Based in Guelph, Ontario, Wellington Brewery produces micro-brewed small batch beers made from fresh, all-natural ingredients. As Canada’s oldest independently owned microbrewery, the company is known for their award-winning selection of products and friendly team of over 60 employees.
Wellington Brewery is determined to continue this success through consistent upgrades to their product selection, and steady expansion and development of their production facilities. While the business has historically looked to “grow within [their] means”, Wellington has begun to also discover the power of accessing Ontario government grants. Since 2014, the brewery has incorporated the use of Canadian government funding programs such as Growing Forward 2 Ontario (GF2) to complete projects not possible through internal financing alone.
The brewery has primarily focused on upgrading their production and packaging equipment, enabling their growth and ability to serve a greater share of the market. Through this blog, we’ll identify how Wellington Brewery was able to use Growing Forward 2 Ontario, and how your business could do the same.
A Shift in Business Models – Internal Financing to Canadian Government Grants
The recent growth of Wellington Brewery has been fueled by several factors; a committed management team, growing popularity for independent breweries, and government funding to respond to market demand all have played a key role. However several years ago, Wellington Brewery was a different company (both mentally and physically) than they are now.
“We have grown slowly over the years, on purpose. We want to grow within our means and stay true to supporting our local community with our core business.”
– Brent Davies, Vice President and Co-Owner of Wellington Brewery
After successfully implementing their first government-funded project in 2014, the company was sold that applying for grants and loans was a strategic growth imperative. This led to the company applying for Growing Forward 2 Ontario again in 2015, then submitting more projects for consideration in 2016. Completion of these large-scale expansion projects are the direct result of extended cash flow and ability to grow from government funding programs.
This strategic shift in business financing – from internal financing alone to using government grants and incentives – has helped the business implement more projects and position themselves for even greater future success.
Brewery Expansion Projects Funded by Growing Forward 2 Ontario
Included in Wellington Brewery’s Ontario government funding wins, the company has been able to accomplish at least three new projects. These include:
- Growing Forward 2 Ontario in 2014: Increased production capacity by purchasing new equipment and brewing tanks.
- Growing Forward 2 Ontario in 2015: Implemented a new canning line that helped the business increase capacity from 24 cans to 180 cans per minute. (750% increase)
- Growing Forward 2 Ontario in 2016: Addition of a new centrifuge that increases the production yield and reduces waste per batch.
Apply for Growing Forward 2 Grants Ontario
Growing Forward 2 Ontario is a 5-year (2013-2018) Ontario government funding program directed at supporting innovative, business-enhancing projects led by organizations within the province’s agri-food industry. Businesses may access up to 35-50% of their project’s expenses to a maximum $350,000 in non-repayable government grants.
The Growing Forward 2 Ontario program is divided into three unique streams, offering direct government funding support for:
To discover the types of projects that are commonly funded by Growing Forward 2 Ontario and view important application dates for 2016 submissions, please visit Mentor Works’ recent Growing Forward 2 Ontario update blog.
Canadian Government Funding Resources for Business Expansion Projects
For businesses who are new to the concept of using government grants and loans, the process of getting started can seem like an intimidating process. Combing through government resources and program guides can be a confusing, time-demanding process that often deters companies from applying at all.
Businesses can simplify this process by accessing a range of Canadian government funding resources that build your understanding of what to do to receive funding. The most direct way to get started is by downloading a Project Expense Planning & Funding Calculator that will determine the total value of grants and loans that may be available for your project.
Many businesses also benefit by accessing industry-specific Canadian government funding webinars that identify programs (including Growing Forward 2 Ontario) that may be used to reduce project costs. Register for an informative session to learn about your opportunities directly from a Canadian Government Funding Expert.