you’re evaluating whether SWODF or EODF is a good fit for your business’ upcoming project, or would like to simplify the application process, please contact Mentor Works.