Business Logistic Concept, Import And Export Concept.

Of all the provinces in Canada, Ontario is arguably the most feasible for launching and maintaining a successful business. The diverse and well-established economic scene allows companies to grow quickly, and government programs such as the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EDOF) can help offset a portion of expenses for strategic development projects.

In response to COVID-19, the fourth intake period for both streams of SWODF/EODF opens from October 19, 2020 until December 1, 2020.

To access SWODF/EDOF government funding, organizations must develop a comprehensive application that includes details around the project’s purpose, budget, timelines, and expected outcomes. There is an upcoming intake of October 19, 2020 – December 1, 2020 and applicants are expected to be notified of funding decisions in March 2021.

About SWODF/EODF Government Funding

Via two separate streams, the Community Economic Development Stream and the Business Stream, the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) provide support for businesses, municipalities, and not-for-profit organizations that are investing in infrastructure or implementing strategies to advance regional priorities in southwestern and eastern Ontario.

Please contact the Mentor Works team of government funding planners by November 12, 2020 to get started on the application for your upcoming SWODF/EODF project.

SWODF/EODF Area Distinctions are as Illustrated:

Applicant Eligibility for SWODF/EODF Streams

To be a competitive candidate for funding via the Business Stream of the Southwestern and Eastern Ontario Development Funds, businesses need to align under the eligibility criteria and meet regional qualifications:

  • 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).

To qualify for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF), 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
  • Wellington

To qualify for the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF), businesses must operate in one of the following regions:

  • Frontenac
  • Haliburton
  • Hastings
  • Kawartha Lakes
  • Lanark
  • Leeds & Grenville
  • Lennox & Addington
  • Muskoka
  • Northumberland
  • Ottawa
  • Peterborough
  • Prescott & Russell
  • Prince Edward
  • Renfrew
  • Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry

About the SWODF/EODF Business Stream

The Business Stream supports capital investment projects which enable high-growth-potential companies to boost their competitiveness and create new jobs within the province.

The SWODF and EODF Business Stream offers two types of funding support:

  • Interest-Free Loan: Up to 15% of eligible project expenses to a maximum of $5 million in repayable funds. If the awarded business achieves its investment and job targets, up to 30% of the loan (to a maximum of $500,000) may be forgiven.
  • 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).
    – Up to $1,500,000 for strategic projects that are foreign direct investments or from companies competing against other jurisdictions.

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.

Project Eligibility

The SWODF/EODF Business Stream provides 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:

Eligible Costs

  • 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.

About the SWODF/EODF Community Economic Development Stream

The Community Economic Development Streams of the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (SWODF) and the Eastern Ontario Development Fund (EODF) provide support to municipalities and not-for-profit organizations for projects and investments that spur economic development in southwestern and eastern Ontario.

Applicants may be able to access up to 50% of eligible project expenses for a maximum grant of up to $1.5M.

Project Eligibility

The SWODF/EODF Community Economic Development Stream provides funding to support projects aligned to the following for the Community Economic Development Stream:

  • Invest more than $100,000;
  • Have private sector support;
  • Be led by municipalities, economic development organizations, or sector organizations;
  • Lead to measurable outcomes including private sector investment, growth, and job creation;
  • Be used for activities that are incremental (new) to the organization; and
  • Focus on economic and business development and job creation in the community or region by investing in infrastructure or implementing strategies to advance regional economic development priorities.

The project duration can last up to four years.

Eligible Expenses

  • Business attraction costs;
  • Project-related permits, fees, and other similar charges;
  • Municipal economic infrastructure that addresses a community priority;
  • Skills training;
  • Specialized expertise;
  • Equipment and machinery required for the project;
  • Project facility modifications and/or upgrades required for the project;
  • One-time internal labour (project-specific); and
  • One-time materials (project-specific).

How to Apply for Government Funding from the Southwestern/Eastern Ontario Development Fund

SWODF and EODF have announced six application periods, including three above and beyond the initial intake periods in response to the global pandemic. Businesses are encouraged to prepare in advance of application intake deadlines to make the most of their strategic growth projects.

The deadlines are as follows:

  • Application Period One: December 2, 2019 – January 20, 2020
  • Application Period Two: March 5, 2020 – May 29, 2020
  • Application Period Three: July 16, 2020 – August 28, 2020
  • Application Period Four: October 19, 2020 – December 1, 2020
  • Application Period Five: January 20, 2021 – March 1, 2021
  • Application Period Six: April 22, 2021 – June 4, 2021

If you’re evaluating whether SWODF or EODF is a good fit for your organization’s upcoming project, or would like to simplify the application process, please contact Mentor Works by November 12, 2020.

If your business is located outside of southwestern or eastern Ontario, there are several comparable government funding programs, such as the Western Canada Business Scale-Up Productivity Program (BSP) and FedDev Ontario’s Community Economic Development & Diversification Program (CEDD), that focus on sustainable economic progress. Stay up to date with government funding news by subscribing to the free Weekly Funding Newsletter.

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Written by

Alena Barreca has worked in a variety of media communications roles in numerous industries. As a Marketing Coordinator at Mentor Works, Alena enjoys utilizing her creative and analytical mind to help strengthen ongoing marketing strategies.

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